Sheet music:Swanee


The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Since the middle of the 19th century, Americans purchased pianos in increasing numbers. Families and friends gathered around the piano for evenings of musical fun. Piano players needed sheet music to learn the latest songs and publishers quickly printed everyone's favorite pieces, first in black and white and later with detailed chromolithographed color covers. The advent of radio and even television simply increased public awareness of hit songs, and the production of sheet music still grew. Eventually, use of sheet music lessened along with the popularity of home pianos in the middle and later 20th century. Radio, phonographs, and personal listening devices began to replace the piano in the parlor.Famed composer George Gershwin wrote "Swanee" in 1919. However, it was singer and actor Al Jolson who popularized the piece with his 1920 performance in the Broadway show "Sinbad", held at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City. Over the course of his career, Jolson performed "Swanee" in several movies and made multiple recordings of the hit song.

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  • Title: Sheet music:Swanee
  • Date Created: 1919
  • Location: USA
  • Subject Keywords: music, song
  • Type: Entertainment and Music
  • Medium: printed paper, chromolithograph
  • Object ID: 111.5349
  • Credit Line: Gift of Rita P. Kuder