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"Sioux City Sue" Record

Date: 1946


Description: This record is the 1946 Columbia Records release of a folk country song that made Sioux City famous in the 1940s: “Sioux City Sue,” written by Ray Freedman and originally performed by Dick Thomas in 1945. The first “Sioux City Sue” song was written in 1924 by Irving Berlin, and sheet music exists for various versions of songs with a same name since then. But Dick Thomas’s version is the one people remember. The song spent four weeks at #1 on the billboard charts, and a total of 23 weeks on the charts altogether. The song was performed by some of the biggest stars of the 40s: Bing Crosby, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Walker, Riders in the Sky, and Kate Smith, who sang the version of the song on this record. Gene Autry also sang a version of the song, and his version was used in the movie version of “Sioux City Sue,” starring Lynne Roberts as the titular Sue. For Sioux City, the Chamber of Commerce was excited about the publicity that the song was bringing to the city. The Chamber and the Sioux City Journal decided to hold a beauty contest around the song. The contest had specific requirements based on the song lyrics: “Sioux City Sue, Sioux City Sue./ Your hair is red, your eyes are blue”. Contestants had to be red-haired, blue-eyed, under 18, and unmarried. Dick Thomas himself was invited to judge, and over 20,000 people attended the contest. The winner was Gayle Jean Hofstad, an attendant at Davidson’s Department Store. The contest was held again in 1950 to celebrate the new Municipal Auditorium, with Miss Beverly Johnson as the winner. The contests stopped after 1950 but fans of 1940s music can still hear “Sioux City Sue” in various forms on the radio and through records like these.

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