US State Songs
US State Songs

Tennessee State Song

"My Homeland, Tennessee"

Written by Nell Grayson Taylor
Music by
Roy Lamont Smith

Adopted in 1925 .

On April 10, 1925, the 64th General Assembly, by House Joint Resolution No. 36, adopted "My Homeland, Tennessee" as the official state song of Tennessee. The words of this song were written by Nell Grayson Taylor and the music by Roy Lamont Smith.

Tennessee State Song: "My Homeland, Tennessee"

"My Homeland, Tennessee"

First Verse

O Tennessee, that gave us birth,
To thee our hearts bow down.
For thee our love and loyalty
Shall weave a fadeless crown.
Thy purple hills our cradle was;
Thy fields our mother breast
Beneath thy sunny bended skies,
Our childhood days were blessed.

Second Verse

Could we forget our heritage
Of heroes strong and brave?
Could we do aught but cherish it,
Unsullied to the grave?
Ah no! the State where Jackson sleeps,
Shall ever peerless be.
We glory in thy majesty;
Our homeland, Tennessee.

Third Verse

'Twas long ago our fathers came,
A free and noble band,
Across the mountain's frowning heights
To seek a promised land.
And here before their raptured eyes;
In beauteous majesty:
Outspread the smiling valleys
Of the winding Tennessee.


O Tennessee: Fair Tennessee:
Our love for thee can never die:
Dear homeland, Tennessee.

Origin of Song: "My Homeland, Tennessee"

This song was the first song selected by the Tennessee Legislature to honor the state. Roy Lamont Smith, on the faculty of the Cadek Conservatory of Music in Chattanooga, put Nell Taylor's poem to music and entered the song in a contest and won. The collaboration became the official song of Tennessee. Their composition was published by I. R. Summers, Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1926, at the press of the Zimmerman Print, in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was copyrighted the same year by the Chattanooga Writers' Club.

WHEREAS, The late George Fort Milton of Chattanooga, one of Tennessee's most highly esteemed and patriotic citizens, offered and awarded a prize for the best words and the best music submitted for a State Song, and,

WHEREAS, The committee headed by Mrs. John I. Meek and Mrs. George Fort Milton, worked for a period of three years upon said contest to secure a creditable and noteworthy State Song, and,

WHEREAS, The Judges have awarded the prize for the best State Song that could be had to Miss Nell Grayson Taylor, poet, and to Roy Lamont Smith, eminent music composer, and,

WHEREAS, The Women's Organizations of the State have adopted the same and the school children all over the State are singing it successfully and it is pronounced by the Music Clubs to be an excellent piece of music which may well be dedicated to the great old Volunteer State as its State Song,

Be it resolved, That the House of Representatives, the Senate Concurring, do accept and adopt this song, "My Homeland, Tennessee", as the State Song of Tennessee.

In 1925, the 64th General Assembly, by House Joint Resolution 36, adopted My Homeland, Tennessee as an official state song. The words of this song were written by Nell Grayson Taylor and the music by Roy Lamont Smith.

Tennessee Law

Tennessee General Statutes, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, Section 302.


4-1-302. State songs. The official songs of this state shall be as follows:

(1) "My Homeland, Tennessee" by Nell Grayson Taylor and Roy Lamont Smith, as adopted by House Joint Resolution 36 in 1925;

(2) "When It's Iris Time In Tennessee" by Willa Mae Waid, as adopted by Acts 1935, chapter 154;

(3) "My Tennessee" by Francis Hannah Tranum, as adopted by Senate Joint Resolution 35 in 1955, as the official public school song in Tennessee;

(4) "The Tennessee Waltz" by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King, as adopted by Senate Joint Resolution 9 in 1965; and

(5) "Rocky Top" by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, as adopted by Acts 1982, chapter 545.

[Acts 1935, ch. 154, § 1, 2; mod. C. Supp. 1950, § 107.1, 107.2; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 4-107; Acts 1982, ch. 545, § 1.]

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.