"My Old Kentucky Home", written by Stephen Foster, is sung annually at the Kentucky Derby with the accompaniment of the University of Louisville marching band. The tradition began sometime between 1921 and 1930, by which time it was established as the music played while the horses are led to the post.
According to folklore, Foster was inspired to write the song when, while traveling from his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to New Orleans, Louisiana, he stopped in Bardstown, Kentucky to visit his cousins, the Rowan family, and saw their magnificent Federal Hill mansion.
Some of his other well known songs are Camptown Races, Swanee River, and Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair.
Eighteen of Foster's compositions were recorded and released on the "Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster" collection. Among the artists that are featured on the album are John Prine, Alison Krauss, Yo Yo Ma, Roger McGuinn, Mavis Staples and Suzy Bogguss. The album won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album in 2005.
Foster died a penniless alcoholic at Bellevue Hospital in New York City at age of 37.