“this land is your land”

from woody guthrie posted in music


"this land is your land"
43rd street and sixth avenue
new york, new york 10036

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posted by pete_nice #

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In the early months of 1940, Woody Guthrie arrived in New York City. Dubbed "the Oklahoma cowboy" by his contemporaries, he was embraced by the leftist folk scene at the time.

On constant radio rotation at the time was Irving Berlin's "God Bless America." Guthrie found the song distasteful- unrealistic and complacent. On February 23, 1940, in a small boarding house at the corner of 43rd st and 6th Ave in NYC, he went about writing an answer to Berlin. Guthrie's response was the song "This Land is Your Land."

Adapting the melody from "When The World's On Fire" by the Carter family, "This Land is Your Land" has become a powerful national song, still open for interpretation today.

One of the original versions of the song had a final verse that goes like this:

"As I went walking, I saw a sign there,
And on the sign there, It said 'Private Property'
But on the other side, it didn't say nothing!
That side was made for you and me."