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The state song of Washington is “Washington, My Home,” which was written by Helen Davis in 1950. Washington’s legislature passed a bill declaring the song the state’s official tune in 1959. This proclamation replaced the unofficial state song of Washington, Edmond Meany’s “Washington Beloved.”
“Washington, My Home” is codified as the state song of Washington in the Revised Code of Washington, Title 1, Chapter 20, Section 70. Law requires that all proceeds from the sale of any recording or performance of the song be placed in a general state fund. The copyright to the song is still owned by the estate of Helen Davis, but the state holds an exclusive license to its use and reproduction.
Davis was a resident of South Bend, Washington. A state senator from that town proposed her song to the legislature in early 1959 as a contender for the official state song of Washington. Both the house and the senate approved the motion, and the song became official by unanimous vote.
The song has two verses with one repeating chorus. Washington’s scenery, pace of life, and mountainous terrain all factor in to the lyrics. The title derives from the chorus, which proclaims “Washington my home; / Where ever I may roam; / This is my land, my native land, / Washington, my home.” Stuart Churchill provided the musical arrangement.
Davis’ song, despite being the official state song of Washington, is little known, even among the state’s most prominent residents. Public school children typically learn the state song alongside state emblems and state symbols in elementary school. The tune is sometimes played at official state events, but not with any regularity. Choirs and chorus groups are sometimes commissioned to sing the song at government gatherings, though this is rare.
In 1985, a group of rock music aficionados launched a nearly successful campaign to replace “Washington, My Home” with the Kingsmen’s 1965 version of “Louie Louie” as the state song of Washington. The Kingsmen were a popular rock band from nearby Portland, Oregon. A so-called “Louie Louie resolution” passed the state senate, but failed in the house. The legislature did declare April 12 as “official Louie Louie day,” however.
Again in early 2011, the state song found itself under attack when a basketball fan filed an initiative with the Secretary of State to change the song to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s rap number, “Not in Our House.” That song was the official song of Seattle’s former professional basketball team, the Seattle Supersonics. The Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008. According to the fan's initiative, the song would revert back to “Washington, My Home” if and when the team returned to the state.
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