Written (in 1940) in a reflex against Irving Berlin's over-patriotic God Bless America. Originally including some critical verses inspired by Depression-era situations. One of these verses, condemning private property, is included on this oldest existing version cut for Moses Asch. It was left out of his more common release for Decca in '52 (Guthrie's first official release was on a Folkways 10" in '51) . A good folk musician writes his new lyrics on existing melodies anyone can hum. Here Woody used the melody of gospel song (What You Gonna Do) When The World's On Fire (see there), also used by the Carter Family for their Little Darling, Pal Of Mine.
Bob Dylan [live version saved up for No Direction Home (Bootleg Series Vol. 7)]
Pete Seeger [version including the critical verses; again in 2009, the year of his 90th birthday, at the inauguration of President Obama, along with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger and Bruce Springsteen]
Sweet Honey In The Rock [with Pete Seeger & Doc Watson]
Chaka Demus & Pliers [as I Love You Like Crazy]
Brendan Croker [during his protest song tour and on Hubert's Hootenanny]
John Mellencamp [on Song Of America]
Jan Rot [as Dit Land Is Jouw Land]
Used as theme song during democratic candidate George McGovern's presidential campaign in 1972.