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Woody Guthrie

American singer-songwriter and folk musician

Woody Guthrie

American singer-songwriter and folk musician
ALL ARTIST INFO IS PULLED FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE DATA.
IF YOU REPRESENT THIS ARTIST AND WOULD LIKE TO VERIFY YOUR PAGE OR UPDATE THE INFO, Click Here
birthday
14th
July, 1912
Death
3rd
October, 1967
Birth Place
Okemah, Oklahoma, U.S.
Birth Sign
cancer
Biography

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (; July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter, and one of the most significant figures in early American folk music. His work focused on themes of American socialism and anti-fascism. His music includes songs such as “This Land Is Your Land”, written to oppose the American exceptionalist song “God Bless America”, and has inspired several generations both politically and musically.
Guthrie wrote hundreds of country, folk, and children’s songs, along with ballads and improvised works. His album of songs about the Dust Bowl period, Dust Bowl Ballads, was included on Mojo magazine’s list of 100 Records That Changed The World, and many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Hunter, Harry Chapin, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Jeff Tweedy, Tom Paxton, Brian Fallon, and Sixto Rodr guez have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence on their work. He frequently performed with the slogan “This machine kills fascists” displayed on his guitar.
Guthrie was brought up by middle-class parents in Okemah, Oklahoma, until he was 14, when his mother Nora was hospitalized as a consequence of Huntington’s disease, a fatal hereditary neurological disorder. His father moved to Pampa, Texas, to repay debts from unsuccessful real estate deals. During his early teens, Guthrie learned folk and blues songs from his parents’ friends. He married at 19, but with the advent of the dust storms that marked the Dust Bowl period, he left his wife and three children to join the thousands of Okies who were migrating to California looking for employment. He worked at Los Angeles radio station KFVD, achieving some fame from playing hillbilly music; made friends with Will Geer and John Steinbeck; and wrote a column for the communist newspaper People’s World from May 1939 to January 1940.
Throughout his life, Guthrie was associated with United States communist groups, although he did not appear to belong to any. With the outbreak of World War II and the non-aggression pact the Soviet Union had signed with Germany in 1939, the anti-Stalin owners of KFVD radio were not comfortable with Guthrie’s political leanings after he wrote a song praising the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the Soviet invasion of Poland. He left the station, ending up in New York where he wrote and recorded his 1940 album Dust Bowl Ballads, based on his experiences during the 1930s, which earned him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour”. In February 1940 he wrote his most famous song, “This Land Is Your Land”. He said it was a response to what he felt was the overplaying of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” on the radio.
Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children. His son Arlo Guthrie became nationally known as a musician. Woody died in 1967 from complications of Huntington’s disease. His first two daughters also died of the disease. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Guthrie became an icon in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk and country musicians, including mentoring Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan.

instruments played
fiddle
Guitar
Harmonica
mandolin
Vocals
Allegiance

United States

Associated Acts

Almanac Singers

Battleswars

World War II

Birth Name

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie

Genres

American folk music protest music country talking blues

Occupations

Singer-songwriter musician

Servicebranch

United States Army United States Merchant Marine

Years Active

1930 1956

Years Of Service

1943 1945 (Merchant Marine) 1945 (Army)

Name

Woody Guthrie

Nationality

United States of America

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