Somebody Bigger Than You And I

Mario Lanza

by Muriel Agnello

Muriel Agnello

Somewhere between a hymn and a ballad, Somebody Bigger Than You and I again showcases Mario's talent for taking an unremarkable song and making it into something more noteworthy. That the Lanza voice can slip into the inspirational song category so easily and convincingly, is evident here as well. I never cease to be amazed at his gift for engaging his listener without his being aware of it.

The song begins with Mario quietly and calmly making musical queries about the origin of simple but magnificent marvels found on earth. We listen attentively as he sings, "Who made the mountain? Who made the tree? Who made the river flow to the sea? And who hung the moon in the starry sky? Somebody bigger than you and I". Who or what is this Somebody?

Certainly, it is not the work of man, who could never accomplish such impossible feats. So - it must be a Power greater than any we can imagine. But, really, what about this Power?

Within the heart and soul of each of us, resides inherent qualities we may identify as courage, faith, goodness, hope and love. What they all add up to may be described as resiliency - man alone is resilient. He perseveres. He gathers up whatever force is inside -his essence, so to speak, and continues on in his quest for happiness and accomplishment in his life. My husband's Italian grandmother used to say that there is nothing darker than the night. What she meant was there is always the promise of a new day to follow. She was very wise.

And so it is this notion that Mario sings about so assuredly in the second half of the song. His emphasis and inflections on key words and phrases simply raise our awareness. He leads us to think of the true meaning of the simple lyrics. He creates an urgency as he picks up the tempo with, "He lights the way when the road is long, keeps you company. With love to guide you, He walks beside you, 'just' (a round and luscious sound, this word), like He walks with me". Here he trails off into softness. Ohhh, now he makes us literally shiver, "When I am 'weary', filled with 'despair"......" We recognize the desolation and feeling that he wants to give up by the trembling of his voice.

But, in the last three lines, it is then that Mario truly infuses the lyrics with inspiration and leaves us with an overall good feeling. "Who gives me courage to go on from there? And who gives me 'faith' (note the strong emphasis on this word) that will never die?" (He holds on to "die" strongly, but gently, until we catch up for his emotional finale.) "Somebody bigger than you and I". He then trails off into a small echo that commands the listener to come to the conclusion that he has the power to draw the necessary strength from inside himself to overcome whatever obstacle or enormous task is before him. We are left feeling satisfied, hopeful, and knowing we are never alone. And - isn't that idea the universal answer we all yearn for?