My Old Kentucky Home

Album: Songs of Kentucky (1853)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • 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

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"They're Playing My Song

Shears does very little promotion, which has kept him secluded from the spotlight. What changed when Cyndi Lauper had a hit with his song? Not much, really.

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

Dar Williams

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.

Joan Armatrading

Joan ArmatradingSongwriter Interviews

The revered singer-songwriter talks inspiration and explains why she put a mahout in "Drop the Pilot."

JJ Burnel of The Stranglers

JJ Burnel of The StranglersSongwriter Interviews

JJ talks about The Stranglers' signature sound - keyboard and bass - which isn't your typical strain of punk rock.

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell NdegeocelloSongwriter Interviews

Meshell Ndegeocello talks about recording "Wild Night" with John Mellencamp, and explains why she shied away from the spotlight.