Who Was Really Ticked-Off By “God Bless America”?

Posted by Dave

Since Kate Smith first sang “God Bless America” on November 11th, 1938, it has become our unofficial National Anthem. It would have made its composer, Irving Berlin, filthy rich – except for 2 things:
1. He was already filthy rich.
2. He donated every penny of the proceeds to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

So – how could you not like such a song? And yet, one American composer of that era hated it so much that, in protest, he wrote a bitter response called “God Blessed America For Me.” We still sing that melody today. What is it? I’ll answer that question, right after Today’s Tip:

If you are planning an upcoming event at which “Seasoned Citizens” will be taking part, remember that they operate on “Senior Time.” They will show up at (or even before) the announced start time, and will be among the very first to leave. So, to the extent that want them to enjoy the evening too, adjust your schedule to theirs. Serve all food (including dessert) and make all important speeches early. There will be plenty of time later for your younger guests to party.

Okay – which composer was offended by Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”? Folk singer Woody Guthrie, that’s who. He dashed off a response called “God Blessed America For Me.” It included angry verses about bread lines and dishonest bankers. We seldom hear those verses any more. In fact, Guthrie’s rant has become a patriotic, rather than a protest, song. And most of us today know the tune by it’s “other” name – “This Land Is Your Land.”

 

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