From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Swanee  (1919) 
by George Gershwin (music) and Irving Caesar (lyrics)
Al Jolson's hit 1920 recording. (help | file info or download)
Cover page to the sheet music

I've been away from you a long time Irving Caesar George Gershwin Swanee 1.jpg Al Jolson, George Gershwin, Irving Caesar, Swanee 1920.ogg


I've been away from you a long time
I never thought I'd miss you so
Somehow I feel
Your love was real
Near you I long to be
The birds are singing It is songtime[1]
The banjos strummin' soft and low
I know that you
Yearn for me too
Swanee You're calling me


How I love you
How I love you
My dear old Swanee
I'd give the world to be
Among the folks in D-I-X-I-Even know my
Waiting for me
Praying for me
Down by the Swanee
The folks up north will see me no more
When I go to the Swanee shore


I'll be happy
I'll be happy

[Trio[3] (sung twice)]

I am coming back to Swanee
I love the old folks at home[4]


  1. The capitalisation of "it" may mean this should be punctuated as The birds are singing, "It is songtime."
  2. A nursemaid, usually black. Increasingly stereotyped portrayals of mammys led to the term being considered offensive now, but this was probably not intended in this song.
  3. A technical term for the composition style of the piano part. There remains only one singer
  4. A reference, in both lyrics and music, to the Stephen Foster song "The Old Folks at Home", which begins "Way down upon the Swanee River". This song is largely a parody of that one.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in 1919, before the cutoff of January 1, 1928.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1996, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 26 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

Public domainPublic domainfalsefalse