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What Is the State Song of Oklahoma?

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  • Written By: Sandi Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2016
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The official state song of Oklahoma is the theme song to the Rogers and Hammerstein play of the same name. With lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein II and musical score composed by Richard Rogers, the song Oklahoma! was adopted as the official state song in 1953. Adapted from the play Green Grow the Lilacs, the Broadway musical production of Oklahoma! opened in 1943 and closed in 1948. While the musical production featured numerous songs depicting life in the Oklahoma Territory at the turn of the 20th century, the theme song Oklahoma! extolled the virtues of the state's agricultural industry and vast prairie land. As such, Title 25, Sections 94.1 through 94.3 of the Oklahoma state statutes, adopted May 11, 1953, name the Rogers and Hammerstein hit as the official state song of Oklahoma.

According to state Chapter 3, Title 25 statutes, which name the official state song of Oklahoma and its particulars, the words and music of Oklahoma! are both the official song and the anthem of the state. Further statutes, specifically statute 25-94.2, charges the state librarian with maintaining official documentation and a recording of the song. A separate section of the statutes — specifically state statute 25-94.3 — provides an official line-by-line, verse-by-verse record of the lyrics for the state song of Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma! is one of the few officially recognized state songs to have enjoyed a position on the Billboard music charts. Released as a commercial recording in 1955, the soundtrack including Oklahoma! preempted the release of a film adaptation of the Broadway musical. Billboard history shows the song hitting number one on the charts in September, 1955. For a consecutive four weeks, the official state song of Oklahoma maintained the top spot, followed by an additional 305 weeks further down the list. Certified as a double platinum album by the Recording Industry Association of America, Oklahoma! also enjoyed multiple Academy Awards in 1955.

Aside from Oklahoma! being the officially recognized state song of Oklahoma, four other songs enjoy official status in the statutes of the state of Oklahoma. Adopted in 1988, the song Faded Love is the official country song for Oklahoma. For younger residents, the state adopted Oklahoma, My Native Land as the official childrens' song. Folk song enthusiasts were rewarded in 2001 with the addition of Oklahoma Hills as the official folk song. Years 2009 and 2011 saw the introduction of Do You Realize? and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as first the rock and roll genre, and then the gospel genre's official state song of Oklahoma, respectively.

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ladyjane
Post 8

Whenever I think of Oklahoma, not only do I recall the movie but I always start humming the fight song for Oklahoma University. Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner. It has such a catchy rhyme to it. I used to live there in case you can't tell. There's nothing like Oklahoma pride. And the people are so nice and friendly there. Go Sooners!

BigManCar
Post 7

On a similar note, there was a guy petitioning to have the U.S. national anthem changed to "There she was, just a walking down the street" by Manfred Mann. This was about 15 years ago, and obviously it never went anywhere.

His reasoning was that the song was fun, you could dance to it, and everyone knew the words. Hard to argue there.

Personally, I thought it was a bit superficial for a national anthem, but I liked his thought process. We all take ourselves too seriously sometimes, and there are times you just need to laugh and have fun. Oklahoma has the right idea with this.

parkthekarma
Post 6

I wish my state had a fun song. We had to learn ours in grade school and while it had a definite message about how great our state is, it was very stiff and ceremonial. I have never heard anyone sing it voluntarily. I don't even know what it's called.

I think Oklahoma is on the right track. Their song is fun and very memorable, and it says a lot of good things about the state. Countless people walk around singing or whistling the song every day. You can't help but be happy when you hear the song. Every state could learn from that.

winslo2004
Post 5

I had no idea Oklahoma had both an official song and an anthem, and I particularly did not know that the two songs were one and the same. I kind of like it. The problem with a lot of anthems is that they may be quite powerful and moving, but they were written hundreds of years ago and they really don't speak to people today.

Oklahoma's song, on the other hand, is lighthearted and fun, and people recognize it immediately.

The only potentially better state song is "Georgia on My Mind" by Ray Charles. That is one beautiful song, and he sang it to perfection.

manykitties2
Post 4

It's interesting to me that Oklahoma has so many official songs, depending on the genre of music. I also feel that Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is an amazing gospel song, and it is nice to see it adopted by a state in such a way.

Does anyone have any songs relating to Oklahoma that they would like to see given official status in the state?

There are so many songs about Oklahoma it would be great if they could make a comprehensive list of songs that would really reach people who like many different genres. Can you imagine an official alternative song for Oklahoma?

popcorn
Post 3

The piece I always remember when I think of Oklahoma is the the Oklahoma State fight song which I have heard at a lot of local sporting events. The lyrics to Ride'em Cowboys are fun and easy to sing along with. Also, the music itself really gets a crowd pumped.

Oklahoma has a very rich history and while Oklahoma's state song is well known, I just don't feel like it is as rousing as the fight song. I suppose its upbeat tune and lyrics are suitable for just about anywhere, but I like to have a stronger beat to really get me cheering or motivated about something.

MrMoody
Post 2

@miriam98 - That’s neat. I don’t live there but I can appreciate Oklahoma’s rich tradition and heritage, both from my study of history and the little of it that I’ve seen in the movies.

I saw the Oklahoma state seal once, which contained a lot of symbolism that was representative of that tradition. If I recall there were pictures of Indians from various tribes and things like that.

Some of the pictures were of them working in the field and others were typical bow and arrow illustrations. Many native Americans live in Oklahoma and I’m glad that the state can help preserve their tradition while assimilating them into our culture as well.

miriam98
Post 1

I live in Oklahoma and love the Rogers and Hammerstein Oklahoma song. It’s a spritely, upbeat song about travelers migrating to Oklahoma.

It talks about the land, its farming, the weather and there are a lot of cheerful choruses praising the wonders of the state. You really have to live in the state to appreciate its unique character, especially the weather which can change drastically from one day to the next.

You may have heard the song if you’ve seen the Oklahoma musical. But even if you haven’t I would encourage you to listen to it online or on some video file sharing site. I think you’ll like it no matter where you live.

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