In the early 19th century, Oliver Shaw, a Providence composer, music teacher, publisher and retailer, was a nationally known powerhouse at the birth of the U.S. music industry and became the first American-born hit songwriter,
Based in Providence during the early 19th century, Oliver Shaw was an exceptionally successful musician by the standards of any era. He was a highly sought-after teacher providing lessons to upward of 40 students at a time; he ran a retail and mail order music shop selling instruments and sheet music; and he also ran his own publishing company.
But it is as a composer that Shaw is best remembered. He was a major composer of sacred, brass band and topical music as well as popular songs and his “There’s Nothing True But Heaven” became the first national hit by an American-born musician in 1829. Oliver Shaw died in 1848.