Woody Guthrie’s “Lindbergh”

Today is Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday, and I’m reminded that he wrote a scathing  song about Lindbergh and his opposition to American entry into World War II.  Oddly, Guthrie’s song wasn’t written or recorded until about 1944, long after Lindbergh’s outspoken efforts for the “America First” movement in 1940 and 1941.  The song was recorded by the  folk-music legend Moses Asch and released on his Folkways label; it was included in the Smithsonian’s famous 4-volume set of Guthrie songs in the late 1990s.

The song’s lyrics are worth revisiting, and the tune– with its catchy refrain, “In Washington, Washington”–is a memorable one. You can hear the song on this Youtube video, accompanied by some fairly strange footage.

Mister Charlie Lindbergh, he flew to old Berlin,

Got ‘im a big Iron Cross, and he flew right back again

To Washington, Washington.

Mrs. Charlie Lindbergh, she come dressed in red,

Said: “I’d like to sleep in that pretty White House bed

In Washington, Washington.”

Lindy said to Annie: “We’ll get there by and by,

But we’ll have to split the bed up with Wheeler, Clark, and Nye

In Washington, Washington.”  [Wheeler, Clark and Nye were congressmen who supported America First]

Hitler wrote to Lindy, said “Do your very worst,”

Lindy started an outfit that he called America First

In Washington, Washington.

All around the country, Lindbergh, he did fly,

Gasoline was paid for by Hoover, Clark, and Nye

In Washington, Washington.

Lindy said to Hoover: “We’ll do the same as France:

Make a deal with Hitler, and then we’ll get our chance

In Washington, Washington.”

Then they had a meetin’, and all the Firsters come,

Come on a-walkin’, they come on a-runnin’,

In Washington, Washington.

Yonder comes Father Coughlin, wearin’ the silver chain,

Cash on his stomach and Hitler on the brain.

In Washington, Washington.

Mister John L. Lewis would sit and straddle a fence,

His daughter signed with Lindbergh, and we ain’t seen her since

In Washington, Washington.

Hitler said to Lindy: “Stall ’em all you can,

Gonna bomb Pearl Harbor with the help of old Japan.”

In Washington, Washington.

Then on a December mornin’, the bombs come from Japan,

Wake Island and Pearl Harbor, kill fifteen hundred men.

In Washington, Washington

Now Lindy tried to join the army, but they wouldn’t let ‘im in,

‘Fraid he’d sell to Hitler a few more million men.

In Washington, Washington

So I’m a gonna tell you people: If Hitler’s gonna be beat,

The common workin’ people has got to take the seat

In Washington, Washington.

And I’m gonna tell you workers, ‘fore you cash in your checks:

They say “America First,” but they mean “America Next!”

In Washington, Washington.

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