The state song of Kansas is "Home on the Range." The words were originally written as a poem by Dr Brewster Higley, a physician, and the music was written by the fiddler, Dan Kelley. The current version of the song differs slightly from his original poem, written in the 1870's in Kansas, after going through various rewrites since its first composition. His poem, at writing, was called My Western Home.
State symbols, from songs to flags to animals and birds, play a big role in keeping morale high and encouraging patriotism and the state song of Kansas meets these requirements well. The song waxes lyrical about the beautiful countryside, fresh air, vast spaces and animals, for which Kansas is well known. After the song took off, many adaptations were made to it to suit other states, such as "My Colorado Home," but it was properly staked as the state song of Kansas, in the form we know it, in 1947.
Due to the various incarnations of the song, and its spread across the US as it became popular, the true author and composer became uncertain. Around 1935, an Arizona couple, the Goodwin's, claimed that they had co-written the song and lyrics and sued, claiming rights to the copyright. For a couple of years, while a young lawyer was sent from state to state to discover the true origins of the song, it was pulled off the radio and not sung professionally. His search ended in Kansas, where he found Higley's poem and the case was closed.
While the state song of Kansas is held close to the heart of those living in the state, it is also widely thought of as a symbolic song for the American West, evoking scenes of endless prairies and horse-riding cowboys. It has been sung by numerous well-known musicians, including Paul Young and Willie Nelson, and has been included in various movie soundtracks through the years. In 1954, Porky Pig, of Looney Tunes fame, sung it in "Claws for Alarm."
The state song of Kansas is joined by various other state symbols. Its bird, the Western meadowlark, and animal, the American buffalo, join the flag as emblems of the state. The cabin in which Brewster Higley lived when he wrote "Home on the Range," on the banks of Beaver Creek, remains pretty much exactly as it was at the time of writing and is visited by many locals and visitors to Kansas.