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Smithsonian Institution
Louisiana, Where Music is KingAmericans Old and NewMidwestern CrossroadsSouthern FusionLouisiana, Where Music is King
Jimmie Davis

Outside Louisiana, Jimmie Davis is best known for his original version of "You Are My Sunshine," one of America's theme songs. Instate, he is also remembered as the two-time governor, a man who, during his first term, starred in his own Hollywood biopic and placed several records in the country Top 10. The "Singing Governor" would bring his band with him on the campaign trail, and forgo complex speeches in favor of old-time singalongs on his country and gospel hits.
       A pioneer of country recording, Gov. Davis (as Louisianans still call him) is now 98, and he celebrated his birthday at the Strand Theater in Shreveport, riding his tour bus out from his opulent home in the shadow of the Baton Rouge state capitol. For the occasion, he was joined by the cast of the Louisiana Hayride, the radio show that once rivaled the Grand Ole Opry and gave early national exposure to both Hank Williams and Elvis Presley, and a special guest concert by Merle Haggard. The highlight of the evening came when the Governor, now in a wheelchair, took center stage to sing his trademark hit, with Haggard bending over to stand cheek to cheek and add sweet harmony on the chorus.

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