Woody Guthrie

Folk music, Musical Artist

1912 – 1967

61

Who was Woody Guthrie?

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar. His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land." Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, Bob Childers and Tom Paxton have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.

Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when Guthrie traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour." Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups, though he was seemingly not a member of any.

Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children, including American folk musician Arlo Guthrie. Guthrie died from complications of Huntington's disease, a progressive genetic neurological disorder. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Guthrie served as a figurehead in the folk movement, providing inspiration to a generation of new folk musicians, including mentor relationships with Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan.

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Born
Jul 14, 1912
Okemah
Also known as
  • Woddy Guthrie
  • Woodie Guthrie
  • Woodrow Wilson Guthrie
  • Guthrie, Woody
Parents
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Stockbridge School
Lived in
  • New York City
    (1942 - 1945)
  • Pampa
    (1931 - 1937)
  • Okemah
    (1912 - 1931)
  • Coney Island
    (1946 - 1954)
  • New York City
    (1940 - 1941)
  • Los Angeles
    (1937 - 1940)
  • Portland
    (1941 - 1941)
Died
Oct 3, 1967
New York City

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Woody Guthrie." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 16 Aug. 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/woody_guthrie>.

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