This Land is Your Land

Song. By Woodie Guthrie. Recorded in 1940.
Classic folk song written as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”

  • Themes: Organizing | Resource Types: Songs and Poems

Lyrics by Woody Guthrie. Click on image for YouTube of Guthrie performing the song.

“This Land Is Your Land” is one of the United States’ most famous folk songs. The lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 based on an existing melody, in critical response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent. He originally called it “God Blessed America for Me.”

Guthrie varied the lyrics over time and recorded it in 1944. The song was not published until 1951, when it was included in a mimeographed booklet of ten songs with typed lyrics and hand drawings.

In 2002, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. [From Wikipedia]

This Land is Your Land

This land is your land, this land is my land

From California, to the New York Island

From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me

 

As I was walking a ribbon of highway

I saw above me an endless skyway

I saw below me a golden valley

This land was made for you and me

The two verses often left out:

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.

 

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,

By the relief office I seen my people;

As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking

Is this land made for you and me?

View full lyrics.

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There are 3 comments by other visitors:

  • Love this! Guthrie is a native of Okemah, Oklahoma. Every summer, in July, a folk music festival is held there to celebrate his birth and life. Come join in the singing!!!

    Response shared by sabrat — April 15, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  • This sounds more like Woody Guthrie actually wrote it – much, much more realistic!!!!

    Response shared by Alexa Penn — August 12, 2014 @ 11:41 am

  • This Land is Your Land should be our national anthem.

    Not the song about war, gunfire and streaming rockets.

    Response shared by Percival Hunter — February 23, 2015 @ 9:22 pm

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