This is the national anthem we actually know the words to.

All of America sings it at school and summer camp; Bruce Springsteen sang it at President Obama's inauguration. Yet Woody Guthrie's song was once called anti-American, even Communist. Pete Seeger explains how Guthrie wrote it as a sarcastic response to "God Bless America"; soul singer Sharon Jones tells us what the song means to her as a descendant of slaves. Leftist, environmentalist, nationalist, or patriotic --- "This Land" allows everyone to sing it their way.

"This Land Is Your Land" wasproduced by Studio 360'sPejk Malinovski.

Bonus Tracks: Sharon Jones on "This Land Is Your Land"
Soul singer Sharon Jones describes the special meaning the lyrics of "This Land Is Your Land" hold for her.

"This Land Is Your Land," performed by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
The group performs its own interpretation of Guthrie's song.

 Miro AnterBonus Track: A Powerful Translation
Swedish folk singer Mikael Wiehe explains how translating and singing "This Land Is Your Land" inspired courage after he had received death threats from neo-Nazi groups.

Video: Studio 360 Visits Pete Seeger

  • Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” in 1940. The song’s success wasn’t certain in its early history; it was once called “communist” and “anti-American,” but it eventually became a sort of unofficial national anthem.

    Credit:

    Credit: Courtesy of The Woody Guthrie Archives. Used by permission.

  • Woody Guthrie, at left with guitar, and Pete Seeger, with banjo. Guthrie and Seeger met at a midnight benefit concert in New York when Guthrie was 29 and Seeger was 22.

    Credit:

    Credit: Courtesy of The Woody Guthrie Archives. Used by permission.

  • Pete Seeger leads the crowd in singing “This Land Is Your Land” at the celebration for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

    Credit:

    Credit: Donna Lou Morgan, U.S. Navy

  • Woody Guthrie’s Birthplace in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma in October 1979. Guthrie was born into a middle-class family that fell on hard times during the Great Depression.

    Credit:

    Credit: Walter Smalling, Courtesy of The Library of Congress

  • The original, handwritten lyrics to “This Land Is Your Land,” dated February 23, 1940.

    Credit:

    Credit: Courtesy of The Woody Guthrie Archives. Used by permission.

  • Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, says Woody originally wrote the line “God blessed America for me” as a parody of the Irving Berlin song, “God Bless America.” That lyric became the now-familiar “this land is made for you and me.”

    Credit:

    Credit: Courtesy of The Woody Guthrie Archives. Used by permission.

  • Woody Guthrie with his wife, Mary Guthrie, and children at the piano, in 1940. In his 1943 auobiography, Bound for Glory, they're left unmentioned.

    Credit:

    Credit: Courtesy of The Woody Guthrie Archives. Used by permission.

  • Woody Guthrie, in 1943, with “This Machine Kills Fascists” written on his guitar.

    Credit:

    Credit: Photograph by Lester Balog, Courtesy of The Woody Guthrie Archives. Used by permission.

  • Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings reinterpreted “This Land Is Your Land” in a 2005 recording. Jones says she never paid much attention to the song when she first heard it, but found new meaning when she considered the lyrics.

    Credit:

    Credit: John Carrico

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