Surprising Facts About the Song 'Dixie'.

Some years back, I saw this country singer do a tender, doleful rendition of Dixie, at a concert. It might have been at political event, it’s been so long, I don’t even remember. (I don’t even remember performers name. It was around the 1988 presidential election [for those of you old enough to remember that]. So a lot has happened, since then.)

Anyways, the performer actually made a surprising mistake, of sorts at least. He treated the song like it was a tender, patriotic song for the South. Actually, it was originally a minstrel song, performed by people in black face. Yes, it is kind of racist. And it was always played in fast, comical fashion. It was for this reason, it was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite song, in fact (he probably had depression, you know).

Anyways, as I just pointed out, it was meant to be funny, not tender and solemn. So it really has very little to do with Southern pride.

Also interesting, the song’s creator supported the North, during the Civil War.

Anyone else have any interesting tidbits about this song, or any other from the Civil War, for that matter? I love it when the irony of these things is suddenly revealed.


Link to original lyrics on the Mudcat cafe here.

I think there is an incident right after the end of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln told an audience he was very fond of the song “Dixie”. He said he had talked it over with General Grant and since Lee had surrendered at Appamattox that the Union now had possession of “Dixie” as a spoil of war. So Lincoln had the band play it.

On Civil War songs William Sherman grew to hate “Marching Through Georgia” that was always played in his presence. Grant once said he only knew two songs: one was “Yankee Doodle” and the other one wasn’t.

I wish I was in Dixie. Or her sister, Loretta, for that matter.

President Carter used to wince when a band “honored” him by playing “Marching Through Georgia”. Apparently most band are unaware of its history.

I remember when the Marine Band decided to play “The Liberty Bell” at Bill Clinton’s inauguration, unaware of its most famous use (you’ll pick it up in ten seconds).

Maybe they were considering what the definition of “it’s” is.

I don’t get it about the Liberty Bell March. Dixie’s composer was from Ohio, not a southerner.

Perhaps seeing it played with the well known graphics will help:

I know Sousa better than Monty Python. But I did wonder whether Bennie Hill had used it in a sketch*?*

Not only that, but when he was a Cadet at Annapolis the upperclassmen tried to get him to sing it-- which is about like getting someone who is Jewish to sing the Horst Wessel Song. Carter asked, “Don’t they know that ‘Marching Through Georgia’ is NOT a Southern song?” And he never did sing it.

I would dispute that his was any sort of mistake. Sure, it was originally a minstrel song, but it also makes a tender and wistful ballad. Artistic license.

I don’t get it. Are you trying to correct the spelling of “its,” which is fine in this case? :confused:

Benny Hill is associated with “Yakety Sax.”

If only the Marine Band had welcomed Bill Clinton with a rousing rendition of Yakety Sax…

It would work only if both Monica and Hillary were there too. :smiley:

There were many different versions of Dixie in use by both sides.
Here’s Tennessee Ernie Ford singing an alternate version sung by southerners.
Here’s Tennessee Ernie Ford singing an alternate version sung by the Union (“Way down south in the land of traitors/rattlesnakes and alligators/away…”).

The theater where the song was supposedly first transcribed and performed was in Montgomery, AL (where I live). It collapsed while being renovated two years ago and has been deemed irreparable. (John Wilkes Booth and Oscar Wilde also performed in that theater.)

The single word “it’s” is associated with the march. See **Omar Little’s **link (where it’s unfortunately somewhat obscured by the laugh track).

Did you see how The Three Stooges performed it in “Uncivil Warriors”? :smiley: