Oh! Susanna

Oh! Susanna
"Oh! Susanna"
Oh! Susanna 1.jpg
Original sheet music
Music by Stephen Foster
Lyrics by Stephen Foster
Published Cincinnati: W. E. Peters & Co. (1848)
Language English
Form Strophic with chorus

"Oh! Susanna" is a minstrel song by Stephen Foster (1826-1864). It was published by W. C. Peters & Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1848.[1] The song was introduced by a local quintette at a concert in Andrews' Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 11, 1847. Foster was said to have written the song for his men's social club.[2] The name Susannah may refer to Foster's deceased sister Charlotte, whose middle name was Susannah.[3]. Glenn Weiser suggests the song was influenced by an existing work, "Rose of Alabama" (1846), with which it shares some similarities in lyrical theme and musical structure.[4]

"The Banjo Song" and "Venus"

In 1963, the Big 3 recorded a new arrangement of the song as "The Banjo Song". The Dutch band, Shocking Blue, in turn, adopted the new arrangement with completely different lyrics for their 1969 hit "Venus".


  1. ^ "Oh! Susanna". 2008. http://www.stephen-foster-songs.de/foster021.htm. Retrieved September 2011. 
  2. ^ Richard Jackson. 1974. Stephen Foster song book: original sheet music of 40 songs. Courier Dover Press. p. 177.
  3. ^ Michael Saffle. 2000. Perspectives on American music, 1900-1950 Taylor & Francis. p. 382.
  4. ^ "Oh! Susanna by Stephen Foster - Likely Origins". Celticguitarmusic.com. http://www.celticguitarmusic.com/Foster.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 

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