Monday, November 16, 2015

ORIGINS OF THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I chose This Land Is Your Land for my current Battle of the Bands. To see the contenders and vote, please click HERE.

When I created the battle, I promised to tell you more about the song. Although most of the information I'll give you comes from Wikipedia, I heard much of it in documentaries about Woody Guthrie, who wrote Land in 1940.

Guthrie didn't record Land until 1944 because he set it aside and forgot about it, according to Joe Klein, author of Woody Guthrie: A Life. It didn't come under the protection of copyright law until 1951.

After seeing the way so many people in the U.S. suffered during the depression, Guthrie felt disgusted with Irving Berlin's God Bless America, and he didn't care to hear Kate Smith singing it on the radio all the time. God Bless America didn't seem realistic.

He set out to write a song that would be an answer to God Bless America. At first, he called it God Blessed America. Then he wrote the title as This Land Was Made For You and Me. Yes, he drew a line through those words, so the title at the time was This Land.

He used much of the same melody as a Baptist gospel hymn that had been the basis for a song by the Carter Family. With each verse, though, he changed the melody. When he reached the final verse, the song was completely different from that of the Carters and the hymn.

I'll stop here for today because I know most people don't like to read long posts. I'll give your more information about the lyrics, and I'll try to do it tomorrow.

I'll also provide you with the song again, but not sung by a contender in my contest. This Land Is Your Land has been recorded many times.

Sing us out, please, Neil.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


12 comments:

  1. Can't get much better than Neil Young, and thanks for the history on the song. I would never have known!

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    1. There's something about Neil's voice that I love. It's kind of quavery.

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  2. I've always liked this song. Neil did a nice job with it.

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    1. I like it, too. That's why so many people have recorded it. It's a rare person who doesn't like this song.

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  3. I learn something new every day and its because of you. ;p

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    1. Well, gol' durn. I'm pleased as punch.

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  4. I had no idea this song was a response to "God Bless America"-very interesting and how few people know about this fact.

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    1. I knew because I watch a lot of documentaries and read non-fiction.

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  5. I found this interesting so thank you, I also like the song

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  6. Since Neil Young is Canadian, just thought I'd mention that there is another version of this song too that uses all-Canadian landmarks in the lyrics. That's the version I learned in school in the 1960s when I was a kid.

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    1. I did not know that. Thanks for sharing.

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