ST. LOUIS – Missouri, has an official state song called “The Missouri Waltz,” which was adopted on June 30, 1949. This song gained popularity during Harry Truman’s presidency in 1945 when he played it on the piano at the White House, making it more popular. Truman, however, declined to record a performance of the song.

Former American president Harry Truman (1884 – 1972) sits and smiles as he plays the piano in his home for an episode of the CBS celebrity interview program ‘Person to Person,’ Independence, Missouri, May 27, 1955. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Historians believe that the origins of the “Missouri Waltz” can be traced back to 1912 when it was composed by a man named Frederic Knight Logan from Oskaloosa, Iowa. Approximately 1,000 copies were published in Chicago and distributed to various music dealers and orchestra leaders.

Nevertheless, the song underwent revisions due to certain lyrics being deemed racist before it was officially designated as the state song on June 30, 1949.

If you want to hear Johnny Cash sing the song, check out this link.

The Missouri Waltz lyrics are: 

Hush-a-bye, ma baby, slumbertime is comin’ soon; 
Rest yo’ head upon my breast while Mommy hums a tune; 
The sandman is callin’ where shadows are fallin’, 
While the soft breezes sigh as in days long gone by. 

Way down in Missouri where I heard this melody, 
When I was a little child upon my Mommy’s knee; 
The old folks were hummin’; their banjos were strummin’; 
So sweet and low. 

Strum, strum, strum, strum, strum, 
Seems I hear those banjos playin’ once again, 
Hum, hum, hum, hum, hum, 
That same old plaintive strain. 

Hear that mournful melody, 
It just haunts you the whole day long, 
And you wander in dreams back to Dixie, it seems, 
When you hear that old time song. 

Hush-a-bye ma baby, go to sleep on Mommy’s knee, 
Journey back to Dixieland in dreams again with me; 
It seems like your Mommy is there once again, 
And the old folks were strummin’ that same old refrain. 

Way down in Missouri where I learned this lullaby, 
When the stars were blinkin’ and the moon was climbin’ high, 
Seems I hear voices low, as in days long ago, 
Singin’ hush-a-bye. 

Should we consider changing Missouri’s state song?

St. Louis boasts a rich musical heritage with at least fifteen famous musicians, including Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Josephine Baker, and, of course, Nelly, to name just a few.

We recently asked our FOX2 viewers to suggest potential replacements for the state song, and someone recommended ‘Country Grammar’ by Nelly. In that song, Nelly proudly declares, ‘I’m from the Lou, and I’m proud,’ and the YouTube video even showcases locations in St. Louis.

If ‘Country Grammar’ isn’t the right fit, Nelly also has a song called ‘St. Louie,’ in which he shares his perspective on the city. And let’s not forget ‘Hot in Herre,’ which features the St. Louis Arch in its music video.