By George Gershwin & Irving Caesar
Despite all his later accomplishments, this career-making hit for Gershwin would remain the biggest hit of his entire life. Written on a train ride with Caesar one New York afternoon as a parody of Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home", it was introduced in the Broadway revue Demi-Tasse. But it wasn't until the legendary Al Jolson heard it played by Gershwin at a party and incorporated it into his show Sinbad that it really took off. The song wound up selling over a million copies of sheet music, and Jolson's recording was number one for nine weeks. The money Gershwin made from it allowed him to leave Tin Pan Alley and focus on an illustrious Broadway career.
I've been away from you a long time
I never thought I'd miss 'ya so
Somehow I feel, your love is real
Near you I wanna be.
The Birds are singing it is songtime
The banjos strumming soft and low
I know that you yearn for me too, Swanee you're calling me
Swanee - how I love ya, how I love ya
My dear old Swanee.
I'd give the world to be
Among the folks in D-I-X-I-E-ven 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!
Visceral Visionaries: The Cloisters, Vol. 2
8 months ago