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"Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)"
Single by Carter Family
Released 1935
Genre Country
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"Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)" is a country/folk song reworked by A. P. Carter from the hymn "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" by Ada R. Habershon and Charles Gabriel.[1] The song's lyrics concern the death, funeral, and mourning of the narrator's mother.

The song first gained attention due to the Carter Family. The song has been covered by many groups and musicians including Bob Dylan, The Band, The Staple Singers, John Fahey, Roy Acuff, Joan Baez, The Chieftains, The Black Crowes, Kristin Hersh, John Lee Hooker, Bill Monroe, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Pentangle, Spacemen 3, Country Joe McDonald, John Statz, Spirit of the West with The Wonder Stuff, The Felice Brothers, Johnny Cash, Gregg Allman, the Neville Brothers and Jeff Buckley. Its refrain was incorporated into the Carl Perkins song "Daddy Sang Bass" and the Atlanta song "Sweet Country Music." It is primarily covered in gospel, bluegrass, and folk, but versions in other genres exist. Most cover versions of the song use the alternate title Will the Circle be Unbroken. In 1998 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Published Version


  1. ^ Collins, Ace (1996). The Stories Behind Country Music's All-time Greatest: 100 Songs. New York: The Berkeley Publishing Group. pp. 27–28. ISBN 1-57297-072-3.  


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