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:
1985
72 Views

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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.

 Struggling with Swanee? Become a better singer in 30 days with these videos!


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 »

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Written by: George Gershwin, Irving Caesar

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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