Talk:Joy to the World

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Mariah Carey[edit]

I think it might be appropriate to divorce the mariah Carey piece of this article from the main version, giving it its own page.

I substantially agree; at the very least I find the huge Mariah Carey song list at the bottom of the page immensely misplaced. If everyone that sang Joy to the World had a song box like that on this page, the song boxes would be bigger than the article. Besides, there is no consensus that the Mariah Carey recording is the definitive version of the song. Does the song really need a separate article for Mariah's version? --Matthew K (talk) 02:11, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
Second thought: I've been bold and made an edit... I'm not looking for an edit war with Mariah fans, so we can discuss it. Anyway, I have left the Mariah reference in the text and removed the song list. This is a Christian hymn and the fact that dozens of performers have sung the song makes it seem inappropriate to have Mariah's discography here. --Matthew K (talk) 02:15, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I happened on this article in reviewing authorship and was shocked to find reference to Mariah Carey to this subject. Mariah Carey is the furthest topic from this article. Her single should be an article all its own. It's bad enough that WP allows superfluous lists of recordings when it comes to musical compositions such as this; but to spotlight one in a genre that is not even sacred or classical, is ridiculous. It's not even a notable inclusion, as it didn't even place high in the charts or won any awards. It definitely needs to go; and I am bold enough to remove it. Maineartists (talk) 00:13, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

I believe Mariah's version should get its own page as it was commercially released as a single in 1994, and was very successful and charted as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jadenpb (talkcontribs) 05:57, 31 August 2018 (UTC)

Discussion about authorship and Handel's relation to the song[edit]

The information I've collected on this song suggests this article has at least two factual errors. First, Isaac Watts wrote the words (based on Bible text), not Lowell Mason. Second, Lowell Mason contributed the music, which may have been an arrangement of a Handel work, but this last I have been unable to confirm (nor find a specific reference to what work this is supposedly an arrangement of), and my sources disagree vehemently on the subject. Clearly, some additional research needs to be done here. If this is an arrangement of Handel, someone should be able to state which work it is, so that it can be verified. -- Jeff Q 00:24, 7 May 2004 (UTC)

  • Agreed. I found this article through the Wikipedia List of Orphans, and I can contribute the following: First, you are correct on Watts's authorship of the hymn. Second, I recognize the theme as coming from from Handel's Messiah. The music is listed as Antioch and attributed to Handel in my hymnal. I will amend the article based on what I know for certain; perhaps someone else can add more. Quill 05:19, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Small question. Which bit of Comfort ye... does the refrain come from? I'd always got the Messiah link marked down as being that the first line came from Lift up your heads. To confirm, CyberHymnal also attributes the tune to Handel and the hymnal our family has at home says it was based after a piece by Handel (but doesn't specify). Wooster 14:50, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Yes, good question. The Joy to the World refrain is heard in the accompaniment to Comfort Ye. The orchestra plays what we recognize as 'Heaven and nature sing, a-and Heaven and nature sing...' with a stylized ending and then the tenor's voice enters with Comfort Ye. The melody is repeated throughout the piece, arranged differently, sometimes played underneath the voice part. The entire refrain theme is repeated (different notes, same tune) just before the recitative, i.e. just before the tenor sings: 'The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness....' Quill 22:52, 18 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Golly, so it is. I think that the refrain probably bears as much similarity to this bit as the opening to Lift up your heads (although that's only a bar or two), so it's probably bits of Handel mashed together from all over the place. I also took Joy to the World off the Orphans list, as it's now linked to from Watts' biography. Wooster 08:51, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
More, if you ask me. Lift up your Heads.... has only four notes in common with Joy to the World! I would never have even noticed it if a textbook hadn't pointed it out. Quill 09:54, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Ah, well. That all depends on whether you think a similarity comes from the quantity of its notes or the quality of its closeness. [sanctimonious smile] In favour, I'd point out that those four notes occur at the beginning of both pieces, but I think I can agree to disagree on how similar the two are--you're certainly correct that the refrain appears in Comfort ye Wooster 19:23, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Well, wipe that smug grin off your face 'cause you've missed my point (which I'll admit I didn't make all that well out of fear of become monotonous). I'll continue at your TALK page. Discussion continued atUser talk:Wooster Quill 22:04, 19 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Just reread this; the above sounds testy. I was just joking with Wooster, folks! Quill 23:16, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Nelson Muntz edition[edit]

Should we add the parody by Nelson Muntz as featured on the Simpsons? It went like this: Joy to the world, the teacher's dead, We barbecued her head! What happened to her body? We flushed it down the potty, And round and round it goes, And round and round it goes. (see Estrellador* 11:27, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

The article currently states that the Simpsons popularized this version? And for that matter, can anyone provide the date or episode? I remember knowing it in the early nineties ('91 or 92), which predated the episode by several years. In absence of other evidence, I doubt that it wasn't widespread prior to the episode. (talk) 06:19, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
There's also a well-known "Barney's Dead" version. Art LaPella (talk) 19:07, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Clean Up[edit]

I don't want to refer this article for clean up, but it has quite a few problems. The external link to sheet music appears to be nothing short of an advertisement. Do we really need an entire section about Mariah Carey's version of the song in the song's article. The information seems very excessive - you'd think she popularized the song. Plus, there appears to be some factually incorrect information.

I'm going to remove the link at the bottom as it just seems patently in the wrong, but the rest I don't really know what to do with, other than to point out that it clearly seems to be inappropriate in its current state. 08:39, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree that the long part about the Mariah Carey version makes the article extremely unbalanced. It seems more reasonable to have this text in a separate article Joy to the World (Mariah Carey single). Perhaps Extraordinary Machine could explain the rationale for merging that article's text here and categorizing an 19th century church song as a "Mariah Carey single". Most suggestions on Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Joy to the World (Mariah Carey song) seem to have been to merge it into Merry Christmas (album), not here. regards, High on a tree 16:34, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I didn't think we needed a separate article on a cover of a Christmas carol which is notable only for being a top forty hit in Australia. I wouldn't mind if the excess material was offloaded into Merry Christmas (album), but please, let's not give Carey's version its own article again. If we did that, then we'd need to write separate articles on every cover of "Joy to the World" that was released as a single just to avoid bias. Extraordinary Machine 02:59, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I believe the Mariah Carey single should be split back into its own page:

  • Contrary to what some have claimed (both here and in the deletion archive), it is perfectly normal in Wikipedia for singles to have their own articles. This is especially true for an artist of Carey's stature; she is the only modern artist with a foreseeable chance of surpassing The Beatles' all-time record for most No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (she is either #2 by herself, tied with Elvis Presley for #2, or #3 behind Elvis, depending on how you count Elvis' early singles), even though that record doesn't mean what it once did. Though this isn't one of her No. 1's, Carey's position on that list alone justifies keeping track of all her singles, including the obscure ones.
  • Wikipedia articles on Christmas songs in general only include details on singles that introduced or popularized the song; for example, see "White Christmas", which expands on the Bing Crosby versions but merely lists other artists that recorded it. (Much the same with "The Christmas Song" and Nat King Cole.) "Joy to the World" was well known long before Carey recorded it; its title certainly inspired Hoyt Axton's song for Three Dog Night which predated Carey. (This also obviates Extraordinary Machine's claim that we'd have to split out every "Joy to the World" single ever recorded; besides, ignoring it as an alleged Australian release is questionable under Wikipedia rules.)
  • Though Carey's single is primarily based on the Watts-Handel carol, it does contain an extrapolation of the Axton/Three Dog Night song, so it can be differentiated from this article by more than just "song vs. single".
  • Most importantly, its inclusion in this article clutters it.

--RBBrittain 16:19, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Too funny[edit]

I don't know how the whole Wiki thing works, but I found this page looking up the words to a poem, and boy - what a goldmine! Kisses to all of you! J.

Hoyt Axton version[edit]

What about the Hoyt Axton version of "Joy to the World" as performed by Three Dog Night on their album Naturally? Is it a parody or an original Gospel song? This article should include the original Gospel lyrics of the song if they exist. And maybe H. Axton's lyrics, also. Jimb101 06:14, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Handel Authorship[edit]

But see New Oxford Book of Carols which disputes the Handel and Lowell Mason authorship. 17:59, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Headline text[edit]

I see no one mentioned that the song is about Christ's second coming, not Christmas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 10 November 2008 (UTC)


Joy to the World was originaly writen by Ali Buller —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:30, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Please provide sources when adding information to articles, especially if it contradicts other info. See WP:V and WP:IRS. - Fayenatic (talk) 19:30, 9 December 2010 (UTC)


"Joy to the World" is among the few tunes (other than children's songs) that can be played on instruments that can only play one octave, that is, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. "The First Noel" is another. Art LaPella (talk) 19:20, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Second half only?[edit]

I'd challenge the claim that "Only the second half of Watt's lyrics are used today." If you look at while Watts certainly tried to write a song for every psalm, several have multiple songs. Take Psalm 2, which has two different versions. Also consider Psalm 84, which is divided into several songs that could not be fit to the same tune - different meters and rhyme schemes

The strong division seems to show that the lyrics for the first half of the psalm represents a different song. One could argue that it can be sung to the same tune, but Watts only uses a couple meters, so that's just coincidence.

As such, I think the claim should be removed, per the primary source. Adam Cuerden (talk) 12:56, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. It's a whole song, based on the second half of a psalm. – Fayenatic London 08:28, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Joy to the World lyrics[edit]

The line "let earth receive her king" should be "let earth receive Him king" I know a lot of people would say "earth" has a feminine character like "mother earth" and therefore "earth's king" is "her king". This is a common and superficial argument but deeper understanding of the lyrics and the message of the song should be made. The line is better read as "letting earth receive the Lord as its king" or "earth receiving him as king" or "let earth receive Him king". The focus is not on the earth but on the Lord. If we look at the other words in the song, the style of writing is consistent: "let every heart, prepare Him room", "joy to the world, the Lord is come".02:02, 28 November 2016 (UTC)Mario Alba (talk) Think about it.

Verse formatting[edit]

@Maineartists: I don't really care what the block of text is called, but I'd suggest that you use <poem></poem> to make sure that it formats correctly, ideally without the section breaks. There is more information about this at Help:Poem. Blocks of verse such as this one are often indented using <blockquote></blockquote> as well. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 17:51, 25 December 2017 (UTC)

The "text" was written and then set to music - as a "hymn" - thus it is now considered "verses" and "stanzas" in the liturgical setting. Poetry and poetic wording does not enter into this format of church verbiage. What was there before was correct. "Lyric" is incorrect. A "lyric" is a set of words (such as Oscar Hammerstein) specifically written to be set to music by a composer (such as Richard Rodgers). This is a sacred setting in a liturgical church format. The "verses" of a hymn are labeled as such. Maineartists (talk) 21:39, 25 December 2017 (UTC)


Watts published in 1719; Messiah was written in 1742; Lowell Mason, if he is the composer, was born 1792. It seems pretty obvious that ANTIOCH cannot have always been the only tune, and in fact there are much later publications with different tunes, many scanned and available for inspection at one of them is the current Presbyterian hymnal with RICHMOND. Sparafucil (talk) 09:21, 31 December 2017 (UTC)

You are really stretching with a modern day application of Alternate Tune substitution based on simple meter and church hymnal re-publication that can be adopted across the board in WP tune articles simply because different denominations have found a neat little trick to use texts with a different tune. Even Amazing Grace is but we don't say that the "usual tune" is NEW BRITAIN. Second, states the ANTIOCH is the official tune for Joy to the World and that RICHMOND is the Alternate Tune; not the other way around. No mention of RICHMOND at all on the Joy to the World page, only an arrangement to a present-day hymnal. I cannot even begin to argue the Watts poem, Messiah, Mason defense; because it makes no sense. It does not seem "pretty obvious" ANTIOCH cannot have always been the only tune; since many poems were not set to music until decades even centuries after they were written. Bring a reliable source to state your claim that there were previous tunes. Speculation is not fact. Last, you are stating that there are other "tunes" specifically written (not re-metered / arranged) in your claiming "usual"; because as we know: any hymn can be substituted for meter, and have been for hundreds of years (that does not mean the origin tune is the "usual" tune). To say "usual" you would need to find more than just RICHMOND and provide additional sources. Please do. @Martinevans123 consensus has not been reached. Please undo your rv until it has; you are obstructing due process. The source is not reliable and does not back the claim. Thank you. We are debating the word: "usual." Maineartists (talk) 16:12, 31 December 2017 (UTC)
It would also be helpful to actually find recordings of these "other tunes" if this is such a common occurrence to place a word such as "usual" within this article. Joy to the World is perhaps the most recognized of all Christmas Hymn tunes along with O Come All Ye Faithful; it is misleading to the reader to place such a word. Thank you. Maineartists (talk) 16:26, 31 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't quite see how anyone could be misled by "usual"; surely you aren't trying to say ANTIOCH is unusual. I don't see where uses the word "official", either, hardly an improvement in any case. Your new points seem to be 1) is not reliable. This is moot, since it is the hosted page scans that establish publication of JttW with more than a dozen different tunes, and most of these can be independently verified: 1854 Southern Harmony with PAXTON, for example. 2) any counter-example lacks notability. Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal (2013) is the official hymnal of a non-negligible denomination. 3) For 130 or so years before ANTIOCH Joy to the World was perhaps not sung to any music. But see Harmonia Americana, 1791. Sparafucil (talk) 06:50, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
"I don't quite see how anyone could be misled by "usual" ..." and there in lies the problem. The definition alone of "tune" is simply: a melody. You are approaching this entirely from a "sacred hymn" (re-metered Hymnal) aspect. You have yet to provide any source outside of this area. In other words: hymnals and church denominations aside ... what other melodies is Joy to the World being sung to that would justify the word "usual"? Your agenda with this singular insertion of the word "usual" has absolutely nothing to do with this article; but more with your need to prove the unwarranted point that any metered hymn tune can be exchanged for another. If this were as prevlelant to the subject as you merit the word for inclusion to be; than other sources would support your claim outside of a mere online compilation of gathered information ( The "highchart" merely graphs meter ability and application within the hymn format. The ratio produced for hymn tune does not, and should not, allow an umbrella statement for the "melody" since this is not simply a "sacred" article (see section: RECORDINGS) Thus "usual" implying that there are other "tunes" outside of the hymn realm (which is "misleading" to any reader not associated with such verbiage). Your "across the board" notion that any hymn can be re-metered is unnecessary in the section, and superfluous to the article; not to mention, inclusive to all hymns on WP. Your first point is still without support since it is mere speculation; re: the text may / or may not have been sung prior to ANTIOCH being written. Find a reliable source to back your claim. But to what end? The fact that can be sung to a different tune, and different denominations utilize this feature in their hymnals has nothing to due with this article. The section talks exclusively about its writers: not metered / re-metered or other tunes. Nor does the article imply a history of other tunes. Subsequently, I am still challenging the insertion based on the fact that it implies that one of the most well-known of all melodies / hymns / carols (ANTIOCH) ever written should be labeled the "usual tune" simply because of a meter-swap that any choir director / singer knows just by looking at the bottom of a hymnal page. In reviewing countless other well-known hymn tunes on, it would seem that even the most recognized of melodies / tunes have a highchart and list of "alternative" tunes. In turn, placing nearly every hymn tune in the same category as Joy to the World; and rendering "usual" superfluous and nondescript. I understand where you are coming from; but the article is not exclusive to just the meter and hymnals. The sentence / section / article does not warrant, nor support the word "usual". Best, Maineartists (talk) 10:57, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
Since your first edit summary stated "there are no "other" tunes to Joy to the World" it seems to me that there is some confusion that could be avoided here; perhaps "ANTIOCH, the tune associated with Joy to the World since the 1830's1848..." might be more informative and at the same time avoid the word you have such a hangup over. Sparafucil (talk) 09:29, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

Please do not educate WP readers for a simply edit summary on my part. Disregard yours and my "hashing out" the logistics with what is warranted and necessary in this situation. "Informative" and "without further definition" within the article / section still does not clear up any misunderstanding for what you are trying to accomplish. The point of the first sentence and the section as a whole is regarding Mason / Handel and ANTIOCH, not "other" tunes or it being "usual" or "tune associated" since 1848. The sentence should read: "The origin of the tune, known as ANTIOCH, is unclear" plain and simple; unless you are going to revamp the article to read more in keeping with these: In The Bleak Midwinter and Away in a Manger. But there just is not enough material or content (or need) to warrant an entire section for this article. Thus, no reason to include any defining "usual" or "associated with" in the sentence at all. You have yet to find anything within the article that supports this includion; only original research here on the Talk Page. Maineartists (talk) 13:22, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

In The Bleak Midwinter looks exemplary to me, stating clearly that it was first published with Holst's tune and later appeared in Darke's choral setting. Sparafucil (talk)

Your deflection of discussion is exhausting. You have based your inclusion of the word on a single source: that shows a standard chart and a short list of other hymn tunes for Joy to the World by meter only after the fact. In the Bleak Midwinter also shows the same chart, regardless of Holst's tune (CRANHAM). The issue that your only source for inclusion of the word "usual" clearly is an overstatement in that Bleak Midwinter actually does have numerous other "settings" (Darke, Britten, Chilcott, Montgomery, etc). I was linking the 2 WP articles to show the task it would take in further explaining the "other tunes" for this article with content, text, images, recordings, sources, etc for a new section. It may first have been published with Holst's tune in 1906, but the text was written in 1872; and as you say: who knows if it was sung before to another tune? (O.R.) One cannot make the assumption for that article; and one cannot for this. The sources do not support. There is no justifiable reason - or reliable sources - to create a section in this article to support the word "usual"; thus leaving the word within the sentence and section without warrant for inclusion. Maineartists (talk) 01:23, 6 January 2018 (UTC)