Home! Sweet Home!

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This article is about the 19th century song. For other uses, see Home Sweet Home (disambiguation).
"Home, Sweet Home"
Home Sweet Home - Project Gutenberg eText 21566.png
Cover of the sheet music for a version published in 1914.
Composer Henry Bishop
Lyricist John Howard Payne
Language English

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Sheet music version.

"Home! Sweet Home!" (also known as "Home, Sweet Home") is a song that has remained well known for over 150 years. Adapted from American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne's 1823 opera Clari, or the Maid of Milan, the song's melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop with lyrics by Payne. The words are as follows:

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there,
Which seek thro' the world, is ne'er met elsewhere.
Home! Home!
Sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home
There's no place like home!

As soon as 1827 this song was quoted by Swedish composer Franz Berwald in his Konzertstück for Bassoon and Orchestra (middle section, marked Andante). Gaetano Donizetti used the theme in his Opera Anna Bolena (1830) Act 2, Scene 3 as part of Anna’s Mad Scene to underscore her longing for her childhood home. It is also used with Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs and in Alexandre Guilmant's Fantasy for organ Op. 43, the Fantaisie sur deux mélodies anglaises, both of which also use "Rule, Britannia!". In 1857 composer/pianist Sigismond Thalberg wrote a series of variations for piano (op. 72) on the theme of Home! Sweet Home!.

In 1909, it was featured[citation needed] in the silent film The House of Cards, an Edison Studios film.[1] In the particular scene, a frontier bar was hurriedly closed due to a fracas. A card reading "Play Home Sweet Home" was displayed, upon which an on-screen fiddler promptly supplied a pantomime of the song. This may imply a popular association of this song with the closing hour of drinking establishments.[citation needed]

The song was reputedly banned from being played in Union Army camps during the American Civil War for being too redolent of hearth and home and so likely to incite desertion.[2]

The song is famous in Japan as "Hanyū no Yado" ("埴生の宿"?) ("My Humble Cottage"). It has been used in such movies as The Burmese Harp[3] and Grave of the Fireflies. It is also used at Senri-Chūō Station on the Kita-Osaka Kyūkō Railway.

Popular culture[edit]

Key phrases from the song have been a cultural staple for several generations.

  • The very popular play, The Drunkard (1844), ends with a tableau of the entire company (except the villain) singing it, to the hero's flute accompaniment.
  • The song was very popular with troops on both sides of the American Civil War.
  • It was a particular favorite of President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, who requested it in an 1862 performance at the White House by opera singer Adelina Patti.
  • Needlework portraits of a house with the phrase "Home Sweet Home" have long been an icon.
  • The song was sung by Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, George "Spanky" McFarland, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas, and Eugene "Porky" Lee in the 1937 Our Gang (Little Rascals) short comedy Night 'n' Gales.
  • Oscar-winning composer-arranger Herbert Stothart uses the melody as a counterpoint to the strains of Harold Arlen’s “Over The Rainbow” in underscoring the closing scene of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
  • The song is played at the Christmas Ball in Meet Me in St. Louis as Esther (Judy Garland) dances with her grandfather.
  • Tom Lehrer's satire of the old southern United States, "I Wanna Go Back To Dixie" finishes with the line, "Be it ever so decadent, there's no place like home."
  • The song is featured in the film Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), when Jonathon first speaks with his Aunts.
  • Some of the dogs at the pound in Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp (1955) howl this song.
  • The song is beautifully sung in an episode of "The Adventures of Jim Bowie" titled "Home Sweet Home" The whole plot of the episode, first aired on January 31st, 1958 centers around Bowie trusting a gambler to sell tickets to a benefit for the actor/songwriter John Howard Payne.
  • The Thalberg version of the piece is played by the main character in the film The Getting of Wisdom (film) (1978), its florid style demonstrating her passionate nature.
  • The song is featured in the film Amityville II: The Possession (1982).
  • An instrumental version of the song was used as the theme music for the 1980s British comedy series No Place Like Home.
  • The melody was incorporated into the score of Billy Madison (1996).
  • The song earned longevity as a Christmas ballad when it was recorded by Glen Campbell in his 1968 Christmas album as "There's No Place Like Home". The lyric was re-written by Sammy Cahn and Gary Bruce.
  • "Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home" quoted in Walt Disney's "Summer Magic" July 7, 1963


  1. ^ The House of Cards at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Patrick Browne (2 January 2011). "Auld Lang Syne Banned". Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  3. ^ Tony Rayns (16 March 2007). "The Burmese Harp: Unknown Soldiers". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 

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