Carolina in the Morning

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"Carolina in the Morning" is a popular song with words by Gus Kahn and music by Walter Donaldson, first published in 1922 by Jerome H. Remick & Co.[1]

Sheet music cover with Ben Bernie & His Orchestra
Sheet music of the operatic edition of Carolina in the Morning.

The song debuted on Broadway in the elaborate (and risqué) musical revue The Passing Show of 1922 at the Winter Garden Theater by William Frawley[citation needed] (who later sang it in Paramount Pictures' original version of "The Lemon Drop Kid" in 1934, on an episode of I Love Lucy, and the season 3 episode Evening with a Star of My Three Sons, where it generated moderate attention). Vaudeville performers incorporated it into their acts and helped popularize it.

Notable recordings when the song was new were made by such artists as Marion Harris, Van & Schenck, and Al Jolson.

"Carolina in the Morning" gradually became a standard, being revived regularly as a popular song into the 1950s. Al Jolson's 1947 re-recording of the song outsold the original. Danny Winchell had a hit with his version in 1952.[2]

Other artists to have later successes with the song included Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, Dinah Shore, Judy Garland, and Danny Kaye. In 1957, Bill Haley & His Comets recorded a rock and roll version. It was also covered by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show.


The original 1922 lyrics (now public domain in the United States due to age).[1] The chorus remains well known, but the verses have generally been omitted from vocal performances since the early years of the song's popularity. The verses give a hint of melancholy to the song, while the chorus on its own can be an almost ecstatic reverie.

The popular chorus has a catchy melody, constructed more creatively by Walter Donaldson than most Tin Pan Alley popular songs of the era. Gus Kahn's clever lyrics use playful wording and subsidiary rhymes within lines in a manner found in some of the better novelty songs of the era, but seldom found in songs where the effect was romantic rather than comic.


Carolina in the Morning has been used in public celebrations in the states North Carolina and South Carolina. It is also frequently sung by collegiate a cappella groups. The song was also recorded by Brent Spiner for his 1991 album Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back. Among the more colorful renditions of this song was in the Warner Bros. cartoon Book Revue (1946) in which Daffy Duck sings a Russian-accented version, imitating a then famous Danny Kaye characterization, saying "feener", "Caroleena", etc., while wearing a zoot suit. Moreover, Warner Brothers utilized the song as part of the musical score of many of their Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoons. In 1951, Alfred Hitchcock chose a mechanical-orchestra version to play at an amusement park as a prelude to Miriam's murder in Strangers on a Train.

The opening line of the song was spoofed in the 1997 film Con Air when Cyrus "the Virus" Grissom sings, "Oh, nothing makes me sadder than the agent lost his bladder in the airplane!" It was also spoofed as the title of a book by Charles Osgood: Nothing Could Be Finer Than a Crisis That Is Minor in the Morning.


  1. ^ a b "Carolina in the Morning. Song.". Johns Hopkins University, The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  2. ^ Oermann, Robert K. (21 February 2011). "Radio Host Danny Winchell Passes". MusicRow. Retrieved 9 July 2015.