“This Land Is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie, a popular American folk song among patriots, was originally created as a criticism of Capitalism and the U.S. government by a Communist labor organizer.

This Land Is Your Land

Woody Guthrie in March 1943

Sheet music

“This Land Is Your Land” is one of the United States’ most famous folk songs. Its lyrics were written by American folk singer Woody Guthrie in 1940, based on an existing melody, a Carter Family tune called “When the World’s on Fire”, in critical response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.” When Guthrie was tired of hearing Kate Smith sing “God Bless America” on the radio in the late 1930s, he sarcastically called his song “God Blessed America for Me” before renaming it “This Land Is Your Land.”

In 2002, “This Land Is Your Land” was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.

Melody

Guthrie’s melody was very si… Continue Reading (14 minute read)

9 thoughts on ““This Land Is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie, a popular American folk song among patriots, was originally created as a criticism of Capitalism and the U.S. government by a Communist labor organizer.”

  1. niobiumnnul

    > In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
    By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
    As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
    Is this land made for you and me?

  2. JustDutch101

    Aren’t almost all songs patriots use to “USA, USA, USA” to actually songs that critize the US? Like how heavily they use Born in the USA while it actually critizes the country.

  3. jenniehaniver

    “This Land” was one of the first songs I remember learning– I went to a Montessori preschool in the Bay Area. I remember loving it because of the “redwood forests” part– hey, it’s a song about our local trees! It was only years later that I understood that there was a deeper meaning. 30 years on I can still sing it and the parody from my elementary school– “this land is private property”.

  4. Wharf-Arts

    He also wrote “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” famously covered by The Dropkick Murphys

  5. Gepo1234

    Isn’t that extremely obvious?

  6. Wetbandit69x2

    The sticker on his guitar says “This machine kills fascists.” Guthrie is an American hero.

  7. Have_Some_Baby

    He also wrote a song about Andy Bernard’s family silencing Whistleblowers. “Oh Mr. Bernard, oh Mr, Bernard, who have you silenced today”

  8. gorlan6

    My favorite addition was a verse that he wrote later from the perspective of native Americans:

    This land is your land,
    But it once was my land,
    Until we sold you,
    New York island.
    You pushed our nations,
    On reservations,
    This land was stole by you from me.

  9. Bornwilde

    there’s a lost verse that isn’t in most recordings that I love,

    > As I went walking I saw a sign there,
    And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
    But on the other side it didn’t say nothing.
    That side was made for you and me.

Leave a Comment