“Goodnight Irene” was Leadbelly’s most famous song, and he often began and ended radio shows with it. He had learned the song from his Uncle Terrill Ledbetter around 1908 in Texas, but the origins of the song dates back to the 1880s, when an African-American songwriter named Gussie Davis probably wrote it. “Irene” was one of the first songs that Leadbelly sang when John Lomax met him in Angola Penitentiary in 1933. One controversy surrounding “Irene” and many other Leadbelly songs is that both John and Alan Lomax placed their names on the copyright, leading many to consider their relationship with the great folk singer as exploitive. In 1950 the Weavers had a gigantic hit with “Irene,” though they changed the phrase “I get you in my dreams” to “I’ll see you in my dreams.” The irony of the song’s success, however, was that Leadbelly, who had lived his final years on welfare, had died in 1949. John and Alan Lomax used their royalties to finance further song collecting trips. “Irene” has been literally recorded hundreds of time by folk (Kingston Trio), pop (Nat King Cole), and rock (Jerry Lee Lewis) performers.