Happy Birthday Woody!

Since this blog is the union of Oklahoma and Math, we couldn’t miss on mentioning that today is the 100th birthday of Oklahoma native son, Woody Guthrie.

Woody Guthrie

He was born in Okemah and they now host the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival (it’s this weekend!). Many people consider Woody to be one of the (if not the) most influential American musician.  He wrote 3,000+ songs (they’re still discovering new ones in his collected papers!) and they’ve been recorded by tons of musicians.

Perhaps his most famous is “This Land Is Your Land“, which he wrote in 1940.

Here’s Bruce Springsteen singing in concert:

We also really like this quote by Woody:

I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling.

I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built.

I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work.

— Woody Guthrie

Last and not least, if you’d like to hear a bunch of Woody’s songs song by him and others, and hear about his life, there’s a great two part program on the American Routes radio show which you can listen to here.