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