Born: July 14, 1912
Died: October 3, 1967 Place of Birth: Okemah, Oklahoma
Woody Guthrie was a major folk song singer-composer whose songs reflected the deplorable living and working conditions
of many Americans at the time.
Both of his parents were musically inclined and influenced Guthrie to take an interest in music.
He experienced several setbacks as a youth which made his personal life difficult.
As an individual, Guthrie was very observant and understanding of life around him.
For example, he saw his home town experience an "oil boom" only to witness what happens when the oil stops flowing.
In the 1930's Guthrie married and started to raise a family only to be faced with what became known as The Great Depression.
Broke and without employment, he decided to go to California where it was understood work was available.
Guthrie found by painting signs, singing in bars, and taking odd jobs he could make his way gradually to the west.
On this trek, he experienced what poverty was all about and how there was a gap between the rich and the poor.
When he arrived in California, Guthrie found work on radio station KFVD, singing folk songs and traditional songs he had
learned from his father but also included a number of songs he himself had written.
He became a popular figure singing songs that sometimes were critical of corrupt politicians and businessmen.
Guthrie left California and moved to New York in 1941 where he eventually served in the Merchant Marines and the Army.
During this war time, Guthrie wrote many anti-Hitler songs, demonstrated his skill as an artist, and authored a popular novel
entitled Bound for Glory.
With several other popular folk song singers, Guthrie formed a group known as The Almanacs which later became
The Weavers, one of America's most prominent folk song groups.
Guthrie continued to write lyrics for thousands of songs and poems and he was sincerely admired by his fellow artists for his efforts.
Unfortunately, Guthrie developed Huntington's Disease, a devastating nerve disorder which impeded the last years of his life and, it is thought now, previously killed his mother.
Woody Guthrie is best remembered for his folk song, This Land Is Your Land.
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