Miles-tones

A Few Things You Didn't Know About "Oh! Susanna"

On this day in 1847, legendary American songwriter Stephen Foster debuted the song "Oh! Susanna" to a crowd at the Andrews' Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "Who gives a tin Enchirito about something we sang in grade school?" you're shouting because you're a weird shouty person with a poor grasp of proper expletives. Well, you might be surprised to learn few things about the song.

For instance, you could argue that it was the first break out pop hit ever by an American songwriter. Initially, Foster only made about the equivalent of $2,000 today for composing the tune, mostly because 21 other musicians heard the song and copyrighted it under their own names because back in the 19th century it was actually considered weird to not be a flaming douchenozzle.

Eventually, though, Foster hooked up with the publishing firm Firth, Pond & Company and began earning two cents per copy sold. What is awesome about this is that the popularity of the song and the sweetness of the deal enabled Foster to become America's first fully professional songwriter.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner