Woody Guthrie was born Woodrow Wilson Guthrie on July 14, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. A keen observer of the world around him, he began to travel across the country as a teenager and spent much of his life on the road with his guitar and harmonica. Guthrie composed and sang ballads based on his own country heritage about hard working folks—telling stories and sharing ideas. In song he described the beauty of the American landscape and chronicled the reality of life’s hardships for the common man during the first half of the 20th century.
Woody Guthrie is the father of the social protest song and without him there may not have been a Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen. Guthrie was one of the first 50 musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it opened in 1988. He wrote over 1,000 songs—the most famous was This Land is Your Land.