Beautiful Ohio Information

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"Beautiful Ohio" is the official song of the U.S. State of Ohio. [1]


The first lyrics were written in 1918 by Ballard MacDonald and the music by Robert A. "Bobo" King, who used the pseudonym Mary Earl. [2] The melody is partly based on " Song of India" by Rimsky-Korsakov and " Beautiful Dreamer" by Stephen Foster. The original 1918 publication also featured a second obbligato voice using the tune Love's Old Sweet Song. [3]

A bill passed by the Ohio General Assembly in 1969 made it the state's official song, and in 1989 adopted an amendment to section 5.09 of the Ohio Revised Code which changed the original words to a new set, written by Wilbert McBride. [4]

"Beautiful Ohio" was originally written as a love song by Ballard MacDonald whose lyrics depict a "paradise of love divine." When McBride rewrote the lyrics for the 1989 version, he gave a much more accurate portrayal of Ohio by including things such as the state's cities and factories rather than two imaginary lovers. [5]


Popular versions in 1919 were by: [6]

Jo Stafford included the song on her 1966 album Do I Hear a Waltz?.

Modern use

Though "Beautiful Ohio" was originally written as a waltz, one version of the song is a march, arranged by Richard Heine. It is commonly performed by The Ohio State University Marching Band when traveling, including their appearance in the 2005 Inaugural Parade of President George W. Bush [7] and at the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama. [8]

The original waltz version of the song is performed by the All Ohio State Fair Band (which holds shows multiple times a day during the Ohio State Fair) at the beginning of every performance.

The original waltz version of the song has been played at the end of cavern tours at Ohio Caverns in West Liberty, Ohio since 1928.

Original lyrics

Long, long time ago
Someone I know
Had a little red canoe,
In it room for only two.
Love found its start
Then in my heart,
And like a flower grew.


Drifting with the current down a moonlit stream,
While above the Heavens in their glory gleam,
And the stars on high
Twinkle in the sky,
Seeming in a paradise of love divine,
Dreaming of a pair of eyes that looked in mine.
Beautiful Ohio, in dreams again I see
Visions of what used to be. [9]

1989 lyrics

I sailed away;
Wandered afar;
Crossed the mighty restless sea;
Looked for where I ought to be.
Cities so grand, mountains above,
Led to this land I love.


Beautiful Ohio, where the golden grain
Dwarf the lovely flowers in the summer rain.
Cities rising high, silhouette the sky.
Freedom is supreme in this majestic land;
Mighty factories seem to hum a tune, so grand.
Beautiful Ohio, thy wonders are in view,
Land where my dreams all come true!
[9] [10]


  1. ^ From list of U.S. "official" state songs [1]
  2. ^ Ohio History Central web site [2]
  3. ^ Available on [3]
  4. ^ [4]
  5. ^ Ohio History Central web site [5]
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 476. ISBN  0-89820-083-0.
  7. ^ Script Ohio, Evolution. Kappa Kappa Psi, Eta Chapter, 2004
  8. ^ More information on the band's use of the song. [6]
  9. ^ 1989 Ohio law [7]
  10. ^ Ohio History Central [8]

External links