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World Without Walls

Music is often used in “Love, Hate and Hope”  to nudge my characters to reflect on their lives and their futures.  I am grateful that Mike Bell has granted me permission to quote liberally from “World without Walls” in one of the final chapters.

Mike Bell is the Curator of Popular Culture at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. He was also a staff songwriter for the Scarlet Moon Publishing Company, writing songs with hit songwriter Paul Overstreet in Nashville.

Later, he wrote his song, “World Without Walls,” (SCROLL DOWN TO LISTEN) after being profoundly moved hearing the stories of his friend Joe O’Donnell, a World War II Marine photographer who had to photo-document the devastation of Hiroshima after the atom bomb was dropped. Years later O’Donnell became a dedicated peace advocate.

Bell said, “I had the title for about a year, and after talking with Joe in 1994 I had the song written in a few days. He loved it and later played it for the Mayor of Hiroshima in the spirit of healing when he visited there with an exhibit of his photos. The song is really my prayer for peace–tearing down the invisible walls of prejudice and hatred, and highlighting greed, another root cause of war.”

You can listen to part of World Without Walls” in the Love, Hate and Hope video. The lyrics also play an important role in the novel’s final chapter as the main characters – who have played folk music since the sixties, and are now in their seventies – reflect on what they’ve learned and what they will prioritize in their final years.

Click here to listen to the entire song.

World Without Walls

Words and Music by Mike Bell, Copyright 1994

When a man brings up his kids

To hate the same people that his father did

He builds up a wall that we can’t see

And it cuts off the road to their humanity

Let’s show the children a better way

How great this earth of ours could be someday

If we could live in a

World without walls and learn how to see

The human race in every face with the love God gives us all

If we could tear all the fences down and just give a little ground

There’d be nothing left to hide from in a World without walls

We fill up our houses they’re cluttered with stuff

We could be billionaires and still not have enough

When all it could take to make life worthwhile

Is giving each other a reason to smile

And though it sounds like a fantasy

I’m not the only one who still believes

We can live in a

World without walls and learn how to see

The human race in every face with the love God gives us all

If we could tear all the fences down and just give a little ground

There’d be nothing left to hide from in a World without walls

There’s room for us all in a world without walls

Bell continued, “I wrote the second verse in 2005, replacing the one that referred to the bomb, wanting to make the song more universal and not add to the controversy whether or not we should have used a nuclear weapon.”

Original 2nd verse:

‘I met a man, used to be a Marine who had to take pictures of the battles he’d seen

At Hiroshima, after the bomb, he couldn’t believe all the people were gone

Ever since that moment changed his life

He’s prays we’ll keep the dream of peace alive

That we can live in a

World without walls and learn how to see

See the human race in every face with the love God gives us all….’

 

Bell added, “I’ve sung this song in black and white churches around Nashville, and also at a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial service, in the hope that its message might make a difference, however small, in the way we look at our inherited beliefs.Kathy in Studio (1)

I recorded it in a Nashville studio in 2015 with my sister, Kathy Bell DeLoughry, singing harmonies, after having made a few melodic changes to the song.”

Mike can be reached at Mike@MikeBellSongs.com,

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