DOWNLOAD THE SONGSHEET
YOU CAN PLAY IN THE SAME KEY AS THE FIRST VIDEO IN GCEA TUNING, IF YOU PUT YOUR CAPO ON THE FIRST FRET! Extra verses have been added from other versions of the song.
Though Springtown, Tennessee, has a small monument outside an old mill claiming the song was written by a local George Johnson, in 1864, for his Maggie, the truth is that its lyrics were written as a poem by the Canadian school teacher George Washington Johnson from Hamilton, Ontario. Margaret "Maggie" Clark was his pupil. They fell in love and during a period of illness, George walked to the edge of the Niagara escarpment, overlooking what is now downtown Hamilton, and composed the poem. It was published in 1864 in a collection of his poems entitled Maple Leaves. They were married in 1864 but Maggie's health deteriorated and she died on May 12, 1865. James Austin Butterfield set the poem to music and it became popular all over the world. The schoolhouse where the two lovers met still stands on the escarpment above Hamilton, and a plaque bearing the name of the song has been erected in front of the old building.
"Maggie" has been re-scored as "When You and I Were Young, Maggie Blues", by Jack Frost and Jimmy McHugh. Mills Music Inc. published this edition in 1922, and again in 1949 with Guy Lombardo's picture on the cover. This was a 1951 hit for father and son Bing Crosby and Gary Crosby reaching the No. 8 spot in the Billboard charts and for the duet team of Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely. (SEE SEPARATE POSTING ON THIS WEBSITE FOR "WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, MAGGIE BLUES")