Oh! Susanna

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Early sheet music edition of "Oh! Susanna"

"Oh! Susanna" is a song by Stephen Foster. It was Foster's first hit song. The song debuted in the Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 1847 and was published by W. C. Peters of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1848. It became the unofficial anthem of the California Gold Rush in 1849.[1]

Foster had little appreciation of the worth of his songs. His brother Morrison wrote: "While in Cincinnati [Stephen] wrote "Oh, Susanna", a song which soon became famous ... There was then in Cincinnati in the music business, W. C. Peters, whom Stephen had known in Pittsburgh, and who had taught music in our family ... [Stephen] made a present of "Old Uncle Ned" and "Oh, Susanna" to Mr. Peters. The latter made ten thousand dollars out of them, and established a music publishing house which became the largest in the West. The fame of these two songs went around the world, and thousands sang and played them who never heard the name of the author or whence they came."[2]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Emerson 1997, pp. 9, 127.
  2. Howard 1935, p. 137.

References[change | change source]

  • Emerson, Ken (1997), Doo dah! Stephen Foster and the rise of American popular culture, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-81010-7 
  • Howard, John Tasker (1935), Stephen Foster, America's Troubadour, New York: Tudor Publishing Company