Here’s some easy piano sheet music for a American Classic – Goodnight Irene.  It was first recorded by Lead Belly (aka Huddie William Ledbetter or Leadbelly) in 1933.  Apparently, the folklorists John and his son Alan Lomax, after having “discovered” Lead Belly in the Angola prison, sent a copy of their recording him performing “Goodnight Irene” to Louisiana’s governor to petition for Lead Belly’s release.  (Lead Belly was serving time for attempted homicide).

voice lessons
Huddie William Ledbetter (January 20, 1888 – December 6, 1949) aka “Lead Belly or Leadbelly”

Anyway, the song is a classic.  It’s been covered by almost everyone – from Johnny Cash to Frank Sinatra to the Meat Puppets.  In fact, here’s a list of just a few of the people who have covered this tune.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as others have.  This is intended for students who can handle a basic waltz style, using G C and D chords in inversions.  The key, as you may have guessed, is G major.

The music is also written in a good key for many children’s voices, so could be used for children sing alongs.

piano new orleans
Goodnight Irene

You can download the sheet music here.


  1. This is a horrible copy of Goodnight Irene – save your time – find a different version!!! 🙁 So disappointed 🙁

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