Number One Songs—I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing

Editors Note: Only in Nashville! Recently I was eating a famously-great burger at the venerable Brown's Diner, one of the more "off the beaten path" venues in Music City. I was there to see the journeyman musician and band leader Jay Patten. Soon, in walk's the legendary British songwriter Roger Cook. Roger sang a number of his big hits with Jay's band including one of my all-time favorite songs "I Believe in You," a #1 country hit in 1980 for the the great Don Williams.

"First heard as a Coca-Cola commercial...with the lyric 'I'd like to buy the world a Coke,' this tune (and the ad) caught the public's attention immediately.

The Hillside Singers, eight singers in the original ad, changed the lyrics to 'I'd like to teach the world to sing' and recorded the song. In England, meanwhile, the popular '60s group The Seekers reorganized themselves as The New Seekers and recorded it too, scoring a kind of sequel to their first million-seller, 'Look What They've Done to My Song, Ma' [penned by Melanie]. It became the U.K.'s 1971 Song of the Year and a hit in the U.S. as well." —100 Favorite Songs Of Faith, Friendship And Love

The song began life as a collaboration by UK hit songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway called 'True Love and Apple Pie' and recorded by Susan Shirley. It was then rewritten by Cook, Greenaway, Coca-Cola account executive Bill Backer, and Billy Davis and recorded as a Coca-Cola radio commercial, with the lyric 'I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.'

"First aired on American radio in February 1969, it was also used as a TV commercial later that year, sparking public demand for its release as a single. Reworked, again by Bill Backer and Billy Davis, to remove the references to the brand name, the single climbed to UK <b>#1</b> and US #7 in 1971 and 1972.

"The Coca-Cola Company waived royalties to the song and instead donated $80,000 in payments to UNICEF. The song has since been recorded over 75 times." —Wikipedia

Commercial Copy:
On a hilltop in Italy
We assembled young people
From all over the world
To bring you this message
From Coca-Cola Bottlers
All over the world
It's the real thing - Coke.

And they sang...

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke Lyrics

I'd like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves.

Chorus:
I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That's the real thing.

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That's the real thing

Chorus 2:
What the world wants today
Coca-Cola (background)
Is the real thing

What the world wants today
Coca-Cola (background)
Is the real thing

I'd like to teach the world to sing
Sing with me (background)
In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That's the real thing

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That's the real thing.

What the world wants today
Coca-Cola (background)
Is the real thing

What the world wants today
Coca-Cola (background)
Is the real thing

I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing Lyrics
(Words and Music by Roger Cook, Roger Greenaway, Bill Backer, and Billy Davis)

I'd like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to hold it in my arms and keep it company

I'd like to see the world for once
All standing hand in hand
And hear them echo through the hills "Ah, peace throughout the land"

(That's the song I hear)
I'd like to teach the world to sing (that the world sings today)
In perfect harmony

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to build the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves

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