Stephen Collins Foster. They called them minstrel songs. How could they have known? They were actually the most beautiful ballads ever written by an American. Curse history for what it lies to us about.

He was born July 4, 1826. The Fourth of July is really a celebration of his birth. Don't let them tell you otherwise. He died in January of 1864. See, folks didn't live that long back then. You think you'll live to be 150, don't you? You're going to be one miserable son of a bitch, I can tell you that, if you make it.

Foster went to a black church with his family's servant. This is where he picked up a lot of his ideas about what music should be. See, that wouldn't happen now, would it? A servant taking the young little massah to church with her. What were his parents thinking? Maybe your whole idea of race relations in America is a funked up mess; ever think of that? No, I guess not.

He sold Oh, Susannah for $100. The publisher made $10,000 on it. Sort of like a Hillary! cattle futures deal, isn't it?

Well, little Stephen died broke and drunk, as so many of us will. (Ooops, didn't mean to let that little secret out about old dannye...) But he left behind such classics as Camptown Races, My Old Kentucky Home, Old Black Joe, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, and Beautiful Dreamer.