Paul Robeson – Jerusalem

I’ve always liked the song ‘Jerusalem’ – William Blake’s poem and Hubert Parry’s music set in harmony and perhaps in a little tension.

I heard this version by Paul Robeson when listening to the Radio 4 Programme Soul Music. In this episode dedicated to ‘Jerusalem’ one Pamela Davenport is interviewed. She talks about her Dad, a former mill worker in Manchester, and his relationship with the song:

To my Dad, ‘Jerusalem’ was not anything to do with ‘Land of Hope & Glory’ or ‘Rule Britannia’. It was to do with people’s lives, people who work hard day in day out; and sometimes they don’t get the justice, the wages, the rights they should do.

There are calls now and then for ‘Jerusalem’ to become the English national anthem. I don’t think I’d object if those calls at some point were ever to be seriously considered.

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