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20 Facts About This Land Is Your Land

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1

"This Land Is Your Land" is one of the United States' most famous folk songs.

Pete Seeger - This Land Is Your Land by Robert Max Schwartz

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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.

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie was an American singer-songwriter and musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional, and children's songs, along with ballads and improvised works.

Irving Berlin was a Russian-born American composer and lyricist, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history.

"God Bless America" is an American patriotic song written by Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised by him in 1938.

This Land is Your Land: Canada (Music Video) by Luke Towers

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" When Guthrie was tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it on the radio in the late 1930s he sarcastically wrote "God Blessed America for Me" before renaming it "This Land Is Your Land.

Kathryn Elizabeth Smith, known professionally as Kate Smith and The First Lady of Radio, was an American singer, a mezzo-soprano, best known for her rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America".

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The original lyrics to the song included this verse:

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"There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me.

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The sign was painted, said 'Private Property.

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' But on the backside, it didn't say nothing.

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This land was made for you and me."

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This verse was never released even though it was recorded by Moses Asch in 1944.

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This original version was basically lost, until a Smithsonian archivist, Jeff Place, heard the master version of it on the acetate record in 1997 when it was being transferred to a digital format.

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This transfer was made in order to preserve its history for the museum.

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Guthrie also wrote another protest verse that was never officially recorded but was celebrated by his own son, the folksinger Arlo Guthrie, as well as Pete Seeger.

Peter "Pete" Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist.

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They even made a point to sing the more radical verses to "This Land Is Your Land," and they also revived verses that Guthrie wrote but never officially recorded.

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This verse was found by, and is still in possession of, Woody Guthrie's daughter, Nora.

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"One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple, by the relief office I saw my people.

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As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if God Blessed America for me."

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Nora Guthrie mentioned that she had an idea about why these words were never recorded at the 1944 session and why the 'private property' verse that was recorded was never issued.

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In her own words she said, "This is the early '50s, and [U.S. Sen. Joseph] McCarthy's out there, and it was considered dangerous in many ways to record this kind of material.

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" She went on to say that, "If my dad had done the recording, I don't think it would have meant anything to him if he was imprisoned, actually.

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" "He was quite used to living without and having nights in prison and things like that.

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