1864 — Composer Stephen Foster dies

Stephen Foster has been widely hailed as the father of American Music. In the nineteenth century, he was one of the greatest of American composers of popular music – and many of his songs are still widely known and performed today. Foster wrote such classics as “Camptown Races”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”, “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Oh! Susanna”.

Foster was only 37 when died, the result of his impoverishment: after a persistent fever, he collapsed, banging his head against a basin and gouging it quite badly. He was admitted to hospital but died three days later. God only knows how much more he would have written had he lived, how many American classics we were denied by his early demise.

Referenced in:
Ghost Of Stephen Foster — Squirrel Nut Zippers

1850 – “Camptown Races” first published

Possibly the best known song in the minstrel style, “De Camptown Races, or Gwine to Run All Night” was composed by Stephen Foster, who also wrote numerous other classics, notably “Beautiful Dreamer”, “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Oh! Susanna”. It was written to be performed either solo or as an ensemble, with all the kinds of boasting and tall tale telling that were a characteristic of that form of entertainment.

It is fun, upbeat song that sings of having a good time and invites the audience to join in – both with the singing and the good times. And it has rarely been performed as hysterically well as it was in “Blazing Saddles.”

Referenced in:

Ghost of Stephen Foster — Squirrel Nut Zippers