This Land is My Land

The isolationist version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” is probably about as old as the song itself. The song didn’t attract much notice when Guthrie first wrote it, but by the late 1950s a somewhat-watered-down version was being taught to campers everywhere. The campers made up their own:

This land is my land
it isn’t your land
I’ve got a shut gun
you haven’t got one
you’d better get off
I’ll blow your head off
this land is private property.
(alt: this land was made for only me)

It’s the folk process at work – adapting another song to fit your own politics (or just to make a joke). Guthrie himself did it all the time.

And Guthrie himself could have answered the parody with one of the verses of the original (which the kids probably weren’t taught):

there was a big high wall there
it tried to stop me
one said was painted
said “private property”
but on the BACK side,
it didn’t say nothin!
This land was made for you and me

The parody, with some minor variations, is known to have gone around since at least the 1960s. How did YOU sing it?

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1 Comment

  1. Merav Hoffman

    This went around the school yard at my Jewish day school as the 'Israeli' version, in London, ON, circa 1980-1986:

    This land is your land,
    This land is my land,
    From the Arab border,
    To the Arab border,
    To the Arab border,
    To the Arab bor-or-der,
    This land was made for you and me!


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