This Land Is Your Land (God Blessed America)

On Feb. 23, 1940, Woody Guthrie wrote six verses of "God Blessed America" in the Hanover House hotel near Times Square, each verse eneding with the refrain "God blessed America for me." When Moses Asch made the first recording of this song in April 1944, he changed the title to "This Land Is Your Land" and the refrain to "This land was made for you and me." This recording still had the original 4th and 6th verses. The song was written in protest to Irving Berlin's song "God Bless America" that was sung by Kate Smith on her CBS radio program Nov. 11, 1938. Woody wrote his song as a more accurate description of America than Irving Berlin's. Guthrie wrote about "dust clouds rolling" and the "great high wall" of Private Property" and "By the relief office I saw my people As they stood hungry" and he did not invoke God as a solution to America's dangers.



This land is your land, this land is my land
From the California to the Staten Island,
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters,
God blessed America for me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
And saw above me that endless skyway,
And saw below me the golden valley, I said:
God blessed America for me.

I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts,
And all around me, a voice was sounding:
God blessed America for me.

Was a 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 -
God blessed America for me.

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling;
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting:
God blessed America for 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
God blessed America for me.

In Dec. 1944, Woody began his weekly 15-minute radio show on WNEW in New York with "This Land" as its theme song. He deleted the two original protest verses, and added a new verse:

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back.
This Land was made for you a me.

But this version of the song never became popular. Instead, the popular version was recorded by Guthrie in 1947 and was sold for the first time in a national release in the 1951 Folkways album, This Land Is Your Land. Woody recorded a revised third verse in the Jan. 7, 1952, recording session for Delta Records, but it was never released until it was included in the 1996 set, Songs for Political Action.

I can see your mailbox, I can see your doorstep
I can feel my wind rock your tip top tree top
All around your house there my sun beam whispers
This land was made for you and me.

Bruce Springsteen sang the modern version at Nassau Coliseum, Dec. 28, 1980, recorded on his album Live 1975-1985.

Well I rode that ribbon highway
I saw above me the endless skyway
I saw below me the golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I've roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
Through the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was calling
This land was made for you and me

This land is your land, This land is my land
From California To the New York island
From the Redwood Forest To the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me

Now the sun came shining and I was strolling
Through wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
And a voice was sounding As the fog was lifting
Saying this land was made for you and me

This land is your land, This land is my land
From California To the New York island
From the Redwood Forest To the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me


revised 4/1/07 by Steven Schoenherr | Songs