Detroit’s Song

The Detroit Schottisch, 1854

The Detroit Schottisch, 1854

We all know “New York, New York” and “Sweet Home Chicago”, but does Detroit have its own quintessential anthem? Browsing through the many hundreds of sheet music titles in our online digital collection, you will come across dozens of pieces that have been written about the city through the years. Most were probably published with the hopes of becoming that one song to endure as the city’s calling card. It seems that each generation takes a stab at composing a memorable melody about Detroit, but none have yet to stick. Which of these do you think we should revive?

The Detroit, 1886

The Detroit, 1886

 

 

 

 

Our earliest examples are instrumentals, played to accompany dances in the 1850s. The first to have lyrics was “Detroit”, composed in 1899. Several songs were written for events: “Hang Your Hat in Detroit” welcomed the 1910 Elks Grand Lodge Reunion, “A Real, Live, Regular Town” promoted Cadillaqua, and “It’s Detroit” and “Detroit” went along with the city’s 250th birthday.
Here’s a look at some of the contenders. To see images of all the pages, find each one in the digital collection. Which gets your vote? – D.S.

Hang Your Hat in Detroit, 1910

Hang Your Hat in Detroit, 1910

Detroit Town is a Good Old Town, 1916

Detroit Town is a Good Old Town, 1916

Detroit U.S.A., 1967

Detroit U.S.A., 1967

Song of Detroit, The City With a Heart, 1950

Song of Detroit, The City With a Heart, 1950

Detroit, 1951

Detroit, 1951

Detroit, 1899

Detroit, 1899

Greater Detroit, 1910

Greater Detroit, 1910

Song of Detroit, 1931

Song of Detroit, 1931

Detroit: Always R’arin’ To Go, 1926 “De-troit, De-troit, you’re in an aw-ful plight, You’re grow-ing out of all your pant-ies al-most o-ver night.”

Detroit: Always R’arin’ To Go, 1926
“De-troit, De-troit, you’re in an aw-ful plight, You’re grow-ing out of all your pant-ies al-most o-ver night.”

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