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Special Collections Online at The University of Tennessee

Tennessee Waltz Lead Sheet Manuscript

 Collection
Identifier: AR-0758

The 1946 Tennessee Waltz original sheet music, or lead sheet, is handwritten on a piece of music paper with preprinted staffs. The manuscript bears the crossed-out and penciled-in substitutions for lyrics in the bridge. Pee Wee King noted to his biographers that he and Redd Stewart changed the bridge of the original composition after their publisher, Fred Rose, made suggestions.

Dates

  • 1946 December

Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript and University Archives collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 24 hours is needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Tennessee Waltz is a popular country music song written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King in December 1946. The song, made famous by Patti Page in 1950, would later become one of Tennessee’s official state songs. The manuscript is a handwritten lead sheet composed on a piece of music paper and includes penciled-in substitutions for lyrics in the bridge.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Tennessee Waltz is a popular country music song written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King in December 1946. The song, made famous by singer Patti Page in 1950, would later become one of Tennessee’s official state songs, be recorded by more than 500 musical artists, and sell more than 10 million copies.

Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart wrote Tennessee Waltz on the back of a large matchbox while traveling with their entertainment troupe, the Golden West Cowboys, to Nashville from a show in Texas. Upon returning to Nashville, King and Stewart transferred the song from the matchbox onto a sheet of music paper and delivered it to music publisher Fred Rose. The Golden West Cowboys recorded and released the song in 1948.

Custodial History

From Tennessee Today: The donors purchased the manuscript from Joyce Collins Ball. Ball and her sister, Darlene, were members of the Collins Sisters and performed with the Golden West Cowboys entertainment troupe when the song was written. From Knoxville News Sentinel: The donors purchased the manuscript from the estate of Redd Stewart.

Acquisition Note

This sheet music was donated to the University of Tennessee by Lamar and Honey Alexander; Ashley and Lew Conner; Denise and Steve Smith; and Colleen and Ted Welch in September 2013.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480