Yours and Mine: "This Land is Your Land"
If America can name one beloved folk song, "This Land is Your Land" will be included in many people's list.
This folk song / hymn is one of the most enduring songs that are loved by the country and its people. The American lyricist Woody Guthrie wrote it in 1940. The melody was borrowed from "When the World's on Fire," a Carter Family Tune, with some distinct differences in the melodic structure. The song was chosen in 2002 by the Library of Congress as one of the 50 songs included in the National Recording Registry. The melody has its history, with its origins from a Baptist gospel hymn called "Oh, My Loving Brother."
There are two versions of the song. One is the original 1940 version, an unrecorded version, and the 1944 version, which was recorded. There are differences between the two versions. First, the 1940 version has six stanzas while 1944 has only four stanzas. The original Verse Four was removed because it mentions private property and Verse Six because it talks about hunger. Second, the lines of the original 1940 have six lines per stanza while 1944 only has only four lines. Third, specific lines were omitted in 1944. The line "This land was made for you and me" was added in 1944 while the other line "God Blessed America for me" was removed.
The 1940 version was composed on February 23, 1940, at the Hanover House Hotel in New York. The original version has Guthrie's strikeouts, with the original title called "God Blessed America." It was replaced by "This Land Was Made For You & Me." Later, Guthrie also strikeout the last six lines in the title, and retaining only the first worst two words as the title.
The song's earliest known recording was in March 1944 and was marked as "private property."