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What IS Michael McDonald’s Yah Mo B There?

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

I’m sure you’ve either heard the 1983 hit from Michael McDonald or saw it in “40 Year Old Virgin.”  I got so curious as to what the heck “ya mo be there” means that I looked it up. It was driving me nuts! The song is catchy and I never even thought about what the song meant or even was. Until now.

I took a wild guess that it was translated as “yeah, I’m going to be there.” Nope. Shockingly, it was written by McDonald and James Ingram (he sings on this too) as a tip of the hat to GOD!

The actually spelling of the song title is Yah Mo B There. Yah is a shortened version of Yahweh, which means God in Hebrew. So the title literally means “God will be there” and is interpreted as “God be with you.”

Ingram and McDonald spelled things differently so as not to scare anyone away. Good idea! The title has perplexed people since 1983. Another fast fact, the idea behind the song was the religious teaching that nothing can save mankind except our Father in Heaven.

Now we both know. have fun winning a bar bet.

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