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Songs for Humanists

Before you do anything else, play comedian Steve Martin’s “Atheists Have No Songs” online at

In last month's HFFC newsletter I asked for suggestions for humanist songs. There’s quite a variety, worth listening to and singing. Perhaps the all-time favorite is “Imagine” by John Lennon. Thanks to Manny Ratafia, George Rockmore, Patricia Behre, and Leslie O’Toole who contributed to the list I compiled.

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Cary Shaw

Here is the full list:

Humanist Songs

“A Christmas Carol” by Tom Lehrer. A comedy song about the commercialization of Christmas. “Angels we have heard on high, tell us to go out and Buy!”

“Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Eric Idle of Monty Python, A tongue in cheek parody sung in the movie “Life of Brian”. “If life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten, and that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing.”

“Another Year Begins” by John Franklin, A short and very effective song for community bonding. “Let's take someone else's hand, and do everything we can, to make the most of who we are.”

“Atheists Have No Songs” by Steve Martin. Performed at the David Letterman show, online at

“The Galaxy Song” by Eric Idle and John Du Prez of Monty Python “Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving, revolving at nine hundred miles an hour. It’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second so it’s reckoned, a sun that is the source of all our power.”

“Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley “Get up Stand up. Stand up for your right….If you know what life is worth you would look for yours on Earth.”

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Solstice” putting new words to a known melody. “Here we are as in pagan days, happy heathen days of yore. All our friends who are dear to us, gather near to us once more.”

“If I Were a Rich Man” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Lord, who made the lion and the lamb, You decreed I should be what I am; would it spoil some vast eternal plan, If I were a wealthy man?”

“Imagine” by John Lennon (“You may say that I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one, I hope someday you'll join us, And the world will be as one”)

“It’s Beginning to Look Like Solstice” putting new words to a known melody. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Solstice, in this northern latitude. Put up plenty of shiny lights, ones that are really bright…”

“Just the World in Motion” by the Humanist Community of San Jose, CA, produced by Peter Bishop. A great uplifting song about bad things that can happen “When our life’s not what we planned, it helps to understand,…It’s Just the world in motion”. The wonderful thing about this song is that it works magnificently for children and for adults. This is on a CD available through HFFC.

“Moses” by Peter Fox. A song contrasting the horrors of the modern age with the miracles ascribed to ancient times. “Miracles were made for Moses, Not for little men like me”

“Outside of a Small Circle of Friends” by Phil Ochs. A song engaging us to care about others, written in response to the murder of Kitty Genovese, when none of the people who heard it called the police. “Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain, but Monopoly is so much fun, I’d hate to blow the game.”

“The 12 Days of Solstice” Actually you can make up your own twelve gifts and have fun singing it. One such version is at

“When I’m Gone” by Phil Ochs. A powerful and engaging song about the power and importance of acting in the present. (“Won’t be asked to do my share, when I’m gone. So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here.”)

General Feel Good Songs for Humanists

“The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Neil Simon. An upbeat song. “Let the morning time drop all its petals on me. Life, I love you, All is groovy.”

“Good Day Sunshine” by Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the Beatles “I need to laugh, and when the sun is out, I’ve got something I can laugh about.”

“Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison of the Beatles (“Little darling, It’s been a long, cold lonely winter…Here comes the sun!”)

“Hiney Ma Tov” traditional (Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together.)

“I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown. Generally upbeat song. “I feel good. I knew that I would. So good, so good, I got you.”

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