I Love You, California

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ILoveYouCalif.jpg

I Love You, California (1913) is the official state song of California. The lyrics were written by Francis Bernard Silverwood (1863-1924), a Los Angeles clothier, and the words were subsequently put to music by Abraham Franklin Frankenstein (1873-1934), then conductor of the Orpheum Theatre Orchestra. The production was published by Hatch & Loveland, Music Printers, Los Angeles, California,[1] and copyrighted by F.B. Silverwood in 1913. It was the official song of expositions held in San Francisco and San Diego in 1915.

Premiere[edit]

Cal State Song Mary Garden.jpg

Later in 1913, the song was introduced by opera star Mary Garden, associated with the Chicago Grand Opera at that time. "Mary Garden stopped Grand Opera to make this California song famous," read the notices virtually ensuring the popularity and success of the new song. The renowned soprano wrote on stationery from the Hotel Alexandria in Los Angeles,

Dear Mr. Silverwood:
I am proud to be the first to sing your most beautiful song in public — and I hope for it a wonderful success here in California and everywhere!
Sincerely,
Mary Garden

Played aboard the SS Ancon[edit]

Steamship Ancon sometime before 1895 (Source: E.W. Wright, ed., Lewis & Dryden Marine History of the Pacific Northwest, Lewis & Dryden Printing Co., Portland, 1895)

I Love You, California, was played aboard the steamship Ancon, which on August 14, 1914, became the first merchant ship to pass through the Panama Canal.

State legislative designation[edit]

In 1951, the State Legislature passed a resolution designating it as California's state song. California Government Code section 421.7 states, "I Love You, California, a song published in 1913 with lyrics by F.B. Silverwood and music by A.F. Frankenstein, is an official state song."[2]

In 1987, I Love You, California became the official state song by law.[3]

Lyrics[edit]

I Love You, California
I.
I love you, California, you're the greatest state of all.
I love you in the winter, summer, spring and in the fall.
I love your fertile valleys; your dear mountains I adore.
I love your grand old ocean and I love her rugged shore.
Chorus
When the snow crowned Golden Sierras
Keep their watch o'er the valleys bloom,
It is there I would be in our land by the sea,
Every breeze bearing rich perfume.
It is here nature gives of her rarest. It is Home Sweet Home to me,
And I know when I die I shall breathe my last sigh
For my sunny California.
II.
I love your red-wood forests - love your fields of yellow grain.
I love your summer breezes and I love your winter rain.
I love you, land of flowers; land of honey, fruit and wine.
I love you, California; you have won this heart of mine.
III.
I love your old gray Missions - love your vineyards stretching far.
I love you, California, with your Golden Gate ajar.
I love your purple sun-sets, love your skies of azure blue.
I love you, California; I just can't help loving you.
IV.
I love you, Catalina, you are very dear to me.
I love you, Tamalpais, and I love Yosemite.
I love you, Land of Sunshine, half your beauties are untold.
I loved you in my childhood, and I'll love you when I'm old.

It is most heard when played at funerals of former Governors of California, most recently at the funeral of Ronald Reagan.

At the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as Governor of California, on January 2, 1967, it was sung by the University of California, Davis, All-Male Marching Band. Governor Reagan, apparently familiar with the then little known song, quipped, "Thanks for singing a song old enough to make me feel young!"[4]

Commercial use[edit]

In late 2012, Jeep began running a TV commercial in California, with I Love You, California as the sound track and visuals showing the California state flower, California flag, and other California icons.[1]


It has also been used by public television station KCET in Los Angeles as the theme for various programs hosted by Huell Howser.

Other non-official state songs[edit]

During the years following, several attempts were made to make other songs the official state song, such as:

  • California, Sweet Homeland of Mine — In 1921, Lynden Ellsworth Behymer (1862-1947), impresario, and Bessie Bartlett Frankel (Mrs. Cecil Frankel) (1884-1959), donated a sum of money to the California Federation of Music Clubs to hold a contest for lyrics to a state song "of real value." The judges were Benjamin Franklin Field (1868-1960), chairman of the federation and chairman of the committee of judges, Grace Atherton Dennen (1874-1927), editor and publisher of The Lyric West,[5] and Blanche Robinson (Mrs. Martin Hennion Robinson) (née Williams; 1883-1969), composer. The original deadline, October 1, 1921, was extended to December 31, 1921 and the prize money was increased to $100.[6] The judges selected Mary Lennox of San Francisco on January 17, 1922, as the winner:
California, Sweet Homeland of Mine
You're the land at the foot of the rainbow,
Where the great pot of treasure was spilled
That is fashioned anew by the sunshine and dew,
Into marvels of bright hopes fulfilled;
You're land where each fair trail leads homeward,
'Neath the palm of the sheltering pine
California, sweet homeland of mine.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hatch & Loveland was founded in 1911 by Charles Wesley Hatch (1885- ) and Charles F. Loveland
  2. ^ "Government Code Section 421.7". California Government Code. State of California. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Jepsen, Chris (February 2013). "100 Years of Loving California". County Courier (Orange County Historical Society) 43 (2): 3. 
  4. ^ personal reminiscence of a former Band member.
  5. ^ The Lyric West (a poetry magazine, published monthly, in existence from 1921 to 1927), Los Angeles & San Francisco
  6. ^ Offering Prize for State Song, Oakland Tribune, Sect B, pg 5, Dec. 11, 1921
  7. ^ Words for State Song are Chosen, Los Angeles Times, Sect III, pg 29, Jan 22, 1922