Music

Tom Paxton

Born 31 October 1937.
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Tom Paxton on Songwriting

In a clip from the 2009 interview for the BBC FOUR series Folk America, Tom Paxton talks about the first song he ever wrote and the moment he realised that he could have a career in music.

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Biography

Thomas Richard "Tom" Paxton (born October 31, 1937) is an American folk singer and singer-songwriter who has had a music career spanning more than fifty years. In 2009, Paxton received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Paxton's songs have demonstrated enduring appeal, including modern standards such as "The Last Thing on My Mind", "Bottle of Wine", "Whose Garden Was This", "The Marvelous Toy", and "Ramblin' Boy". Paxton's songs have been recorded by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, The Weavers, Judy Collins, Sandy Denny, Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Seekers, Marianne Faithfull, The Kingston Trio, The Chad Mitchell Trio, John Denver, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, Willie Nelson, Flatt & Scruggs, The Move, The Fireballs, and many others (see covers). He has performed thousands of concerts around the world.[citation needed]

Paxton's songs can be emotionally affective and cover a wide range of topics, from the serious and profound to the lighthearted and comical. "What Did You Learn in School Today?" mocks the way children are often taught lies. "Jimmy Newman" is the story of a dying soldier and "My Son John" is a moving song about a soldier who comes back home and cannot even begin to describe what he has been through. "Beau John" is a civil rights era song about taking a stand against racial injustice. "A Thousand Years" tells the chilling tale of Neo-Nazi uprising, and "Train for Auschwitz" is about the Holocaust. "On the Road to Srebrenica" is about Bosnian Muslims who were killed in a 1995 massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "The Bravest" is a song about the firefighters who gave their lives while trying to save others on September 11, 2001. Then there are Paxton's "short shelf life songs", which are topical songs about current events and things in the news. They include: "In Florida", about the 2000 election; "Without DeLay", a song about the former congressman; "Bobbitt", about John and Lorena Bobbitt; "Little Bitty Gun",

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