June 7, 1990 |
For more than three decades, Oklahoma, the state, and "Oklahoma," the song, have been inseparable. The two were partners in harmony; in 1953, their union was consummated when the state voted to make the song by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein 2d the official state song. Lately, though, instead of sweet music, there is some tough talk coming from Oklahoma, which recently announced a halt to royalty payments it was making to use the song because it discovered the state had legal rights to the song, too. Thus begins the saga of Oklahoma versus "Oklahoma.
January 25, 2001 |
It has a state bug and a state dinosaur, but New Jersey is one of the few states without an official state song. But that could change if the fourth graders at Centre City Elementary in Mantua have their way. They plan to resurrect a campaign to make a 40-year-old march New Jersey's official song. The march came within one signature of making it to the state list 29 years ago. The 75 youngsters launched their campaign to promote the short march by singing "I'm From New Jersey" at last night's meeting of the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
April 4, 1989 |
Once upon a time, there was a mighty state with its own official fish, flower, tree, insect, bird, dog and animal. (Apparently no one told the wise men and women who governed this state that dogs and birds are animals.) But it had no official song. Its people were forced to sing unofficial songs when they wanted to praise the state, which was steeped in glory and tradition. After 20 years of wrangling, however, this object of acclaim may finally have its own song.
December 1, 1990 |
In what many thought would end years of musical debate, Gov. Casey on Thursday signed into law an official state song of Pennsylvania. But two days later, the argument plays on. "We have a feeling the governor didn't know what he was signing. It is not worthy of the people of the state," said Julia Preston, a Philadelphia resident and member of the Pennsylvania Association for a State Song. She said the ditty, titled, appropriately, "Pennsylvania," sounds too much like "The Eyes of Texas" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad.
May 22, 1991 |
Aaron J. Bonawitz never wrote a number-one hit, but he wrote the tune for a number that is likely to outlast anything on the charts today: It's called "Pennsylvania," and it's the state song. Mr. Bonawitz, who with colleague Edward A. Khoury wrote cartons-full of songs over a career spanning seven decades, put the music to Khoury's lyrics for "Pennsylvania" back in 1966 - in plenty of time for the Bicentennial. But, by the time lawmakers got around to choosing the piece, the Bicentennial was 15 years past.
February 23, 1997 |
All together now, let's hear the first verse of our unforgettable state song, "Pennsylvania. " Go ahead, sing out. What? You don't know the words? Then sit and listen while those on the other side of the river belt out their immortal paean to New Jersey. Oops - never mind. New Jersey doesn't have a state song. Unlike Tennessee, which has six. Or Oklahoma, which lifted its song from a Broadway musical. Or Maryland, whose song is set to the tune of a Christmas carol, embarrassing Marylanders everywhere when it's played on TV at the Preakness.
January 8, 1991 |
Edward A. Khoury and Ron Bonner, a poet and a piano player, have been lacing words to music in Philadelphia since the 1930s. They collaborated with Bill Haley and the Comets in 1956 on the top-10 rocker "Hook, Line and Sinker": "Like a catfish in the river, like a flounder in the sea . . . when the right bait comes along it always makes a fool of me. I go a hook, line and sinker, a hook, line and sinker. " Before that, the duo slowed the tempo and swayed the scale for "At a Little Music Counter," which in 1939 won first prize out of 1,200 entries on Fibber McGee & Molly, a popular radio show.
November 11, 1986 |
Two of New Jersey's own unveiled their masterpieces yesterday. For superstar Bruce Springsteen, it was the release of his five-record album, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band Live - 1975-1985. For Joseph Calabrese, a 78-year-old retired salesman, it was the debut of "My New Jersey," a song he is touting for the official state song. Calabrese, strumming a slightly out-of-tune guitar, and Tony Masters, a retired Philadelphia club singer, stepped up to the microphones last night and gave the first public performance of "My New Jersey" before an enthusiastic audience - the Gloucester Township Council.
November 20, 1990 |
Pennsylvania has an official tree, plant, dog, animal, bird and who knows what else. But without a song, the state lagged behind 48 other states, where the people can sing, hum, whistle or toodle noble hymns to the greater glory of their commonwealths. That glaring lack is now about to remedied. A bill making a song called "Pennsylvania," a two-verse ditty, the official state song has been sent to Gov. Casey for his signature. The House voted 162-33 in favor of a Senate bill establishing the state song.
August 28, 2007
With all due respect to Joseph "Red" Mascara and his New Jersey song ("Oh, say, can we get an official state song?" Aug. 19), the song needs to be more specific as to why New Jersey is great. Attached is another attempt, sung to the easy-to-sing tune, "Away in a Manger. " The final stanza is just for comic relief. New Jersey, New Jersey: Our state's got it all, From cities to farmlands We proudly stand tall. We've Pine Barrens and seashores, Lakes, mountains, and streams, Quaint towns and lush gardens It's the state of our dreams.