Everlasting Arms

Album: Modern Vampires of the City (2013)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This song was inspired by Anthony J. Showalter and Elisha A. Hoffman's 1887 hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." Showalter penned the classic spiritual tune after receiving letters from two of his former pupils saying that their wives had died. As the former teacher wrote letters of consolation, he was inspired by the phrase in the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy 33:27 - "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
    The hymn features prominently in the scores of the movies Night of the Hunter and the 2010 version of True Grit.
  • Singer Ezra Koenig told NME: "I'd been obsessed with this 19th century American hymn 'Leaning on The Everlasting Arms', where they talk about how the stability the singer gets from their faith, but with our song there's a darker riff on the same idea - someone who's maybe in a bad place and yearning for that."
  • Vampire Weekend debuted the song live during their show at the Metro Theatre in Sydney on January 23, 2013.
  • Ezra Koenig was brought up in a Jewish family, and this song refers to the eternal peace found in the embrace of a faith community. "There have been times I felt marginalized, being one of the only Jewish kids where I grew up," he told Spin magazine. "And there've been times when I felt like part of something bigger, when I meet other Jewish people. There are times when I feel alone in a crowd. Those are struggles that I think everybody has. It's a beautiful idea, being part of a community. But you lose some sense of your own ability to reason and your own individuality when you become part of a group. Religion is a great jumping-off point for thinking about how to live, period."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock Photography

Danny Clinch: The Art of Rock PhotographySong Writing

One of rock's top photographers talks about artistry in photography, raising funds for a documentary, and enjoying a County Fair with Tom Waits.

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")

Holly Knight ("The Best," "Love Is A Battlefield")Songwriter Interviews

Holly Knight talks about some of the hit songs she wrote, including "The Warrior," "Never" and "The Best," and explains some songwriting philosophy, including how to think of a bridge.

U2

U2Fact or Fiction

How did The Edge get his name? Did they name a song after a Tolkien book? And who is "Angel of Harlem" about?

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson of Jethro TullSongwriter Interviews

The flautist frontman talks about touring with Led Zeppelin, his contribution to "Hotel California", and how he may have done the first MTV Unplugged.

Gentle Giant

Gentle GiantSongwriter Interviews

If counterpoint and polyrhythms are your thing, you might love these guys. Even by Progressive Rock standards, they were one of the most intricate bands of the '70s. Then their lead singer gave us Bon Jovi.

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in Songs

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in SongsSong Writing

Elvis, Little Richard and Cheryl Cole have all sung about Teddy Bears, but there is also a terrifying Teddy song from 1932 and a touching trucker Teddy tune from 1976.