I was just kicking the idea around of tweaking the words a bit to "How sweet it is" by James Taylor

so it would be directed to the Lord & playing it in church, but would you all do something like this with a secular song? 

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Well, be aware that the actual authors are Holland/Dozier/Holland, and it's not going to be CCLI covered, if those are big issues for you.

I'm not sure I would "tweak the lyrics" at all, except maybe changing "baby" to "Jesus," I think any other changes than that would be likely to make it cheezy... and even there, I think I might limit it to performing it once as a special and then having the pastor tie the song into the sermon.  I'd also think about whether your band could properly do this style of music (I wouldn't try it with our band).

In general, it seems to me that when worship bands try to "tweak in" secular songs, it usually doesn't work as well as you'd think it would.  Your mileage may vary.

That's exactly the only minor tweaking I had in mind, Mr Wolff, thank you. Now I'm just curious as to why you would only perform it once as a special?

I once heard some very well known worship leaders perform "You are so Beautiful-Joe Cocker" and "Come together-Beatles", then also put these on their recordings.

Appreciate your reply!

It was done a lot in the 70's and 80's in the contemporary churches here in Oz, say like the old classic Let it be - Beatles, but changing 'mother mary' to 'Holy Spirit' but you are challenged by copyright now and need to follow that through before you go down that route these days.

To be honest I think it has been done for over two hundred years in various songs ( Hymns) e.g. John Brown's Body tune used in the Battle Hymn of the Republic. That's how many of the religious songs got written in the first place. They took well know secular songs that almost everyone recognised and Christianised them; by changing the whole or part of the song. Unfortunately, these days people will tell you that you can't do that and it is wrong, but why not write to the owner of the songs and ask them for permission for you or the church to use it that way in your service ( pastor's permission as well). You never know that it might work out for you and without issues from the establishment.

OK, this is going to be more trouble than it's worth. I'll pass on the idea.

Disc Makers has a series of guides that cover getting the royalties on recording cover songs such as you state.  You should read their stuff and it might not be as bad as you think.


Link on getting mechanical copyright permissions.



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