The Story Behind I'll Fly Away
Albert E. Brumley has been described as the "pre-eminent gospel songwriter" of the 20th century with over 600 published songs. According to interviews, Brumley came up with the idea for "I'll Fly Away" while picking cotton on his father's farm in Rock Island, Oklahoma.
Brumley says that as he worked he was "humming the old ballad that went like this: 'If I had the wings of an angel, over these prison walls I would fly,' and suddenly it dawned on me that I could use this plot for a gospel-type song." The song Brumley described appears to be "The Prisoner's Song".
It was an additional three years later until Brumley worked out the rest of the song, paraphrasing one line from the secular ballad to read, "Like a bird from prison bars has flown" using prison as an analogy for earthly life. Brumley has stated, "When I wrote it, I had no idea that it would become so universally popular."
Popular Hymn Lyrics with Story and Meaning
Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment
Jesus Loves Me
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Nearer My God to Thee
Abide with Me
His Eye is On the Sparrow
Be Thou My Vision
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty