Mighty Lak' a Rose

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Sheet music cover

"Mighty Lak' a Rose" is a 1901 song with lyrics by Frank Lebby Stanton and music by Ethelbert Nevin. The lyrics are written in an approximation of a black American accent as a "dialect song", and the title thus means "mighty like a rose". It is sung by a black woman called "Mammy" to a newborn blue-eyed white boy in her care. It was common at the time for white families to hire trusted black women to care for their children.

The dialect has been modified by some singers, such as Frank Sinatra. The tune became a Tin Pan Alley hit, with versions by George Alexander (1903), Marguerite Dunlap (1911), and Geraldine Farrar (1916),[1] and it was a perennial of pop music for generations.[2] Deanna Durbin sang it as a lullaby in the 1943 film The Amazing Mrs. Holliday.[3] Other notable recordings include those by Bing Crosby (recorded December 4, 1945),[4] Jane Powell, Lillian Nordica, Geraldine Farrar, Vincent Lopez, Paul Robeson, Art Tatum, Wilbur DeParis, Nina Simone, Petula Clark, John McCormack, Henry Burr, and Roger Whittaker. An orchestra arrangement was directed by Frank Chacksfield.

The song was Nevin's final composition, as he died on 17 February 1901 shortly after composing it. Stanton died in 1927.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 549. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  2. ^ Go to the Dixieland rendition of "Mighty Like a Rose" on YouTube as performed by the Left Bank Bearcats.
  3. ^ Deanna Durbin sings "Mighty like a Rose" on YouTube in the role of Ruth Kirke Holliday.
  4. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved July 28, 2017.