Beautiful Dreamer, Stephen Foster, Americas First Folk Song Writer
"Beautiful Dreamer" was written by Stephen Foster just before his death in 1864 at age 37. The song became one of his most famous and most popular. However, as with the approximately 200 other songs that Foster wrote during his brief lifetime, he did not receive the recognition or financial reward that he deserved.
Stephen Foster was America's first great songwriter, yet he died with 38 cents in a leather poke and a scrap of paper on which he had written a bit of song lyric, "dear friends and gentle hearts."
Stephen Collins Foster was born near Pittsburgh on July 4, 1826, the same day that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died. Foster died in 1864 when he suffered a fall at home while weak from fever. The fall cut open his head and he died in New York's Bellevue Hospital shortly thereafter. Foster had been suffering from alcoholism for years prior to his accidental death.
Young Stephen was able to play tunes on the guitar at age two, and at age ten he performed popular comic songs with local boys. By age 18 he wrote blackface minstrel songs which were the popular folk music of the day. At age 21 he composed the minstrel song, "Oh! Susanna," which became a hit, resung, repeated, and whistled across the country. In fact it became the unofficial anthem of the California Gold Rush two years later.
Music publication was in its infancy in those days and music recording didn't even exist. Stephen Foster did not receive royalties or fees for the many publications or arrangements of "Oh! Susanna" over the next few years. Indeed, he gave away the rights to the song and never received a penny for it.
Over the next ten years Foster wrote many songs, including "The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)," "Camptown Races," "Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair," "Old Black Joe," "Nelly Bly," "Old Dog Tray," and "My Old Kentucky Home." Stephen Foster earned a little money by selling his songs outright, some for as little as one dollar. It's been said that his songwriting earned him about $20,000 during the 15 or so years of his songwriting career.
In 1935 Florida adopted "The Swanee River" as the official state song, though Stephen Foster never visited Florida nor saw the river. He chose "Swanee" because the two syllables fit the music he had written. Foster sold E.P.Christy of the "Christy Minstrels," a blackface minstrel show troupe, the authorship rights to "The Swanee River," a regrettable decision.
The song became a popular international folk tune and has been credited with starting the tourist industry in Florida. Beginning in the 1880's millions of people traveled to Florida to view the famous northern Florida river.
In 1928 Kentucky adopted "My Old Kentucky Home" as their official state song. In 1986 Kentucky changed the second line of the song, "'Tis summer, the darkies are gay;" to "'Tis summer, the people are gay;" for obvious reasons.
Because of the popularity of "My Old Kentucky Home" and "The Swanee River," many people have the impression that Stephen Foster was a southern gentleman. However, he visited the South on only one occasion, a steamboat trip to New Orleans in 1852.
Stephen Foster spent his life mostly in Pennsylvania and New York. His father, William Foster Sr., spent many years in politics, working for President Harrison and winning election to two terms as mayor of Allegheny, Pa.
Prior to the Civil War Stephen Foster helped James Buchanan become President by becoming the musical director of the Buchanan Glee Club and by writing musical pieces for the campaign effort.
During the Civil War Stephen Foster wrote about 70 songs, mostly patriotic war songs which sold poorly. During the war Foster's alcoholism deteriorated his health until his poverty-stricken death in 1864.
Two months after his death, Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer" was published in New York.
Beautiful Dreamer by Stephen Foster
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea
Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
Garry Gamber is a public school teacher and entrepreneur. He writes articles about real estate, health and nutrition, and internet dating services. He is the owner of http://www.Anchorage-Homes.com and http://www.TheDatingAdvisor.com.
The Butcher of Lima and Footprints to Mantaro Valley (Two Poems)
Footprints to Mantaro Valley(Peru; in English and Spanish)
Biography of Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Bronte (1816 ?1855) Novelist and Poet.
No one should have to beg or crawl before humanity. No one should have to scheme to procure philanthropy.
Four Poems: Harvest of Apoplectic Horses [Katrinas Pathway]
Four Poems: Katrina's Pathway
Song of the Great Zimbabwe, and Silver and Inca Blood [Poems and notes]
"Song of the Great Zimbabwe"
Mother, I Dont Mind The Pain
I am among those who know that one never recovers from the loss of one deeply loved. We come to accept the death and adjust our lives - rather begrudingly, but we do not recover, we survive. Somewhere in the grief process, we make the decision to survive and then we are emotionally enabled to build a different kind of relationship with our deceased loved one.
You can do and you can bewhatever you want.You have the power,and the right,to make the changes.
A Different Place...
I wish we had met 20 years ago...A different place, a different timewhen I actually had a chance for you to be mine...
Three Poems: Dona Leonors Revenge; The Old Moon; Common Sides [All in Spanish/all in English]
1) Doņa Leonor's Revenge [1627 AD]
Farewell to Lester Graybill
I never met a man, who could shake my hand, and make my heart feel like a hearth afire.
Two Poems: Black Poncho, and Spirits of de Copan [in English and Spanish]
Feelings, O How Glorious!
Sometimes we feel hard-pressed, Our backs against the wall; Sometimes we feel lightheaded, As if we are going to fall.
Ole Bulky Jeeps & Paper, Ink and Rain [two Peoms]
Ole Bulky Jeeps
Death & the Supernatural: Poetry/Five Poems
Mechanical Poetry - Part Three
Have you ever read the lyrics of a Simon and Garfunkle song? Pure poetry. Want to write poems like that? Start copying them. Let me explain.
Grandpas House & From Iraq with Love [Two Poems]
Grandpa's House[The ole Real House]
The Man Who Could Not Say Sorry For His Sins
Sorry would be a start.
The Dead God of Copan (in English and Spanish)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Discussion of How Do I Love Thee?
"How Do I Love Thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning was written in 1845 while she was being courted by the English poet, Robert Browning. The poem is also titled Sonnet XLIII from Sonnets From the Portuguese.
Arizona Blue--Gunfighter: The Wolves Nest [Chapter One of Seven: The North]
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|