Post to the Host

Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

Send GK Your Question »

Tishomingo Blues

February 24, 2014 | 5 Comments

To the Host:

What prompted you to change the show's theme song from "Hello, Love" to "Tishomingo Blues" when you "came back" for version 2.0 in 1990?

Mark Mosier
Overland Park, KS


It was just that old restless urge to do something different. The show was starting back up in New York, with a big band, and "Hello, Love" is a country song, so I made a list of other possibilities, and it came down to "Tishomingo" and Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA" which I liked but our music director Rob Fisher questioned whether I really wanted to sing "Well O well I feel so good today, we just touched down on an international runway, jet-propelled back to the USA" every Saturday night and he also mentioned the potential copyright problems. "Tishomingo" is public domain and Chuck Berry is not and a person might want to opt for the simpler, less complicated route, so I wrote words for the middle section of "Tishomingo" -- "Hear that old piano from down the avenue -- I smell the roses, I look around for you" -- and I've been singing it to that sweet old someone coming through the door for almost 25 years now.


I'm always tickled by the things you smell other than roses - do you have a list? Seems to me there's been spruce trees, onions, fish, hot dogs (but no wet dogs!)...

I absolutely LOVE The Tishomingo Blues. So happy that it won out. From the "coast of California to the shores of Delaware Bay", I'm sure your other listeners are happy as well!

Just now learned that Elmore Leonard got the name for his book from that song.

Although, yes, the title is most definitively "Tishomingo Blues," I've long thought, since one can't hear quotation marks over the radio, that the theme song could just as easily be titled "Honey, Could We Ask For More?" … as in, "It's Saturday and the band is playing, "Honey, Could We Ask For More?"

So glad you chose the song and that you make it your own each week - you are so talented and have such a love for all things harmony - and rhyming - you sparkle up our lives each time we get another show on the email - and we adore the other aspects of your email too.
Keep looking up. There's more ahead. Can't wait to see what else God has in store for you as you continue to follow Him ministering as you do -
and spreading joy and delight among the flock.
Down here in FL we remember you with warm hearts and tapping toes and lingering hugs during naps with each other while listening. The best!

Previous Post:
« Be Brave and Be Excellent

Next Post:
The World Theater »

Post to the Host Archive

Complete Post to the Host Archive

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy