zaterdag 26 januari 2013

Hammer Song (1949) / If I had a Hammer

The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - HAMMER SONG, THE

"If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" is a song written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays. It was written in 1949 in support of the progressive movement, and was first recorded by The Weavers, a folk music quartet composed of Seeger, Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman, and then by Peter, Paul and Mary. The Weavers released the song under the title "The Hammer Song" as a 78 single in March, 1950 on Hootenanny Records, 101-A, backed with "Banks of Marble". This version was recorded in New York City in December 1949.

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But before the Hootenanny release, the Weavers had recorded the song in New York City in November 1949, for a possible release on the Charter-label. But this November 1949 recording wasn't released at the time. It was released on this Bear Family-album.

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Irwin Silber, in “Notes from an Editor’s Diary,” recalls he borrowed the name "Sing Out!" from the third verse of the “The Hammer Song” written by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger, which incidentally was printed on the cover of issue number one in 1950. It seemed to the publishers an appropriate aim to “sing out danger ... sing out a warning ... sing out love between all my brothers (and my sisters) all over this land.” Over the years, Sing Out! has proved as apt a name as could have applied to the impudent publication that squarely aimed its songs at oppression, and encouraged an army of singers to do the same.

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"The Hammer Song" was first performed publicly by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays on June 3, 1949 at St. Nicholas Arena on W. 66th Street in New York at a testimonial dinner for the leaders of the Communist Party of the United States, who were then on trial in federal court, charged with violating the Smith Act by advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. It was not particularly successful when it was first released, likely due in part to the political climate of the time. It fared notably better when it was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary more than a decade later. Their cover of the song, released in August 1962, became a Top 10 hit

Trini Lopez' version was a no 1 Hit in Belgium and The Netherlands.

Pete Seeger Live in Australia, 1963, as part of his world tour

Peter, Paul & Mary also sang it at the Civil Rights March on Washington - 28th August 1963

Dutch version in 1963 by Rob de Nijs.

French version ("Si j'avais un marteau") in 1963 by Claude Francois (no 1 in French Hitparade)

Italian version (as "Datemi Un Martello") by Rita Pavone in 1964 (no 1 in Italian Hitparade)

And what do you think of Debbie Reynolds !!! singing "If I Had a Hammer" ?

Here's a soul-version by Martha & The Vandellas in 1963

The song was countryfied in 1969 by Wanda Jackson


And Spanified by Victor Jara in 1969

And reggaefied in by Joe Gibbs in 1971, sung by Nicky Thomas

And gospelised in 1969 by The Caravans


Here's the Neville Brothers in 1993

And here's Aaron Neville solo in 2003 on his album Gospel Roots


And here's Nanci Griffith in 1998

In 1981 Will Tura sang the medley "Had Ik een Hamer / Amerika" on the album "LIEDJES DIE IK GRAAG GEZONGEN HAD (1960-1965)"

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