Mockingbird Quickstep

Septimus Winner (1827-1902) came from a musical family in that his father was a violin maker and his brother, Joseph, was also a composer (The Little Brown Jug). Septimus was a storekeeper and music teacher in Philadelphia where he would hear “Whistlin’ Dick” Milburn, a black boy, serenading people in the street with his guitar and bird-like warbling. Winner used one of Dick’s melodies for Mockingbird and gave him prominent credit on the published music. He published it under his mother’s name, Alice Hawthorne. He also gave Dick a job in the store. Lacking foresight, Winner sold the rights to the song for $5.00 after slow initial sales. The song sold 20 million  copies over the next 50 years.

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