The Tabernacle Choir Blog

“You Raise Me Up”: The Grammy-Nominated and Billboard #1 Song That Was Almost Left Off Its Original Album

“You Raise Me Up”: The Grammy-Nominated and Billboard #1 Song That Was Almost Left Off Its Original Album


It was the song that almost wasn’t. Composer Rolf Lovland was making demo recordings for an upcoming album for his duo act Secret Garden, which also featured violinist Fionnuala Sherry. At the end of a weeklong day and night studio session, the duo made the demo for a melody titled “Silent Story,” which later became "You Raise Me Up." After recording the song using only a keyboard and violin, while half-asleep, they knew they had a special song on their hands.


Of the 21 demos made, only 12 were going to make the final album. After many meetings, a list was made to rank the top songs. "Silent Story" ranked number 18 on the list of 21 songs. The duo insisted on recording the song with the Irish National Symphony Orchestra. However, when the album was being mixed, they reverted to using the violin recorded from the original demo, as the duo felt “it had a special sense of discovering something for the first time—and that magic couldn’t be replaced.”


Loveland knew a man named Brendan Graham, author of the book The Whitest Flower,and thought he would be perfect to write the lyrics to his unfinished song. The two met one afternoon to listen to the song together. By that night, Graham had the song finished, and the lyrics required no rewrites. The song had now become “You Raise Me Up.”


On March 26, 2002, Secret Garden released “You Raise Me Up” as a single, featuring the vocals of Brian Kennedy and Tracy Campbell. The single reached #1 on the Norway Singles Chart. In 2004 Josh Groban released a rendition that spent six weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Chart and earned him a Grammy nomination. The boy band Westlife also took the song to #1 in the UK; it was their biggest single ever. The song has been covered more than 125 times.

While many versions of the song have been performed over the years, the men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir add their own majestic rendition to the list. The song was included on the 2010 album titled Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.