Way Down Yonder in New Orleans

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"Way Down Yonder in New Orleans"
1922 sheet music cover with a photo of singer Blossom Seeley
Published 1922
Writer(s) Joe Turner Layton, Henry Creamer

"Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" is a popular song with music by John Turner Layton, Jr. and lyrics by Henry Creamer. First published in 1922, it was advertised by Creamer and Layton as "A Southern Song, without A Mammy, A Mule, Or A Moon", a dig at some of the Tin Pan Alley clichés of the era.

It was performed at The Winter Garden Theater in New York in Act 2 of the Broadway musical production Spice of 1922.[1] The original 1922 sheet music featured a drawing of a girl on a spice bottle on the front cover, referring to the musical in which the song eventually made its public debut.[2]

The song has been recorded numerous times from the early 1920s into the 21st century. Layton himself recorded the song as part of the duo Layton & Johnstone in 1927. Roger Wolfe Kahn and His Orchestra played the song in their 1932 film short The Yacht Party. Notable uses have included being the theme song for the radio program This Is Jazz in the 1940s. One of the many in the swing era was recorded by The Andrews Sisters and Al Jolson. The song was revived successfully in 1953 by Frankie Laine and Jo Stafford. According to Dick Biondi, Freddy Cannon's 1959 version became the first record in the rock era to have a full brass section. It reached number 3 on the Billboard chart in early 1960. The song was performed by Harry Connick Jr. in a September 2005 NBC Katrina fundraiser, "A Concert For Hurricane Relief", that raised over $50 million.[3]

The song was also covered in 1963 by Jan & Dean on their album, Surf City And Other Swingin' Cities and by Bing Crosby on his 1975 album A Southern Memoir.


The song tells of New Orleans, the destination which the singer desires. The chorus is:

Way down yonder in New Orleans
In the land of dreamy scenes
There's a garden of Eden
That's what I mean,
Creole babies with flashing eyes
Softly whisper with tender sighs— Stop!
Oh! won't you give your lady fair a little smile, Stop!
You bet your life you'll linger there— a little while
There is heaven right here on earth
With those beautiful queens,
Way down yonder in New Orleans[4]

Second chorus ending:

They've got angels right here on earth
Wearing little blue jeans,
Way down yonder in New Orleans.[4]


  1. ^ Internet Broadway Database
  2. ^ The Book of World-famous Music by James J. Fuld
  3. ^ "Television Appearances by New Orleans Music Artists - September 2005". Satchmo.com. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  4. ^ a b Layton, "Way Down Yonder In New Orleans".


  • Layton, John Turner; Creamer, Henry. "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" (sheet music). New York: Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. (1922).