Swanee

Al Jolson

About Swanee

"Swanee" is an American popular song written in 1919 by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Irving Caesar. It is most often associated with singer Al Jolson. The song was written for a New York City revue called Demi-Tasse, which opened in October 1919 in the Capitol Theater. Caesar and Gershwin, who was then aged 20, claimed to have written the song in about ten minutes riding on a bus in Manhattan, finishing it at Gershwin's apartment. It was written partly as a parody of Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home", even filching the title for the Swanee lyrics. It was originally used as a big production number, with 60 chorus girls dancing with electric lights in their slippers on an otherwise darkened stage. The song had little impact in its first show, but not long afterwards Gershwin played it at a party where Al Jolson heard it. Jolson then put it into his show Sinbad, already a success at the Winter Garden Theatre, and recorded it for Columbia Records in January 1920. "After that", said Gershwin, "Swanee penetrated the four corners of the earth." The song was charted in 1920 for 18 weeks holding the No. 1 position for nine. It sold a million sheet music copies, and an estimated two million records. It became Gershwin's first hit and the biggest-selling song of his career; the money he earned from it allowed him to concentrate on theatre work and films rather than writing further single pop hits. Arthur Schwartz said: "It's ironic that he never again wrote a number equaling the sales of Swanee, which for all its infectiousness, doesn't match the individuality and subtlety of his later works."Jolson recorded the song several times in his career and performed it in the movies The Jolson Story (1946), Rhapsody in Blue (1946), and Jolson Sings Again (1949). For the song's performance in The Jolson Story, Jolson, rather than actor Larry Parks, appeared as himself, filmed in long shot. Although usually associated with Jolson, "Swanee" has been recorded by many other singers, most notably Judy Garland in A Star Is Born. The song was also used by the Sydney Swans Australian Rules Football Club for its marketing promotions in the late 1990s. 


Year:
1996
3,235 
#4

 Watch: New Singing Lesson Videos Can Make Anyone A Great Singer

I've been away from you a long time.
I never thought I'd miss you so.
Somehow I feel
Your love is real.
Near you I want to be.
The birds are singing it is song time.
The banjo's strumming soft and low.
I know that you 
Yearn for me too.
Swannee, you're calling me.

Swanee, how I love you, how I love you
My dear old Swanee.
I give the world to be
Among the folks in D-I-X-I-
Even though my mammy's
Waiting for me,
Praying for me
Down by the Swanee.
The folks up north will see me no more
When I get to that Swanee shore.

(whistling)
I miss the old folks at home.

Swanee, how I love you, how I love you
My dear old Swanee.
I give the world to be
Among the folks in D-I-X-I-
Even though my mammy's
Waiting for me,
Praying for me
Down by the Swanee.
The folks up north will see me no more
When I get to that Swanee shore.

 Watch: New Singing Lesson Videos Can Make Anyone A Great Singer


Al Jolson

Al Jolson (born Asa Yoelson) (May 26, 1886 – October 23, 1950) was an American singer, comedian, and actor of Jewish descent. In his heyday, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer". more »

3 fans

Written by: George Gershwin, Irving Caesar

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind


5 facts about this song

Historical Context
"Swanee" is a popular American song written by George Gershwin and Irving Caesar in 1919. The song became widely recognized after renditions by Al Jolson and later, Judy Garland.
Creation and Performances
Al Jolson introduced "Swanee" in the winter of 1919 during his performances in the musical "Sinbad". - The song was not part of the original musical but was later included due to its immense popularity. - Judy Garland's version of "Swanee" was featured in the 1946 film "A Star is Born" and the song quickly became one of her signature pieces.
Compositional Details
"Swanee" was written by George Gershwin when he was just 20 years old. Gershwin is best known for his work in blending elements of classical music and jazz. - Gershwin allegedly wrote "Swanee" in about ten minutes, inspired by Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home".
Record Sales and Recognition
Al Jolson's recording of "Swanee" sold millions of copies and topped the charts for nine weeks in 1920. - "Swanee" is arguably one of George Gershwin's most successful songs and helped catapult his career.
Controversies and Popular Culture
The song is occasionally criticized for its romanticized depiction of the South in the United States, a popular theme in Gershwin's work, and is sometimes excluded from performances for this reason. - Despite these controversies, "Swanee" remains a staple in American popular culture and has been covered by various artists in performances and recordings.

Discuss the Swanee Lyrics with the community:

0 Comments

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add these lyrics to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "Swanee Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 Apr. 2024. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/1518723/Al+Jolson/Swanee>.

    Missing lyrics by Al Jolson?

    Know any other songs by Al Jolson? Don't keep it to yourself!

    Watch the song video

    Swanee

    78,344
    818     26

    Browse Lyrics.com

    Quiz

    Are you a music master?

    »
    In most of its career Metallica was based in?
    A Los Angeles
    B New York
    C Florida
    D San Francisco

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant explanation for any lyrics that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant explanation for any acronym or abbreviation that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Al Jolson tracks

    On Radio Right Now

    Loading...

    Powered by OnRad.io


    Think you know music? Test your MusicIQ here!

    Movies soundtrack

    Swanee

    »