Pennsylvania History
Liberty Bell Historical Painting ./AP Photo

The Liberty Bell is removed to Allentown, Pa., for safekeeping before the British occupation of Philadelphia, 1777.

May 11, 2016

Did you know Pennsylvania has an official state song?

It does, and there were plenty of attempts to write it

The gang from "The Preston and Steve Show" on 93.3 WMMR spent a segment discussing state symbols Tuesday morning, and the conversation eventually led to Pennsylvania's state song. Naturally, the segment quickly went off the rails, with host Steve Morrison penning his own rendition:

Eventually, the show got around to talking about the state's real anthem. Now, you may be wondering, "Pennsylvania has a state song?"

It does, but it hasn't been around for long. Former state Rep. Frank L. Oliver, a Philadelphia Democrat, introduced the bill to make "Pennsylvania," written by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner, official back in 1990. Then-Gov. Robert Casey, father of current U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., signed the bill into law, making the all-too-appropriately-named tune an official state symbol.

It's not heard often, as PennLive pointed out last year when it played during Gov. Tom Wolf's inauguration. If you're entirely unfamiliar, you can check out the lyrics here, and you can listen to "Pennsylvania" below:

"Pennsylvania," as obscure as it may seem now, apparently wasn’t at the time it was adopted. A quick search through the state Legislature's database shows there were numerous proposals for other songs to represent Pennsylvania.

And let's just say one thing: State lawmakers shouldn't quit their day jobs to pursue their secret dreams of becoming music producers. Here's a sampling of the tunes that "Pennsylvania" beat out:

"Pennsylvania - Gee! It's Great!"

Sample:

Gee! It's great!

Being from the State of Pennsylvania!

The homefolks there

Let you know they care in Pennsylvania

They've got the spirit in Philly,

The home of William Penn,

And in the Dutch County

The cooking's great--

and then some!

Review: Imagining the entire state Legislature belting out "Gee! It's great!" together in Harrisburg every four years is both bizarre and wonderful. Philly also gets a nice reference in the first verse. 7/10

"Dear Old Pennsylvania"

Sample:

The parks and the lakes, the towns

and cities, too,

The schools and the church you'll find that

this is true,

It is so much more than we can do or say,

You're dear to my heart, Penn-syl-van-ia.

Review: The only thing that sticks out, with the way "Penn-syl-van-ia" is written, is the idea of drawing out the name over and over again like "The Imagination Song" from "South Park." Which actually sounds like a pretty good state song. 6/10

"Pennsylvania State Song"

Sample:

Brave were the deeds they first-born did

For thee, my native State;

At Brandywine and Valley Forge

Their sacrifice was great;

Upon the field of Gettysburg

Our fathers fought and fell;

Guard well thy heritage so dear,

Brave Pennsylvania.

Review: The title is even more painfully unoriginal than "Pennsylvania," but the lyrical structure makes it seem like this would have been fun and upbeat. 7/10

"Pennsylvania" (2)

Sample:

Pennsylvania forever,

Wonderful Keystone State;

Beautiful, rugged, glorious,

Fashioned sublime and great.

Verdure-clad hills and mountains,

Rich with abundant store;

Tower in grandeur silent,

Battlements evermore.

Review: Sounds like if Donald Trump had to write Pennsylvania's state song. Also, who uses the word "verdure" in lyrics? 4/10

"Pennsylvania" (3)

Sample:

Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, strong and true,

Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, hear our song to you;

There is beauty in your mountains,

There is peace upon your hills,

And where'er I roam my only home is Pennsylvania.

Review: Boring. 3/10