Lyrics Contest – Gershwin’s Anthem

EDITOR’S NOTE: This contest has concluded, and we learned that national anthems are very tricky to write: there is a lot that can go wrong, it’s hard to please everyone, and distilling a nation into a few dozen lines is demanding to say the least. I also think that having just about no budget for the contest was a formidable setback, but nonetheless, thank you to all who participated! I hope you like the updated lyrics by J. Delmar Hunt. The $25 check for the winning lyricist is in the mail! Download the updated sheet music here: O Land of Mine, America – 2019 update

Welcome, lyricists, to a chance to create a national anthem worthy of George Gershwin and all of America. The original lyrics to “O Land of Mine, America,” written in 1919 by Englishman Michael E. Rourke were written at the end of WWI and sound a bit dated today. America deserves a patriotic song by its preeminent composer. Please help spread the word on this issue in advance of its centennial in 2019. Submit your lyrics to

Download a NEW Lyrics Worksheet (with sheet music) here: Gershwin’s Anthem Worksheet

Learn more about “O Land of Mine, America” here.

Download a PDF of my simplified sheet music to “O Land of Mine, America” here: O Land of Mine, America7-4

Here is how Gershwin’s original piano score sounds:

And here it is fully orchestrated:

The full story on Gershwin’s Anthem can be found here.

The deadline for entries is 11/11/2018. The winner will be announced on 3/2/2019, the 100th anniversary of the publishing of Gershwin’s anthem. Please e-mail all lyric entries to And while you’re here, please check out these other Gershwin songs which could use a serious rewrite Updating Old Lyrics.

Lyrics to “O Land of Mine, America” by Michael E. Rourke:
Verse 1:
From the farm, from the shop, from the home, they came when they heard you call.
And they builded a bridge ’cross the foam, with hand and with heart giving all.
’Twas the call they had waited to hear, the cry of a world in pain,
And a life was a price none too dear, that freedom might ever reign.

O Land of Mine, America, with Liberty alight,
Around the world, your flag unfurled, proclaims the dawn of Right.
The stars that fell from out the skies upon your banner bright
Have blazed the way for love to stray, where thundered Freedom’s fight.

Verse 2:
Mothers all, North and South, East and West, forever your name shall bless,
And the babe to her bosom is pressed, in safety and happiness.
Eyes that once had been burning with tears, shall see in your flag above
Starry symbols to last through the years, of Liberty, Life, and Love.

Download a PDF of Gershwin’s anthem as published on March 2, 1919 in the New York American here: O_LandOfMineAmericaFull3

O Land of Mine, America - 2019 update

2 responses to “Lyrics Contest – Gershwin’s Anthem

  1. Pingback: Updating Old Lyrics | Gershwin 100·

  2. Pingback: That American Boy of Mine | Gershwin 100·

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