“A Picture from Life's Other Side”


"In the world's mighty gallery of pictures Hang scenes that are faded from life...." The song describes the pictures from life's other side: A gambler staking his mother's ring, a thief killing his brother for gold, a starving woman leaping off a bridge


The 1896 sheet music credits this to "Vaughn" (B. Vaughan?) -- but we all know what that is worth. Charles E. Baer is another suggested author.

The Australian piece, "The Lights of London Town," shares almost none of the words of the American texts, and lacks the image of the picture. But the details and feel of the song are so close that I really think they spring from the same roots. Meredith et al suspect their version of coming from the music hall. This strikes me as possible -- it may be a music hall rewrite of the American song, or vice versa. - RBW


  • Benny Borg (The Singing Soldier), "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (Columbia 15183-D, 1927)
  • The Blue Sky Boys, "Picture From Life's Other Side" (Bluebird 8646/Montgomery Ward M-8845, 1941; rec. 1940)
  • The Clinch Valley Boys, "Picture From Life's Other Side" (Champion 15316/Silvertone 5091/Challenge 393 [as Borton & Lang], 1927)
  • Vernon Dalhart, "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (OKeh 40696, 1926)
  • Hank & Slim, "Three Pictures of Life's Other Side" (Vocalion 02808,/Vocalion 02840, 1934)
  • Harkins & Moran [pseud. for Sid Harkreader & Grady Moore], "A Picture from Life's Other Side" (Broadway 8055, c. 1930)
  • Jenkins Family [or Jenkins Sacred Singers], "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (OKeh 45134, 1927)
  • Matt Judson, "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (Clarion 5141-C, 1930)
  • Kelly Family, "A Picture from Life's Other Side" (Decca 5054, 1934)
  • Bradley Kincaid, "A Picture from Life's Other Side" (Vocalion 5476, 1930; Conqueror 7983, 1932; Vocalion 4647, 1939)
  • Luke the Drifter [pseud., Hank Williams], "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (MGM 11120, 1951)
  • Frank Luther's Trio, "A Picture of Life's Other Side" (Decca 5039, 1934)
  • Old Southern Sacred Singers, "Picture from Life's Other Side" (Brunswick 115, 1926; recut 1932)
  • Sam Patterson Trio, "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (Edison 52085, 1927)
  • Goebel Reeves, "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (MacGregor 875, n.d.)
  • Smith's Sacred Singers, "Pictures from Life's Other Side" (Columbia 15090-D, 1926/Vocalion 02949, 1935) (Bluebird B-5606, 1934; Montgomery Ward M-4804, 1935)
  • Smoky Mountain Sacred Singers "'Tis a Picture From Life's Other Side" (Vocalion 5119, c. 1927/Domino 0186, 1927 [as Smoky Mountain Twins ,"A Picture From Life's Other Side"])
  • "'Tis a Picture From Life's Other Side" (Vocalion 5119, 1927; rec. 1926) (Domino 0186 [as Smoky Mountain Twins,"A Picture From Life's Other Side"], 1927/Challenge 667/Banner 6041 [both as Lonesome Pine Twins, "A Picture from Life's Other Side"], 1927; Banner 0586 [as :Smoky Mountain Twins, "Picture from Life's Other Side"], 1930)
  • Frank Welling, "Picture[s] from Life's Other Side" (Champion 15924 [as Clarence Young]/Supertone 9612 [as Frank Hill], 1930)


  1. Randolph 603, "A Picture from Life's Other Side" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 422-424, "A Picture from Life's Other Side" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 603)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 265, "A Picture From Life's Other Side" (1 text)
  4. Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 153-154, "The Lights of London Town" (1 text, 1 tune, quite distinct from the common version)
  6. Roud #3527
  7. BI, R603


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1896 (sheet music)
Found in: US(SE,So)