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5 Songs Like What a Wonderful World

…And I think to myself

What a wonderful world…

“What a Wonderful World” has a lovely sentiment.

Simple, straightforward, bordering the line with schmaltzy, but never quite dropping off its ledge.

what a wonderful world feature

For me, personally, the song holds some sad underpinnings, as explained in our hope songs article.

Though, melancholy certainly isn’t the song’s intention (though, at the time it was written, it could only have been penned with an air of wistfulness), and it’s not true for every version of the song.

At its core, “What a Wonderful World” is about seeing the beauty in the world around you.

Which can feel difficult to do when times are tough, and is where the poignancy of the song comes in.

Still, it’s a nice song, made nicer by a good rendition – the original Louis Armstrong version is pretty hard to beat – and, oddly enough, stands fairly alone.

There a lot more songs about how the world is going to hell than about the good stuff that remains, so there really aren’t that many songs similar to “What a Wonderful World.”

But there are a handful of them that almost capture the song’s essence.

Most of these songs have religious undertones. One’s even an outright hymn!

Not all that surprising given how many people associate a god with the creation of the universe and everything in it.

But, whether you’re a religious person or not, these five songs have something in them most people can take to heart, and they definitely have some common bond with “What a Wonderful World” and the sentiment it provokes.

Songs Like “What A Wonderful World”

How Great Thou Art – Hymn

Lyric Most Like “What a Wonderful World”:

When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze

Then sings my soul…

Yup, it’s a hymn, but the first two verses of this hymn (when people actually sing both of them) are about the closest any song gets to the simplicity of “What a Wonderful World”’s message.

It attributes everything to God right in the lyrics, but it also pays tribute to the stars, the thunder, the woods, the birds, the mountains, the water, and the wind.

Most of this tribute is paid in the second verse, which is the verse most commonly dropped by the people who cover it.

Elvis dropped it.

So did Carrie Underwood.

So, here’s a version that doesn’t:

How Great Thou Art (with lyrics) - Beautiful hymn!

The Color Purple – Jennifer Hudson & Cynthia Erivo

Lyric Most Like “What a Wonderful World”:

Like a plate of corn, like a honeybee
Like a waterfall, all a part of me
Like the color purple, where do it come from?

There are two slightly different versions of this song in The Color Purple from Broadway – the first one and the reprise.

The reprise is the fuller version with the full choir.

It’s also the one where Celie addresses the stars, trees, and sky right alongside God, making everything one and the same.

Here’s the official video of the reprise version (also with choir):

Cynthia Erivo & Jennifer Hudson - The Color Purple Music Video | THE COLOR PURPLE on Broadway

Holy Now – Peter Mayer

Lyric Most Like “What a Wonderful World”:

This mornin’ outside I stood

I saw a little red wing bird

Shining like a burning bush

And singing like a scripture verse

The religious imagery in this one is strong, as you can see in the sample lyric.

But this is really a song that asks the questions, “What happens if I stop looking to religion and start looking at the wonder all around me?” and “Has the idea of a future Heaven made me blind to the beauty on Earth?”

At least, that’s how I hear it.

Here’s the video by the writer, and original singer, Peter Mayer:

Borrowed Heaven – The Corrs

Lyric Most Like “What a Wonderful World”:

All sunrise, all shooting stars, borrowed
All earthbound bare feet in clay
You know we’re standing on

Borrowed, borrowed heaven

Almost a perfect mash-up of “What a Wonderful World” and “Holy Now,” this song fully embraces the idea that this world is a sort of Heaven in itself.

The good parts of it at least.

It even follows the narrative of “What a Wonderful World” to some degree, going from the beauty in the world around us to the beauty in our human connections.

ALL of our human connections.

It gets mad bonus points for having the sultriest lyric on the list.

Colors of the Wind – Pocahontas

Lyric Most Like “What a Wonderful World”:

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sun sweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they’re worth

There’s a lot of context here, and this song has some lyrics that definitely go off-theme.

It is from a Disney musical after all.

But there are also parts of this song that match “What a Wonderful World” almost note for note.

The main difference is perspective.

In “What a Wonderful World,” the singer sees the beauty in the world around them.

In “Colors of the Wind,” the singer is trying to get someone else to see the beauty in the world around them.

Basically, different lyrics, same beautiful world.

Colors Of The Wind - End Title

Are there more songs that specifically reference the beauty in the world than I realize? Drop them in the comments.

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