My Homeland Tennessee: A Research Guide to Songs about Tennessee

Tennessee State Songs and Anthems

"Tennessee Waltz"

Listen to "Tennessee Waltz"
performed by Alicia DeCordova

Label of Tico Recording Company's recording of Tennessee Waltz by Alicia DeCordova(REC-004047)

"Tennessee Waltz" is surely the most popular, most recorded, and most widely known of the state's official state songs. It was written in 1946 by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart during a drive to Nashville for an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. King and Stewart had heard Bill Monroe's "Kentucky Waltz" on the radio and were inspired to try their hand at a "Tennessee Waltz." Since the song's first release by Pee Wee King and His Golden West Cowboys in 1948, "Tennessee Waltz" has been recorded over three hundred times in styles as diverse as rhythm and blues, pop, jazz, bolero,rock, and even in a Yiddish parody version.The song enjoyed great popularity outside of the U.S. and one could even find sheet music for the waltz in Japan.

Listen to "Tennessee Freilach"
performed by Soeurele the Chanteuse

Label of Jubilee Record's recording of Tennessee Freilach by Soeurele the Chanteuse (REC-003591)

Patti Page’s recording of the song in 1951 was a colossal hit, leading Billboard Magazine to state in a front-page article in its May 19 issue from that year that “Tennessee Waltz” was “possibly the biggest song in the history of the modern pop song business.” The song has since become a favorite of university marching bands, including Middle Tennessee State University’s Band of Blue. “Tennessee Waltz” was adopted as the fourth state song of Tennessee in 1965.

Japanese version of Tennessee Waltz (000417-TENN) Tennessee Waltz (000407-TENN.jpg)

Tennessee Waltz (000415-TENN.jpg)

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