Behind the Music: Evansville (in Old Indiana)

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

There are numerous song lyrics with references to well-known cities: Barcelona by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé, Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys, and Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley, just to name a few. Some people would not think Evansville would have a song because it is not New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, or another other big city. Just like every good song, there is a back-story to them.

In December 1945, a meeting composing of barbershop quartets began and Colonel R.H. “Dick” Sturges was attending the meeting. He went back to Hotel McCurdy to reserve a room; however, there was not any room available. Sturges stated he was a part of the barbershop quartet group and the management housed him inside their barbershop with a cod to sleep on. Six years later, Sturges wrote the song based on his hospitable experience in Evansville. Later, Mayor Edwin Diekmann proclaimed it the official song of Evansville (Evansville City View Staff, n.d.).


Evansville City View Staff. (n.d.). Artifacts of the City. Retrieved January 24, 2017, from