October 1, 1967 – Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie was born on July 14 1912. American singer-songwriter and folk musician, whose musical legacy includes 100s 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”, which is regularly sung in American schools. Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress. Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton have acknowledged their debt to Woody as an influence.
He traveled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California and learned traditional folk and blues songs. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour”.
Throughout his life Woody was associated with United States communist groups, though he was never an actual member of any. During his later years, in spite of his illness, Woody 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.
Woody was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 1997. He died from complications of Huntington’s disease at age 55 .