Beautiful Ohio in Song

Marblehead lighthouse and keepers cottage in beautiful Ohio

I’ve long lamented that our beautiful state is lacking representation in the song catalog of our great nation. I mean the Mamas and the Papas were California Dreamin,’ Ray Charles had Georgia on his mind and don’t get me started on all the songs about New York and, for some reason, Alabama.

Where’s the love for Ohio? There have been a few over the years, but one has just come to my attention as a real contender for our state country song. But first, let’s take a look at the history of Ohio’s state songs.

Beautiful Ohio

It’s true, our state already has a song of its own. “Beautiful Ohio” was originally written in 1918 and the tune was composed by combining the melody of Beautiful Dreamer with Song of India. The song was adopted by the Ohio General Assembly in 1969.

Rides at the Ohio State Fair in beautiful Ohio at sunset.

In 1989 the words to the song were rewritten to be more reflective of the state’s attributes as opposed to the original subject of the song, which was two young lovers. The new adaptation of the song was accepted as the new song of our state in 1989.

Hang on Sloopy

If you’re an Ohio State fan, you are likely familiar with the song “Hang on Sloopy.” This song was written in 1964 and first played by the Ohio State University Marching Band (TBDBITL for all you Buckeye fans) in 1965. The song was so popular that the band played it at every game and over time it became the unofficial song of The Ohio State University. It’s usually played between the third and fourth quarters of home football games.

The Ohio State University marching band performs Hang on Sloopy at a Skull Session in St John Arena in Columbus, Ohio

In 1985, a columnist for the now-defunct Columbus Citizen-Journal crusaded to have the song named the official rock song for our state. Eventually the 116th Ohio General Assembly named Hang on Sloopy our official rock song.

Elle King and Ohio

Elle King is an interesting artist who walks the line between rock and country. Her family roots run deep in our state and she spent some of her childhood living near Jackson, Ohio.

Corn shocks in an Amish field in beautiful Ohio

Regrettably I haven’t listened to her entire catalog of music. This is mostly because I’ve been listening to the same Spotify playlists for the last five or six years. But I digress. I recently heard her song “Ohio” after noticing it on a friend’s Facebook account. Actually, I saw a live version of the song that she recently performed on a visit home to Jackson.

At that point, I looked up her song and quickly added it to my playlist. It’s catchy and does a good job of painting the rural Ohio experience that so many of us love.

The Case for Ohio’s Official Country Song

After a few listens I started looking into our official state song, thinking Ms. King’s version might be a good replacement. I listened to “Beautiful Ohio” and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. It was clearly written, the tune at least, during a different era and I couldn’t relate to it at all.

But then I looked at the state songs of the other 49 states. I found most of them are similar to ours in that they were written in another time and let’s just say, not many people are listening to them. So, I guess there’s a case for keeping our state song as is.

But there’s room for another song. I mean, several states have multiple state songs. Tennessee actually has 12 state songs and our own Ohio has two. There’s certainly room for another state song of a different genre.

Making a State Song

How do we add Ms. King’s “Ohio” to our list of state songs, as the official country song? I’m not exactly sure, but I think we start by writing letters to our state representative.

The Corkscrew roller coaster at Cedar Point in beautiful Ohio.

Visit On the home page, you can put in your address and that will bring up a map. Find where you live on the map and click on or touch the screen. Click on your representative, then click “contact.” From there you can send a message to your representative to try to make “Ohio” the state song of, well, Ohio. And if you prefer to write a physical letter, you’ll find the office mailing address on that link as well.

If you love the song and think it’s a good representation of our state, drop a line to your representative. Pass on the message to your friends, let’s get the word out!


Thanks for FindingOhio with us today, even though today’s article is just a bit different. We try to cover all things Ohio. Can’t get enough of our wonderful state? Try some delicious Ohio recipes, like Johnny Marzetti, which got its start in our state capital. Looking for some Ohio history? Check out our history section or our story on the blizzard of ‘78. Interested in Ohio businesses? Consider our article and making a visit to Jungle Jim’s near Cincinnati.

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