Home on the Range

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"Home on the Range"
Song
GenreWestern folk song
Composer(s)Daniel E. Kelley
Lyricist(s)Brewster M. Higley

"Home on the Range" is a classic western folk song. It is sometimes called the "unofficial anthem" of the American West. The lyrics were first written by Dr. Brewster M. Higley of Smith County, Kansas. He wrote them in a poem called "My Western Home" in 1872.[1][2] In 1947, it became the state song of the U.S. state of Kansas.[1] In 2010, members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 western songs of all time.[3]

History[change | change source]

Dr. Brewster M. Higley, late 19th century

In 1871, Higley moved from Indiana to Smith County, Kansas. He did this because of the Homestead Act. He lived in a small cabin near West Beaver Creek.[4] He was inspired by his new envoironment that he decided to create a poem to praise the prairie. The lyrics to "Home on the Range" were first published as a poem in the Smith County Pioneer in 1872 under the title "My Western Home".[5] That home is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Home on the Range Cabin.

The music was later added by Daniel E. Kelley (1808–1905), a carpenter and friend of Higley.[6] The song was eventually used by ranchers, cowboys, and other western settlers. It spread across the United States in different forms.[7] The song has gone by a few different names, the most common being "Home on the Range" and "Western Home".[8] It was officially chosen as the state song of Kansas on June 30, 1947. It is often thought of as the unofficial anthem of the American West.[8][9]

The most popular version of the song was the version recorded by Bing Crosby on September 27, 1933, with Lennie Hayton and his orchestra for Brunswick Records.[10] It appeared in the various charts of that time.[11]

"Home on the Range" became popular in the 1930s. In fact, former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt said "Home on the Range" was his favorite song.[12]

Lyrics[change | change source]

Dr. Brewster Higley (1876)[13] William and Mary Goodwin (1904) John A. Lomax (1910)[14]
Oh, give me a home where the Buffalo roam
Where the Deer and the Antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day.
Chorus
A home! A home!
Where the Deer and the Antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not clouded all day.
Oh! give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Throws its light from the glittering streams,
Where glideth along the graceful white swan,
Like the maid in her heavenly dreams.
Chorus
Oh! give me a gale of the Solomon vale,
Where the life streams with buoyancy flow;
On the banks of the Beaver, where seldom if ever,
Any poisonous herbage doth grow.
Chorus
How often at night, when the heavens were bright,
With the light of the twinkling stars
Have I stood here amazed, and asked as I gazed,
If their glory exceed that of ours.
Chorus
I love the wild flowers in this bright land of ours,
I love the wild curlew's shrill scream;
The bluffs and white rocks, and antelope flocks
That graze on the mountains so green.
Chorus
The air is so pure and the breezes so fine,
The zephyrs so balmy and light,
That I would not exchange my home here to range
Forever in azures so bright.
Chorus
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
There seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the sky is not cloudy all day.
Chorus
A home, a home
Where the deer and the antelope play,
There seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the sky is not cloudy all day.
Yes, give me the gleam of the swift mountain stream
And the place where no hurricane blows;
Oh, give me the park where the prairie dogs bark
And the mountain all covered with snow.
Chorus
Oh, give me the hills and the ring of the drills
And the rich silver ore in the ground;
Yes, give me the gulch where the miner can sluice
And the bright, yellow gold can be found.
Chorus
Oh, give me the mine where the prospectors find
The gold in its own native land;
And the hot springs below where the sick people go
And camp on the banks of the Grande.
Chorus
Oh, give me the steed and the gun that I need
To shoot game for my own cabin home;
Then give me the camp where the fire is the lamp
And the wild Rocky Mountains to roam.
Chorus
Yes, give me the home where the prospectors roam
Their business is always alive
In these wild western hills midst the ring of the drills
Oh, there let me live till I die.
Chorus
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Chorus
Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs so free,
The breezes so balmy and light,
That I would not exchange my home on the range
For all of the cities so bright.
Chorus
The red man was pressed from this part of the West
He's likely no more to return,
To the banks of Red River where seldom if ever
Their flickering camp-fires burn.
Chorus
How often at night when the heavens are bright
With the light from the glittering stars
Have I stood here amazed and asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours.
Chorus
Oh, I love these wild flowers in this dear land of ours
The curlew I love to hear scream,
And I love the white rocks and the antelope flocks
That graze on the mountain-tops green.
Chorus
Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Flows leisurely down the stream;
Where the graceful white swan goes gliding along
Like a maid in a heavenly dream.
Chorus

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Home on the Range - Kansapedia - Kansas Historical Society". Kshs.org. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  2. "Home on the Range". The Rotarian: 40. September 1955. https://books.google.com/?id=Z0AEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA40&dq=%22home+on+the+range%22+higley#v=onepage&q=%22home%20on%20the%20range%22%20higley&f=false. 
  3. Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. "Kansas Historical Society: Home on the Range". Kansas Historical Society.
  5. Pulver, Florence (1946). "Re: Home on the Range". The Rotarian 68 (2): 2–3, 54.  Dr. Spaeth accepted this later Spaeth 1948, p. 205
  6. "Home on the Range". Kansas Historical Society.
  7. Spaeth, Sigmund Gottfried (1948). A History of Popular Music in America. New York: Random House. p. 205.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Silber, Irwin, ed. (1967). Songs of the Great American West. New York: Macmillan. pp. 221–223. OCLC 1268417.
  9. Harris, Cecilia (2014). "A Symbolic State: Home on the Range". Kansas! Magazine 2014 (Spring): 17–26, page 19. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014. https://www.webcitation.org/6Rj9VovsN?url=http://www.regionalmagazines.org/downloads/competition/KANSASmag-2014-ctgy12-PhotoSeries.pdf. 
  10. "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  11. Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin: Record Research inc. p. 104. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  12. "Historic Kansas cabin an elemental part of folk-song history | Wichita Eagle". 2011 [last update]. Retrieved March 28, 2011. Check date values in: |year= (help)
  13. Rees, Amanda (2004). The Great Plains region. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 219. ISBN 0313327335. Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  14. Lomax, John Avery (1920). Cowboy songs: and other frontier ballads. Macmillan. pp. 39, 40. Retrieved March 27, 2011.

Other websites[change | change source]