A small state of inspiration is a dangerous thing.

Image source: Nabokov/Wikimedia.
Music has as many meanings as there are emotions. It can be celebratory or mournful, spiritual or lascivious, angry or soothing. But when the subject is Rhode Island, the emotions involved seem to run to humor and sentimentality. Join us now as we explore the cheesy world of songs about Rhode Island. Did we miss one? Drop us a line at stuffie@quahog.org.

Rhode Island in the Limelight: Music, A-M
Rhode Island in the Limelight: Music, N-Q
Rhode Island in the Limelight: Music, S-Z






Rhode Island
by Apathy featuring Emilio Lopez

From the 2009 CD Wanna Snuggle?.

Note: contains explicit lyrics.



Rhode Island
by The Bluerunners

From their 1998 album To the Country.


Rhode Island
Words and music by T. Clarke Browne

Was Rhode Island's official State Song for fifty years prior to 1996, when it was demoted to State March in favor of Charlie Hall's 'Rhode Island's It for Me.'

Lyrics
Here's to you, belov'd RHODE ISLAND,
With your Hills and Ocean Shore.
We are proud to hail you RHODY
And your patriots of yore.

First to claim your independence,
Great your heritage and fame.
The smallest State in all the Union,
We will glorify your name!

There's a version by the Laurels, introduced by Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, on the 1998 CD Coolidge 50: Bands from Each State Performing Their State Song.


Rhode Island
by the Front Bottoms

From their 2011 CD The Front Bottoms.

Note: contains explicit lyrics.

Rhode Island
by the Kydells

From their self-titled 2000 album.


Rhode Island
by Nightingale

Instrumental from the 2009 CD Jolie.


Rhode Island
by Triple Bypass

From their 1998 album Yeah, Yeah, Punk Rock Big Deal.


Rhode Island
by Philip Whirlpool

From his 2010 digital EP Rhode Island,


Rhode Island

Then there's this three-man band from Leeds, England, that calls itself Rhode Island.


Rhode Island Blues
by Adam East and Kris Deelane

From the 2003 album .


Rhode Island Bride
by Mike Mullins

The Acousticats from the 1991 album Down at Evangelina's.

Cache Valley Drifters from the 1999 album mightyfine.net.

Live version by the MacMammals, 2012.


Rhode Island Cheer Song
Words and music by Frank H. Baxter

From 1922, "dedicated to my alma mater"—Rhode Island State College, now the University of Rhode Island.

Lyrics:
For old Rhode Island will win the day.
Oh look at her team fighting all the way.
Watch how they rip 'em left and right,
Until they've crossed every chalky line of white.

And while they're fighting for victory,
We'll cheer for the white and blue.
Rise! Cheer again, Rhode Island State for ever,
and we'll win today. Rah! Rah for old Rhode day.


RI Drivers Turn, Turn, Turn
by Billy Mitchell


Rhode Island Freakout
by Kinski

From their 2003 album Airs Above Your Station. Seems to have f-all to do with Rhode Island, but a nice guitar workout nevertheless.


Rhode Island Girls
by The RI Love Song Warriors

This is a circa 2010 collection of amateurish songs extolling the virtues of "girls" from various Rhode Island towns. Sample titles:

  • The Sad Story of My Short Love Affair With a Newport Girl
  • A Girl From Westerly (Would Be Best For Me)
  • You Can't Keep the Dames Down in Jamestown
  • Smithfield Girls are not Afraid of the Hanton City Ghosts!

There are similar collections for Massachusetts (forty-one songs), New Hampshire (thirty-one songs), and Florida (eighty songs), so the obvious conclusion is, there's a guy out there hoping the shotgun method will bring him music fame and fortune: lots of short songs (under two minutes each) about everybody's hometowns, hastily written, hastily recorded, and downloadable for .99 cents each—the same price you would pay for the latest hot track by the current chart-topper. He's not stupid. And the songs do have a certain DIY, so-lame-they're-fun appeal, if you're into that kind of thing.


Rhode Island is Famous for You
Lyrics by Howard Dietz, music by Arthur Schwartz

Lyrics:
Every state has something its Rotary Club can boast of,
Some product that the state produces the most of.
Rhode Island is little, but oh my,
It has a product anyone would buy.

Copper comes from Arizona.
Peaches come from Georgia.
Lobsters come from Maine.
The wheat fields are the sweet fields of Nebraska,
And Kansas gets bonanzas from the grain.

Ol' whiskey comes from ol' Kentucky.
Ain't the country lucky?
New Jersey gives us glue.
And you—you come from Rhode Island,
And little ol' Rhode Island is famous for you.

Cotton comes from Louisiana,
Gophers from Montana,
And spuds from Idaho.
They plow land in the cow land of Missouri,
Where most beef meant for roast beef seems to grow.

Grand canyons come from Colorado.
Gold comes from Nevada.
Divorces also do.
And you—you come from Rhode Island,
And little ol' Rhode Island is famous for you.

Pencils come from Pencilvania,
Vests from Vest Virginia,
Tents from Tentessee.
They know mink where they grow mink in Wyomink.
A camp chair in New Hampchair—That's for me.

Minnows come from Minnowsota.
Coats come from Dacoata.
But why should you be blue?
For you—you come from Rhode Island,
And little ol' Rhode Island is famous for you.

"Rhode Island is Famous for You" was written for the 1948-'49 Broadway musical revue Inside USA, in which it was sung by Jack Haley.

The song has a ton of cover versions. Here's a selected list:

Blossom Dearie cutesy-wootsies through the definitive version on the 1960 album Blossom Dearie, Soubrette, Sings Broadway Hit Songs. Get this stuck in your head and you're so doomed.

Michael Frinstein tickles the ivories on Live At The Algonquin (1986).

Nancy Lamott from the 1993 album My Foolish Heart.

Mandy Patinkin and his all-smarm orchestra will have you blowing lunch along with this version from his 2001 Kidults album.

New York jazz band The Lascivious Biddies altered the lyrics to "Coney Island" on their 2002 debut album Biddi-luxe!, but we're not fooled. Here's a live version of that track.

The John Pizzarelli Trio performed a rendition on the 2003 album Live at Birdland.

Live version by Erin McKeown at the Somerville Theatre, April 23, 2004.

Live version by the Ukaladies during Hope Street Cyclovia, September 7, 2014.


Rhode Island Quick Step
by Charles E. Bennet

Instrumental from 1843. "As performed by the Warren Brass band, composed and arranged for the piano forte, and respectfully dedicated to the Rhode Island Volunteer Militia."


Rhode Island's It for Me
Lyrics by Charlie Hall, music by Maria Day, arranged by Kathryn Chester

"Rhode Island's It For Me" replaced "Rhode Island" by T. Clarke Browne as the official state song when it was adopted by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1996. (The deposed tune, which had served ably as the state's official song for over fifty years, was re-designated Rhode Island's official state march.)

Lyrics
I've been to every state we have,
And I think I'm inclined to say,
That Rhody stole my heart:
You can keep the forty-nine.

Herring gulls that dot the sky,
Blue waves that paint the rocks,
Water rich with Neptune's life,
The boats that line the docks.
I see the lighthouse flickering
To help the sailors see.
There's a place for everyone:
Rhode Island's it for me.

Rhode Island, oh Rhode Island,
Surrounded by the sea.
Some people roam the earth for home;
Rhode Island's it for me.

I love the fresh October days,
The buzz on College Hill,
Art that moves an eye to tear,
A jewelers special skill.
Icicles refract the sun,
Snow falling gracefully.
Some search for a place that's warm:
Rhode Island's it for me!

Rhode Island, oh Rhode Island,
Surrounded by the sea.
Some people roam the earth for home;
Rhode Island's it for me.

The skyline piercing Providence,
The State House dome so rare.
Residents who speak their minds;
No longer unaware!
Roger Williams would be proud to see his colony,
So don't sell short this precious port:
Rhode Island's it for me!

Rhode Island, oh Rhode Island,
surrounded by the sea.
Some people roam the earth for home;
Rhode Island's it for me.

Rhode Island, oh Rhode Island,
surrounded by the sea.
Some people roam the earth for home;
Rhode Island's it for me.

The definitive version by Maria Day is from around 1995.


Rhode Island Rag
by Larry Heyl aka Hairy Larry

Guitar instrumental from his 2007 CD For My Dad.


Rhode Island Red
by Willis "Gator" Jackson

Jackson gives his sax a workout on his 1967 album Soul Grabber.


Rhode Island Red
Words and music by Norman Greenbaum

B-side of the 1970 single "I.J. Foxx," and collected on the 2001 compilation Spirit in the Sky: Best of Norman Greenbaum.


Rhode Island Red
by The Big Wu (words and music by Chris Castino)

From the 2003 album Spring Reverb. Here's a live version from 2013:


Rhode Island Red
by Simon Stokes and The Nighthawks

From the 1970 self-titled album.


Rhode Island Redhead
by Teresa Brewer

From a 1952 non-album single.


Rhode Island Reds
by Elephant Micah

From the 2003 album Elephant Micah, Your Dreams Are Feeding Back. Here's an early, circa 2001 live version by Elephant Micah and the Pelicans.


Rhode Island Shred
by Guthrie Govan

Electric guitar instrumental from the 2006 album Erotic Cakes.


Rhode Island Song
by Jeff Lantos and Bill Augustine

From the historical musical play Miracle in Philadelphia. A soundtrack by Lantos and Augustine is available on CD.


Rhode Island Stomp
by Allen Fontenot and the Country Cajuns

From the CD Cajun Country Volume 2.


Rhode Trip
by Slide Five

Smooth jazz instrumental from the 1996 album Rhode Trip.


Rhode Trip
by E-Z Rollers

Bass and drums instrumental from the 1998 album Weekend World.


The Road to Rhode Island
by Brian and Stewie Griffin

Sadly, the following isn't the actual clip from Family Guy's second season episode, Road to Rhode Island (2000), but just the title song over a static image.


The Rocky Point Song

Circa early 1990s.


Rodman's Hollow
by Rob Raroux

From the 2006 CD Block Island Days.


Rhode Island in the Limelight: Music, A-M
Rhode Island in the Limelight: Music, N-Q
Rhode Island in the Limelight: Music, S-Z

What did we miss?

Can't find your favorite Rhode Islandy tune here? Drop us a line at stuffie@quahog.org and let us know what we overlooked!

This article last edited December 10, 2015

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