If I Had a Hammer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"The Hammer Song"
Original 1950 release by The Weavers on Hootenanny Records, 101-A.
Single by The Weavers
B-side "Banks of Marble"
Released 1950
Format Vinyl single
Genre Folk music
Label Hootenanny Records
Writer(s) Pete Seeger
Lee Hays
"If I Had A Hammer"
Single by Peter, Paul and Mary
Single by Peter, Paul and Mary
from the album Peter, Paul and Mary
B-side "Gone The Rainbow"
Released 1962
Format Vinyl single
Genre Folk music
Length 2:11
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Pete Seeger
Lee Hays
Producer(s) Albert Grossman
Milt Okun
Peter, Paul and Mary singles chronology
"Lemon Tree"
(1962)
"If I Had A Hammer"
(1962)
"Puff, the Magic Dragon"
(1963)
"If I Had A Hammer"
Single by Trini Lopez
Single by Trini Lopez
from the album Trini Lopez at PJ's
B-side "Unchain My Heart"
Released 1963
Format Vinyl single
Genre Folk music
Pop music
Length 2:59
Label Reprise
Writer(s) Pete Seeger
Lee Hays
Producer(s) Don Costa
Trini Lopez singles chronology
"If I Had a Hammer"
(1963)
"Kansas City"
(1963)

"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. It was a number 10 hit for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962 and then went to number three a year later when recorded by Trini Lopez.

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".

Early versions[edit]

The song was first performed publicly by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays on June 3, 1949, at St. Nicholas Arena 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.[1] It was not particularly successful in commercial terms when it was first released. It was part of the three songs Seeger played as the warm-up act for Paul Robeson's September 4 concert near Peekskill, New York, which subsequently erupted into a riot.[2]

Hit versions[edit]

It fared notably better in commercial terms when it was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary a dozen years later. Their cover of the song, released in August 1962, became a Top 10 hit. Trini Lopez's 1963 single went to number three on the same Billboard chart. It was included on his album, Trini Lopez at PJ's (Reprise R/RS 6093).[3]

Foreign language versions[edit]

Language Title Artist
Italian "Datemi un martello"[4] Rita Pavone
French "Si j'avais un marteau"[4] Claude François, Les Surfs
Bulgarian "Ako imah chuk"[4][5] Lili Ivanova
Spanish "El martillo" Victor Jara
Czech "Kladivo"[4] Waldemar Matuška
Arabic "Law endi shekoush" Mayada

Other versions[edit]

Legacy[edit]

The song "If I Had a Hammer" was a Freedom Song of the American Civil Rights movement.

Wikileaks chose the song as its "Wikileaks song".[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Town Talk," The Daily Worker, June 1, 1949
  2. ^ Frillmann, Karen. "Today in History: Peekskill Riots". WYNC (New York), 4 September 2009. Accessed 25 January 2015.
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 21 - Forty Miles of Bad Road: Some of the best from rock 'n' roll's dark ages. [Part 2]" (AUDIO). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.  Track 2.
  4. ^ a b c d "Adaptations of The Hammer Song by The Weavers - SecondHandSongs". 
  5. ^ "If I Had A Hammer". 
  6. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 19 - Blowin' in the Wind: Pop discovers folk music. [Part 2]" (AUDIO). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  7. ^ "Inspirational Material". 

External links[edit]