Beautiful Ohio


Beautiful Ohio was written by Ballard MacDonald in 1918. The music was written by Robert A. “Bobo” King, who used the pseudonym Mary Earl.

Columbus, Ohio

MacDonald wrote the song as a love song, in the form of a waltz.

The melody is partly based on “Song of India” by Rimsky-Korsakov and “Beautiful Dreamer” by Stephen Foster. The original 1918 publication also featured a second obbligato voice using the tune Love’s Old Sweet Song.

In 1969, the Ohio General Assembly made the song the state’s official song. In 1989, a bill was passed to adopt a new set of words written by Wilbert McBride.

McBride’s version provides a “more accurate portrayal of Ohio by including things such as the state’s cities and factories rather than two imaginary lovers.”

Richard Heine later arranged a version of the song as a march.

The Ohio State University Marching Band commonly performs the song.


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