If Rev. Edward Perronet (1721-1792) were alive today, he would likely feel at home with most of this year’s American presidential candidates. An Anglican clergyman with an acidic tongue, Perronet had deep dissenting beliefs and voiced his polarizing theological opinions vociferously. (“I was born and I am like to die in the tottering communion of the Church of England; but I despise her nonsense.”) Eventually even ardent dissenters disassociated themselves from him. But even though his theological battles have long been forgotten by many, he left a lasting legacy behind – the text to All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.
The history behind All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name is just as complicated as its author. Gospel Magazine published the first verse of the hymn in their November 1779 edition with the tune Shrubsole (which later became known as Miles Lane.) Five months later, the same magazine printed the complete hymn with the title On the Resurrection, the Lord is King. Four years after that, G. Burder adapated the hymn, altering stanzas and text, titled it The Coronation Hymn, and published it in his Collection. Then three years later, J. Rippon altered the text yet again for his Selection of Hymns. Today’s hymnals combine Perronet’s original text and Rippon’s revisions but, to add more confusion, vary as to which verses and versions they use.
As if the text wasn’t complicated enough, nailing down one tune for this hymn isn’t any easier. In Great Britain, the birthplace of this hymn, you’ll find All Hail the Power to Jesus’ Name paired with one of two English-born tunes: Miles Lane (as noted above, formerly Shrubsole) or Diadem. Diadem is also used in U.S. hymnals but it’s more common to pair this hymn with Coronation, a tune by American composer, singing school teacher, and tune-book publisher Oliver Holden (1765-1844).
Since I grew up singing Coronation with All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, that’s the tune I used when weaving this hymn together with three other majestic hymns – O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, Crown Him with Many Crowns, and Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun – to create the regal piano arrangement Christ the King Medley. I also learned a fun version of one of the verses whose great imagery I just have to share. Enjoy!
Let every kindred, every tribe
on this terrestrial ball,
to Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all.
To Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all!