Aura Lee

The author of Aura Lee was George Poulton. His parents had left England in 1835 to seek a new life in America. They settled in Lansburgh, New York, where George learnt violin and piano. At the age of 12 he also tried composing and over the next two decades he had more than 20 songs published.

It was the age of the minstrel shows, which often featured jaunty, upbeat songs. With this in mind George Poulton composed a tune, with words by the lyricist W. Whiteman Fosdick, which would be a contrast, a simple ballad with the traditional theme of a young woman with golden hears. He called the song "Aura Lee" and published and copyrighted it in Cincinnati, in 1861.

Aura Lee was very successful as a minstrel song, but it gained unexpected popularity with the trainee soldiers at West Point. The song was given new lyrics, written by L.W. Becklaw, and became "Army Blue". Later the song was known under more different names: The Violet, The girl with the golden hair, ...
Soon after Aura Lee was released, the American Civil War began. In such periods of a conflict music and songs appear to be important: fifes, fiddles, banjos and brass were played by camp fires, while marching and even during the battle itself. Aura Lee became favourite for troups of both sides of the camp. The image of the lovely girl was also added to another war song "The Yellow Rose of Texas".
After war Aura Lee was recorded by many artists. It appeared in movies, such as "Come and get it" (1936), "The last musketeer" (1952).

When Elvis Presley was contacted into his first role, in a movie to be called "Love me tender", it was decided he would sing his first non-rock ballad. The music director, Ken Darby, found the old melody Aura Lee. The melody was perfect, it only needed new lyrics. The tune with the new lyrics, which were most likely written by Darby himself, resulted in the new song "Love me tender".

Elvis recorded the new song in August 1956. "Love me tender" topped the Billboard Chart, remaining number one for five weeks.

After Elvis, "Love me tender" was recorded by many other artists, such as Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, ...



When the blackbird in the Spring,

'On the willow tree,
Sat and rocked, I heard him sing,
Singing Aura Lea.
Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Maid with golden hair;
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.

Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Maid with golden hair;
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.

n thy blush the rose was born,
Music, when you spake,
Through thine azure eye the morn,
Sparkling seemed to break.A
ura Lea, Aura Lea,
Birds of crimson wing,
Never song have sung to me,
As in that sweet spring.


Aura Lea! the bird may flee,
The willow's golden hair
Swing through winter fitfully,
On the stormy air.
Yet if thy blue eyes I see,
Gloom will soon depart;
For to me, sweet Aura Lea
Is sunshine through the heart.


When the mistletoe was green,
Midst the winter's snows,
Sunshine in thy face was seen,
Kissing lips of rose.
Aura Lea, Aura Lea,
Take my golden ring;
Love and light return with thee,
And swallows with the spring.

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