“Sweet Rosie O'Grady”


"Just down around the corner of a street where I reside, There lives the sweetest little girl that I have ever spied." The singer vows never to forget the day they met, and says that the very birds sing her name


According to Spaeth, "Maude Nugent, who sang and danced at Johnny Reilly's famous place, 'The Abbey'... is officially recognized as the creator of Sweet Rosie O'Grady, althouth there is a strong suspicion that her husband, Billy Jerome, actually wrote the song." The reason for this is that she never wrote anything else of significance -- but let's be serious: This is a silly piece of work. It wouldn't take much of a songwriter to produce such a thing. It became a hit presumably because the tune is good and harmonizes well in barbershop arrangements.

Billy Jerome, according to Spaeth, p. 331, was responsible for such tremendous hits as "Bedelia," "Mister Dooley," "China Town, My China Town," "My Irish Molly, O," and "The Hat My Father Wore on Saint Patrick's Day." Not a particularly inspiring list of songs to my way of thinking.

Whoever the author, it didn't bring much money to the Nugent/Jerome household. They sold the rights for a few hundred dollars, according to Spaeth, and when the copyright was renewed, they reassigned them, resulting in much quarreling over royalties. - RBW


  1. Dean, p. 62, "Rose O'Grady" (1 text)
  3. Roud #9560
  4. BI, Dean062A


Author: Maude Nugent
Earliest date: 1896 (copyright)
Found in: US(MW)