Woody Guthrie

Icons of the Century

How different would America be if at every sporting and social event its citizens gathered and sang Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” celebrating their country’s natural wonders and the common ownership of its land and government instead of a ditty extolling warfare and pyrotechnic munitions?

Guthrie’s 1,000-song legacy inspired Bobby Zimmerman to become Bob Dylan, even though, by the time he was 40, Guthrie’s career was stifled first by his leftist politics, then the ravages of the disease Huntington’s chorea.

But his hobo tunes like “So Long It’s Been Good to Know You” and “Pastures of Plenty,” and powerful social commentaries like “Deportee” ensured that the boy from Okemah, Okla., was “Bound for Glory.”

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