Author: Rhynes, J.D.

Story Behind the Song: The Birth of " PRECIOUS LORD"
 
Howdy folks. My good friend Smoky Silver sent me this story here awhile back, and I was reading it again last Saturday. It is such a soul moving story, and since Saturday was the day before Easter, I thought it would be wonderful to share this with all of you folks. I would have never thought that Tommy Dorsey was the author of this wonderful song of Hope and inspiration. Us older folks are well aware that Tommy was one of the Big Band Era's greatest artist's and band leaders, but this story brought to light another side of his talent, that few were aware of. I hope that you all enjoy this as much as I have. Here then, is the story as Tommy Dorsey told it.

Back in 1932, I was 32 years old and a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago 's south side. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis, where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn't want to go.

Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis. I kissed Nettie good-bye, clattered downstairs to our Model A and, in a fresh Lake Michigan breeze, chugged out of Chicago on Route 66. However, outside the city, I discovered that in my anxiety at leaving, I had forgotten my music case. I wheeled around and headed back. I found Nettie sleeping peacefully. I hesitated by her bed; something was strongly telling me to stay. But eager to get on my way, and not wanting to disturb Nettie, I shrugged off the feeling and quietly slipped out of the room with my music.

The next night, in the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words; YOUR WIFE JUST DIED.

People were happily singing and clapping around me, but I could hardly keep from crying out. I rushed to a phone and called home. All I could hear on the other end was 'Nettie is dead. Nettie is dead.'

When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that same night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart.

For days I closeted myself I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn't want to serve Him anymore or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. But then, as I hunched alone in that dark apartment those first sad days, I thought back to the afternoon I went to St. Louis. Something kept telling me to stay with Nettie. Was that something God? Oh, if I had paid more attention to Him that day, I would have stayed and been with Nettie when she died.

From that moment on I vowed to listen more closely to Him. But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially a friend, Professor Fry, who seemed to know what I needed. On the following Saturday evening he took me up to Malone's Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys. Something happened to me then. I felt at peace. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, once into my head, the words just seemed to fall into place:

'Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand! I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the storm, through the night lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.'

The Lord gave me these words and melody. He also healed my spirit. I learned that when we are in our deepest grief, when we feel farthest from God, this is when He is closest, and when we are most open to His restoring power.

And so I go on living for God willingly and joyfully, until that day comes when He will take me and gently lead me home.

-Tommy Dorsey

Did you know that Tommy Dorsey wrote this song? I surely didn't. What a wonderful story of how God CAN heal the brokenhearted!

Beautiful, isn't it? Worth the reading wasn't it? Think on the message for a while. Thought you might like to share this, I just did.

Every one is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.
 
Posted:  3/27/2008



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