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The song M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I was written by Bert Hanlon and Ben Ryan, with music by Harry Tierney. It was written by Ben Ryan for Frances White, who introduced it in the Florenz Ziegfeld revue Midnight Frolics in 1916. It was used again two years later in a revue, Hitchy-Koo.

The inspiration for the song probably did not result from the difficulty of spelling the name of the river and the state, but rather from the fun of saying "M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I." As a result of the song's popularity, almost everybody can spell Mississippi correctly.[citation needed]