Down Yonder

Down Yonder is a popular American song by L. Wolfe Gilbert. It was first published in 1921, and introduced in the same year at the Orpheum Theatre, New Orleans.[1]

"Down Yonder"
Songwriter(s)L. Wolfe Gilbert

Gilbert had written the lyrics for the 1912 song "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee" (for which Lewis F. Muir wrote the music). In "Down Yonder," Gilbert brought back four of the characters from the earlier song — Daddy, Mammy, Ephram and Sammy. However, the lyrics of "Down Yonder" are seldom heard because the song has usually been performed as an instrumental, especially on the piano or organ.

"Down Yonder" is an expression meaning "down there", referring to a place that is considerably lower in elevation or farther south.[2] In the sense of the song's lyrics, it means "in the American South."


Before 1951Edit

Recordings by Ernest Hare & Billy Jones, and by the Peerless Quartet were very popular in 1921.[3]
In 1934, the instrumental version by Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA.[4]


Versions that charted in 1951 included those by Del Wood, by Joe ´Fingers´ Carr, by Champ Butler, by Lawrence (Piano Roll) Cook, by the Freddy Martin orchestra, by the Frank Petty Trio, and by Ethel Smith.

Charting singles (1951)[5]
Artist Company Chart


Weeks Peak
Del Wood Tennessee Records 775 8/24/51 25 4
Joe ´Fingers´ Carr Capitol Records 1777 10/12/51 17 14
Champ Butler Columbia Records 39533 9/21/51 16 18
Lawrence (Piano Roll) Cook Abbey Records 15053 9/21/51 2 23
Freddy Martin RCA Victor Records 20-4267 10/12/51 4 24
Frank Petty Trio MGM Records 11057 11/9 1 26
Ethel Smith (Juke Box chart)[6] King Records 986 10/27 1 16

On the Cash Box charts, where all versions were combined, the song got even higher, making #1 in one week, December 15, 1951.[7]

After 1951Edit


  1. ^ Shaw, Arnold (1987). The Jazz Age: Popular Music in the 1920s. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 113. ISBN 0195038916.
  2. ^ "Definition of YONDER". Retrieved 2017-11-18.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 494. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 19. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1973). Top Pop Records 1940-1955. Record Research.
  6. ^ "Most Played Juke Box Records" (PDF). Billboard. 63 (43): 38. October 27, 1951. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  7. ^ "Top Singles". Cash Box. December 15, 1951. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2016.