From a Distance

Julie Gold, 1985

Close your eyes while you listen to this song. What images do you see?

Summarize the message of this song in one sentence. How realistic are the hopes this song expresses? Why do some musicians write or sing about ideal situations that likely will never happen? Is it best to be realistic or idealistic? Why? How can we take the best of both?

Besides the musical style, is this a song that would likely have been written 100 years before? Why? What new perspective did we gain in the last half of the twentieth century that made this perspective possible? Spaceflight. What famous picture let people see earth all at once for the first time? "Earthrise" over the moon, taken by the Apollo astronauts. How does that image differ from a map or globe?

For what other reasons do we now think more globally than 100 years ago? Communication and transportation technologies bring us closer, world wars since then, global trade. What other global problems do we have to deal with today? Energy, environment, terrorism, human rights, global health crisis, world trade, etc.

"From a Distance" performed by Bette Milder on Experience the Divine Bette Midler, New York: Atlantic [7567-80667-2], © 1993. Available on iTunes and Spotify.


For more information on Bette Midler, visit her official website. The official music video may be viewed via YouTube.

Rights have not been secured to reprint the words for this song. Please consult this online source:

Julie Gold.

Originally from Philadelphia, Gold moved to New York in 1978 to become a songwriter and wrote this song in a one-room apartment just prior to her thirtieth birthday. Her involvement in the music community and acquaintance with other aspiring singer-songwriters finally got her the break she needed when Nanci Griffith asked to record this song in 1986. Since then it has been sung and recorded by numerous artists worldwide, including the Byrds, Judy, Collins and several Irish and English acts. Bette Midler had a Top 40 hit with this song during the Persian Gulf War (1991), earning a Grammy for herself and the Minute Man Award for Julie Gold, given to her by the US Army for heartening the troops during the Persian Gulf War. This song has also been played as a wake-up call for astronauts on the space shuttle, most likely to remind them to be aware of and appreciate their perspective.

Update this song with verses about current global issues.

Design a series of "From a Distance" posters to remind people of their part in the global community.

Make a video using this song as the soundtrack. Choose your images to reinforce the message of the song.

Write bumper sticker slogans that express the message of this song.

Compare this song to:

"He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"



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