History of a Song: April - “I’ll Be A Sunbeam” (a.k.a. “Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam”)
This song was imagined from the mind of Nellie Talbot. Unfortunately, there is very little known about her- I was able to find very limited information on her. There were some possibilities of where she lived her life in the census. I did find a genealogy site that said her full name was Ellen Winnifred Talbot and she was born in October 1871. Another site said that she died in March 31, 1959 and her parents were Joseph and Mary Talbot. What is generally known is that she lived in Missouri and at one point, she wanted to come up with some new material for her Sunday School class that she taught at church. She could only think of nature and wrote this song about Christ and sunbeams.
The Vaselines. Later the group changed their parody and renamed it “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam”. In 1992, the latter parody was released by Nirvana and before the band broke up, they released two additional versions of this parody. Another parody was published on the web in 2006 called “Allah Wants Me for a Jihadist” and is sung to the same tune.
too much marketing?) This song was recently released by the music group Juice on a movie soundtrack for the film “The Home Teachers”. However, it would be a mistake to forget that this song is not an originally ‘Mormon’ song and to lose sight of the message that this song gives not only to other Mormons, but to the outside religious world at large. After Prop 8 in California, a group sponsored a contest for slogans to protest outside of the Salt Lake Temple. One of the most popular slogan was- Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam, why don't you? Love is always the answer.
This song is one of the first primary songs I ever remember learning and it was the second one that I taught my own child. What does this song mean to you? What memories does it conjure up in your mind? If you are not LDS, please tell me your experiences with this song.