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This Land is Your Land

Wednesday 16 August 2006 20:45-21:00 (Radio 4 FM)


The series about songs which have had a political impact.

Robin Denselow tells the story of This Land is Your Land, a stirring patriotic ballad sung in every school in the US. Yet it's really an angry left-wing protest song composed by the radical folk singer Woody Guthrie - written in the Depression as a riposte to Irving Berlin's God Bless America.

But those verses with a political message are now usually omitted and Guthrie's most popular song has become an anthem of the right as well as the left. It's been recorded by everyone from Bing Crosby to Pete Seeger, and from Billy Bragg to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and was even performed at President Bush's victory party in 2004.

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More than Just a Song

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