This is an English version of a German song called "Mutterlein," by the German composer Gerhard Winkler. The English lyrics were written by Carl Sigman, whose hits include "Ebb Tide
" and "It's All In The Game
." His song Michael writes in The Carl Sigman Songbook
A confirmed agnostic, Carl still felt the melody called out for the words "Answer Me, Lord Above," resulting in his most overtly spiritual song. The song was quickly recorded and released in the UK by both David Whitfield and Frankie Laine. At first the BBC refused to play the song because of its "religious content," but soon they were playing both versions regularly. Though each record reached the top spot on the charts, Frankie's had more staying power and is still the definitive version of that lyric. Meanwhile on these shores, Carl's publisher demanded that he alter the lyrics for broader stateside appeal. He reluctantly changed a few words here and there—most crucially, "Answer Me, Oh Lord" became "Answer Me, My Love"—to create the yearning love song that was now known as "Answer Me, My Love." A Nelson Riddle-arranged Nat King Cole version became an instant classic. The song has been recorded by Bryan Ferry, Petula Clark
, Renée Fleming, Johnny Rivers, Joni Mitchell, and the Happenings, among others. Bob Dylan performed it frequently in concert circa 1991.