My Old Kentucky Home

Album: Songs of Kentucky (1853)
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  • According to Thomas Hischak in The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia, Stephen Foster's 1853 hit "My Old Kentucky Home" was inspired by a visit to his cousin's house, the Rowan Mansion, which was designated a state memorial in 1922.

    Ed Christy introduced the song in his minstrel show, and it sold 160,000 copies of the sheet music, although Foster saw little of the profits. It has what might be called idealized lyrics.
  • The song is also known as "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night", and was originally called "Poor Uncle Tom, Good-Night!" Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in 1851, and it is possible this may have influenced or even inspired Foster.

    Adopted as the Official State Song on March 19, 1928, it fell victim to political correctness in 1986, although unlike "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny," it suffered only a minor change in its lyrics - the word "darkies" was altered to "people."
  • There are of course numerous arrangements of the song, including a 1904 edition for four female voices, by W. Rhys-Herbert published by J. Fischer of New York; and a 1960 Oxford Choral Songs arrangement by John Clements for Oxford University Press. It has also spawned a host of imitations, including most notably by Randy Newman. As might be expected of those who know him, Newman's song is considerably darker than the original. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3


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