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This was written by Stephen Foster, an American songwriter who wrote many standards in the 1800s, including "Camptown Races," "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Old Folks at Home" ("Swanee River"). This was one of Foster's first songs, and it became an anthem during the 1849 California gold rush.
This song is about a man going to New Orleans to see his beloved Susanna. It's full of longing and desire, as he dreams of Susanna can't wait to see her.
Foster wrote this for minstrel shows, which were popular at the time, and it was often performed in black face. The original second verse was horribly racist, and is not included in modern versions of the song.
Artists to record this song include James Taylor, Carly Simon, Chet Atkins and Gene Autry. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for all above)
There has only been one modern hit version of this song, and it was by The Singing Dogs in 1955. Don Charles from Copenhagen recorded 4 dogs (Dolly, Pearl, Caesar and King) barking and edited them together to create the song. The canine version of "Oh! Susanna" was released as the B-side of the single, with the A-side being a medley of "Pat-A-Cake," "Three Blind Mice" and "Jingle Bells
." The B-side was the surprise hit, charting at #22 in the US. The Dogs' version of "Jingle Bells" was re-released in 1970 and has become a modest Christmas hit.
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