This Land Is Your Land is one of the most famous folk songsof the United States . The lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 on an existing music, and that, in response to God Bless America by Irving Berlin he considered unrealistic and sufficient. Tired of hearing Kate Smith sing this song, he wrote a reply, God Blessed America for Me 1 , and changed the words in the interpretations, sometimes adding to more political.

Guthrie drew the melody of This Land Is Your Land essentially from When the World’s Fire , a Baptist song recorded by the Carter Family ten years earlier. However, some sources believe that an original Carter Family song, Little Darlin ‘Pal of Mine , is the melody source of This Land 2 .

 

Original lyrics (1944)

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to New York Island
From the Forest Redwood to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
I saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me.
I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While All around me a voice was sounding
Saying this land was made for you and me.
The sun came shining, I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to New York Island
From the Forest Redwood to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me.

Recovery

In 2002, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings took over this song. The third and fourth verses are inspired by those sung by Woody Guthrie in the oldest known recording, dated March 1944 3 . The third and fourth verses of the recovery are:

As I was walking, now, they tried to stop me 4
They put up a sign that said, oh, it said: Private Property
Well, on the back side, you know it said nothing
So, it must be done for you and me
One bright sunny morning, well, in the shadow of a steeple
Down by the welfare office, I saw my people
You know, now, they stood hungry, I stood wondering
I was wondering if this land was made for you and me
This land is your land, this land is my land
From Riverside, California, oh, to Staten Island
Well, oh, down to Modesto, Georgia, oh, do not forget to say Philadelphia, oh
We’re moving down to Mississippi, oh, Houston, Texas, LA ah
Yeah, you know, oh, this land is your land, this land is my land
This land is your land
You’ve got to believe, this my land
Ooh, this land was made for you and me

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Woody Guthrie: this man is your myth, this myth is my man  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ ( in ) Ed Cray , Ramblin Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie , New York, WW Norton & Company,Pocket ( ISBN  978-0-393-32736-6 ) , p.  165
  3. ↑ This land is your land
  4. ↑ ” Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings: This Land Is Your Land ”  [ archive ] (accessed August 7, 2015 )