Philip Nel > Courses > American Studies 201: Introduction to American Studies (Spring 1998) > Some Music from the 1930s > "God Bless America" and "This Land Is Your Land"
 
"God Bless America"
Words and Music by Irving Berlin
As recorded by Kate Smith (1939)
 
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies, to the ocean white with foam --
God bless America, my home sweet home
 
(Repeat)
 

 
"This Land Is Your Land"
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie (1940)
As recorded by Woody Guthrie in the early 1940s (exact date unknown)
 
This land is your land, and this land is my land
From the 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 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 rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
All around me a voice was sounding --
This land was made for you and me
 
Was a big high wall there that tried to stop me
A sign was painted said: Private Property
But on the back side it didn't say nothing --
This land was made for you and me
 
One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
By the Relief Office I saw my people --
As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
This land was made for you and me
 
When the sun comes shining and I was strolling
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting
This land was made for you and me
 
This land is your land, and this land is my land
From the California, to the New York island
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

Guthrie said that he wrote this song because he was tired of hearing Kate Smith sing "God Bless America." In fact, before Guthrie changed each verse's concluding line to "This land was made for you and me," he ended each verse with "God blessed America for you and me."


SOURCE:

Guy Logsdon, "Notes on the Songs," liner notes to Woody Guthrie, This Land Is Your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1 (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997).

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