Home > about > Podcasts >  Transcript

Oklahoma Memories

Official State Song

2010-03-22

Download audio

"Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Fairest daughter of the West, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, 'Tis the land I love the best"

That was the official state song of Oklahoma before Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the Broadway musical Oklahoma.

From the Oklahoma History Center, this is Oklahoma Memories. I'm Michael Dean.

When Oklahoma became a state, we didn't have an official state song. In 1935 Mrs. Harriet Parker Camden of Kingfisher wrote the music and words to a song she titled ""Oklahoma - A Toast."" The song became a local hit, so much so that the state legislature on March 26, 1935, named this song, the official song of the State of Oklahoma.

"I give you a land of sun and flowers, and summer a whole year long, I give you a land where the golden hours roll by to the mockingbird's song, Where the cotton blooms 'neath the southern sun, where the vintage hangs thick on the vine. A land whose story has just begun. This wonderful land of mine.""

Those are the voices of Mrs. Donovan Campbell, formerly Georgie Beyers, and Ed Brennan. The song was performed on a Washington D.C. radio station in 1941 as that station was saluting the State of Oklahoma.

Compare that song to this one:

"Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain, and the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain. Oklahoma, every night my honey lamb and I sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin' lazy circles in the sky. We know we belong to the land, and the land we belong to is grand! And when we say Yeeow A-yip-i-o-ee-ay, We're only sayin' You're doin' fine, Oklahoma! Oklahoma - O.K."

That is from the movie soundtrack Oklahoma featuring the voices of Gordon McRae and Shirley Jones. It was the first of many collaborations by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Based on the Lynn Riggs play ""Green Grow the Lilacs,""it was one of the longest running plays on Broadway and a very successful Hollywood musical. In 1953 a young state representative from McAlester, George Nigh, sponsored legislation to name that song, Oklahoma, as the official state song.

You can learn more Oklahoma and the movies by visiting the Oklahoma History Center on NE 23rd Street, just east of the state capitol in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Memories is a production of the Oklahoma History Center, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing our state's past. I'm Michael Dean.