While his life was short, and tragic – he managed to become the most important American folk musician of the first half of the 20th century, and leave an unmistakeable impact on the second half of the century in the process.
While “This Land is Your Land” may be one of the most important songs ever put to a recording, Woody’s legacy lives more in the omnipresent shadow he cast on popular music. His unmistakeable persona, approach to his craft, and penchant for championing a cause set the stage for many a musician for years to come. As indie and folk music continues to creep more and more into the mainstream, Woody’s influence on popular music is arguably at an all time high.
His music was revolutionary, his story was triumphant and tragic, and his persona iconic – 100 years later Woody Guthrie is one of the best we ever had. Happy Birthday Woody, I’ll see you on the other side.