Welcome to Lesley Nelson (aka the Contemplator)'s
Popular Songs In American History Website. American Folk and Traditional Music with Lyrics, Midi Files, Tune Information and History behind the folksongs and ballads. With folksongs arranged by time period.
Welcome to Popular Songs in American History. These tunes were not all written by Americans, but are songs that were known in America. Most songs of the Colonial and Revoltionary Era were songs that originated in England, Scotland and Ireland and immigrated with their people.
The dates indicated are, of course, not perfect. I have struggled to put them in APPROXIMATE/BEST GUESS date order. If you have an educated correction, please let me know. A few tunes are listed more than once to make clear they were popular in several eras.
If you wish to use any of these tunes in an archive or on a webpage READ THIS.
If you are looking for a particular tune, the fastest way to find it is to use the Search Engine. The search engine covers the entire site so it will find more than just American songs.
In response to requests, I have put American songs of the sea here. These are songs that are American in subject or origin, or found in American songbooks. During the era of sailing ships, sea shanties were universal, so many of the work shanteys which were not specifically American in origin or topic, but sung on American ships, are not here and can be found on the Songs of the Sea page. For information about sea shanties click here.