Morning Music: He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

He Ain't Heavy, He's My BrotherI got the idea for this week’s Morning Music theme from today’s song, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” When I was a kid, I wondered if the song was about carrying your brother. It turns out that this is exactly what it’s about. It doesn’t matter how much he weighs, because your brother is never a burden. It is a beautiful idea — especially if it is “brother” writ very large.

The phrase itself seems to go back to Scotland. Here is the writer Ralph Waldo Trine’s description of it, “Do you know that incident in connection with the little Scottish girl? She was trudging along, carrying as best she could a boy younger, but it seemed almost as big as she herself, when one remarked to her how heavy he must be for her to carry, when instantly came the reply: ‘He’s na heavy. He’s mi brither.'”

The version everyone knows is by The Hollies. But the live version I have of them performing the song has Allan Clarke with his bare chest. For any song, that would be bad enough. But for this song, it’s absolutely disgusting. So here is a very nice version by Neil Diamond:

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