Groucho Marx's "Omaha, Nebraska"

Want to know what song I've had stuck in my head for three days? Groucho Marx's "Omaha, Nebraska," a funny, surreal bit of doggerel set to music. I wake up to it, I lie down to it and it is with me all day long. Have a listen, you can go crazy too.
In the foothills of Tennessee.
My sweetie told me that someday she'll meet me at the corner of Delancey Street and Avenue "B".
From the shores of California to the rockbound coast of Maine
We'll settle down in Washington D.C.
In the Heart of Omaha, Nebraska,
Where the best things in life are free in the foothills of Tennessee.

In the foothills of Tennessee.
Each night when day is done we watch the setting sun and listen to the mocking bird sing Mother Machee.
When it's showing in Alaska where the Swanee River flows
I love like the honey likes the bee.
In the Heart of Omaha, Nebraska,
Where the best things in life are free in the foothills of Tennessee.

Realaudio for "Omaha Nebraska"

Omaha Nebraska lyrics

(Image: Annabelle in Groucho Disguise!, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from winton's photostream)


  1. Groucho once recalled a beautiful woman he knew. He described her as being very religious, because she wore an ankle bracelet that said “heaven’s above.”

  2. Thanks Cory, one can never get too much Groucho!

    “Everyone…says ‘I love you’,
    But just what they said it for I never knew
    It’s nothing but trouble for the poor sucker who
    Says I…love….you.”

  3. Having confirmed that the Marx Brothers were in fact from New York City, I can now say that the song reminded me of that New Yorker cover depicting a Manhattanite’s map of the rest of the country.

  4. What the crap am I supposed to do with Real Audio in this day and age? This is Boing Boing! Where’s the open-source free-range un-patent-encumbered Ogg version?

  5. Long ago I ordered a drink in a bar in New York, and the barman asked for ID (to make sure I was 19, which was the drinking age there at the time).

    I gave him my Delaware driver’s license and he said, “This is a fake. There’s no state named Delaware. I’m keeping this!

  6. Groucho’s listed as the co-writer of the song, along with the great Harry Ruby.

    Ruby wrote the songs for the Marx Bros. Paramount films (except “The Cocoanuts” and “Monkey Business”), including “Everyone Says I Love You” (mentioned above), “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It,” “Hello, I Must Be Going,” “Hooray For Captain Spaulding” (Groucho’s theme music for “You Bet Your Life”), and the great score for “Duck Soup.” He was also a scriptwriter on those masterpieces.

    Ruby was a great friend of Groucho’s. He appeared on “You Bet Your Life” as a contestant — and you can see how delighted Groucho is to have him there.

    Both Groucho and Zero Mostel recorded albums of Ruby’s songs. Zero’s record “Songs My Mother Never Sang” is out of print (I have it on vinyl). Groucho’s versions are scattered among several CDs. Both include the song “Father’s Day,” to which I subject the kiddies every June:

    Today, Father, is Father’s Day
    And we’re giving you a tie
    It’s not much we know
    It is just our way of showing you
    We think you’re a regular guy…
    You say that it was nice of us to bother
    But it really was a pleasure to fuss
    For according to our mother
    You’re our father
    And that’s good enough for us!

    1. Harry Ruby, along with his co-writer Bert Kalmer, were the greatest. Don’t forget “Three Little Words” covered by everybody from Django Reinhardt to Bing Crosby.
      And not only did Kalmer/Ruby write the songs for the classic paramount films, they wrote the scripts! These talented songwriters were also talented screenwriters.
      There was even a “biopic” of the two, called “Three Little Words”… They were THAT famous, at one time, for Hollywood to make a movie about their life.
      Today? They’re largely forgotten. Sadly.

      1. 100% correct!

        Actually, 99%. It’s Bert Kalmar, with an “a.” I meant to mention him in my comment, but I flaked.

        Hail, Fredonia!

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