The Tabernacle Choir Blog

“This Land Is Your Land” was Originally Written with a Different Title in Mind

Composed as a critical response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” “This Land is Your Land” has stood the test of time as one of America’s most famous folk songs. Written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 and originally titled “God Blessed America For Me,” the song was based on an existing melody and went through a number of lyrical changes throughout its creation. A final version with two additional verses was recorded in 1944.

The song made a comeback in the 1960s as folk singers were moved by its message. Artists such as Bob Dylan, The Kingston Trio, and Bruce Springsteen have recorded it.

It was again brought to life in the popular television series Friends when the character Joey thought he had a “hand-twin.” This resulted in a hilarious new twist on the lyrics, which became “this hand is your hand.”

In any light, the song will continue to shine as an alternative national anthem and American classic. From the album Spirit of America, here is a video of the Choir singing “This Land Is Your Land.”