Morning Has Broken was an obscure Christian hymn that became widely known when Cat Stevens included it on his 1971 best-selling album Teaser and the Firecat. It became a signature song for Stevens.
The lyrics were written by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931 and is found in the hymnals of many denominations. The tune to which it is normally sung is called Bunessan, based upon a Scottish Gaelic traditional melody. Before Farjeon's words, it was used as a Christmas carol which began "Child in the manger, Infant of Mary", translated from the Gaelic lyrics written by Mary MacDonald. The English-language Roman Catholic hymnal also uses the tune for the hymn This Day God Gives Me.
Writing credit for Morning Has Broken has often been erroneously attributed to Stevens because of his version of the song which brought it out of obscurity. The familiar piano arrangement on Stevens' album was performed by Rick Wakeman, a classically trained keyboardist with the English progressive rock band Yes. Wakeman was not credited with nor paid for his contribution at the time of the recording; years later Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, acknowledged Wakeman's contribution and paid him. In 2000, Wakeman released an instrumental version of Morning Has Broken on an album of the same title.
Although Stevens is credited with the musical arrangement, the familiar piano intro and general structure of the piece was heard already on Floyd Cramer's 1961 album Last Date.
The song has been covered by numerous artists, including Judy Collins, Floyd Cramer (twice), Neil Diamond, Art Garfunkel, Nana Mouskouri, Aaron Neville, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and Roger Whittaker. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Songfacts explains it tis way:
"Stevens got the lyrics from a hymn book he found at a bookstore while looking for song ideas. It was a children's hymn by Eleanor Farjeon, who also wrote a lot of children's poetry. Children in England would have heard Farjeon's hymn in primary school. Scottish children sang the old Gaelic hymn, "Child in a manger, Infant of Mary" to this tune. This hymn predated "Morning" and was written in Gaelic by Mary MacDonald before being translated into English. For Scottish children it was a Christmas hymn."
Morning Has Broken is a Scottish Gaelic traditional melody. A chord-melody arrangement is presented below in the key of G. The song is played moderately in 3/4 time.