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US State Songs
US State Songs

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Kentucky State Song

"My Old Kentucky Home"

Words by Stephen C. Foster
Music by Stephen C. Foster

Adopted in 1986,1988.

"My Old Kentucky Home" was designated the state song of Kentucky by an act of the legislature (Kentucky Acts, 1928), approved March 19, 1928.

Kentucky State Song: "My Old Kentucky Home"

"My Old Kentucky Home"

Original Title (1850)

"Poor Uncle Tom, Goodnight"

Publisher's Title (1853)

"My Old Kentucky Home"

Original Lyrics (1853)

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, the darkies are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.

The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By 'n' by Hard Times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

Chorus
Weep no more my lady
Oh! weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the Old Kentucky Home far away.

Original Lyrics (1853)

(at time of publication)

Contemporary Lyrics (1986)

(revised by House Resolution 159)

Contemporary Lyrics (1986)

The sun shines bright in My Old Kentucky Home,
'Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.

The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By 'n' by hard times comes a knocking at the door,
Then My Old Kentucky Home, good night!

Chorus
Weep no more my lady
Oh weep no more today;
We will sing one song
For My Old Kentucky Home
For My Old Kentucky Home, far away


Full Original Version

"My Old Kentucky Home"

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, the darkies are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.

The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By 'n' by Hard Times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

Chorus
Weep no more my lady
Oh! weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the Old Kentucky Home far away.

They hunt no more for the possum and the coon,
On meadow, the hill and the shore,
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by the old cabin door.

The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow, where all was delight,
The time has come when the darkies have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

Chorus

The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the darky may go;
A few more days, and the trouble all will end,
In the field where the sugar-canes grow;

A few more days for to tote the weary load,
No matter, 'twill never be light;
A few more days till we totter on the road,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

Chorus

Origin of Song: "My Old Kentucky Home"

"My Old Kentucky Home" was written and set to music by Stephen Collins Foster in 1850 and published in 1853 by Firth, Pound, and Company, New York. It was designated the state song of Kentucky by an act of the legislature (Kentucky Acts, 1928), approved March 19, 1928.

Foster wrote the song after a brief stay at the home of his cousins, the Rowans, in Bardstown, Kentucky. Historians have neither found clear evidence that Foster did visit the mansion, named Federal Hill, nor that he wrote the famous song in its parlor. In some of the family correspondence, references to Foster's taking a steamboat to Louisville is documented, and it is possible that he visited the Rowans in nearby Bardstown while in the area.

From Kentucky Revised Statutes Annotated, Chapter 2.100: "LRC Note: The modern version of 'My Old Kentucky Home' was adopted during the 1986 Regular Session of the General Assembly by the House of Representatives in House Resolution 159 and the Senate in Senate Resolution 114.

An Act of the Legislature 1928

WHEREAS, the song, "My Old Kentucky Home," by Stephen Collins Foster, has immortalized Kentucky throughout the civilized world, and is known and sung in every State and Nation; therefore,

Be it Resolved by the Senate of Kentucky, the House of Representatives concurring: That the song, "My Old Kentucky Home," by Stephen Collins Foster, be and is hereby selected and adopted as the official State song of the State of Kentucky.

Kentucky Law

Kentucky Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 2.100. Words to the songs are not included in the statutes.

TITLE I - SOVEREIGNTY AND JURISDICTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH
CHAPTER 002. CITIZENSHIP, EMBLEMS, HOLIDAYS, AND TIME
SECTION 2.100. STATE SONG - BLUEGRASS SONG

2.100 State song - Bluegrass song.
(1) The song, "My Old Kentucky Home," by Stephen Collins Foster, is the official state song of Kentucky.

(2) The song, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" by Bill Monroe, is the bluegrass song of Kentucky.

Effective: July 15, 1988

History: Amended 1988 Ky. Acts ch. 134, sec. 1, effective July 15, 1988. - Recodified 1942 Ky. Acts ch. 208, sec. 1, effective October 1, 1942, from Ky. Stat. sec. 4618p.

Legislative Research Commission Note. The modern version of "My Old Kentucky Home" was adopted during the 1986 Regular Session of the General Assembly by the House of Representatives in House Resolution 159 and the Senate in Senate Resolution 114. This version substitutes the word "people" for the word "darkies."

State Songs
US State Songs
Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state.
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