(To learn to play it just like this, watch the video below or click on the “Free Sheet Music” link above.)
A Beautiful Life was written by William M. Golden in 1918, and is in the public domain.
I try to stay with public domain music. It means I can’t do some of my favorite gospel songs, but on the good side – it keeps me out of trouble with copyrights. After Lily of the Valley, I ran out of ideas. For the first time since starting this website, there were no songs in my mind waiting to be played. At least, none that were in the public domain. Plenty that I wish I could post…
Looked for inspiration on Google, of course. Because it starts with an “A”, ‘A Beautiful Life” was one of the first songs to pop up. Caught my interest, and the lyrics really resonated. Looked on Youtube to hear it (because, you know, I don’t read sheet music, it has to be audible for me to learn a song). Started listening, and thought… ‘This sounds familiar.’ Read the lyrics while listening, and realized I’d found an old friend. Maybe it was random, or maybe I was supposed to find “A Beautiful Life”. Either way, I can take a hint.
As young teens, myself and a couple of friends especially enjoyed Beautiful Life. Our voices were just deepening, and we shared an exact pitch in the low ranges. We had a grand time with the bass in the chorus. (We aren’t the only ones… apparently many people have noticed and enjoyed the wonderful base melody.) Our church had a men’s and women’s part to sing, so the guys got to show off a bit!
Regardless, our little group loved singing it.
As an older adult, the lyrics have a lot more meaning now. As much as possible I’ve lived as a ‘nice guy’. Try to do the right thing, be thoughtful of others, be kind… all the usual. Not always easy, but it’s a good goal. Here’s a song that understands, and inspires. “Each day I’ll do a golden deed.” Help someone. Be kind. Lighten someone’s burden. This is like the nice guy’s anthem.
More trivia: If you can believe undocumented rumor, William Golden spent 8 years in prison, and wrote the majority of his songs during that time. If true, it gives ‘Beautiful Life’ even more meaning. I can imagine him having a change of heart. Remorse for his crimes. Writing music as a means of atonement. Trying to make up for wasted time. Several websites mention this, but I never found proper documentation. To me, it’s apocryphal. Maybe true, maybe not, but it still makes a good story.
Whatever the basis of fact or fiction, A Beautiful Life is a wonderful song, and a ‘new’ old favorite of mine… I hope you enjoy it.