"This Land Is Your Land" is one of the United States' most famous folk songs. Its lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 based on an existing melody, in response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America", which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent. Tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it on the radio, he wrote a response originally called "God Blessed America for Me". Guthrie varied the lyrics over time, sometimes including more overtly political verses than appear in recordings or publications.
Guthrie wrote the song in 1940 and recorded it in 1944. The song was not published until 1951, when it was included in a mimeographed booklet of ten songs with typed lyrics and hand drawings. The booklet was sold for twenty-five cents, and copyrighted in 1945.
The first known professionally printed publication was in 1956 by Ludlow Music (now a unit of The Richmond Organization), which administered the publishing rights to Guthrie's tune. Ludlow later issued versions with piano and guitar accompaniments.
In 2002, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
Guthrie's melody was very similar to the melody of...