We Shall Overcome (Bernie Sanders album)

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We Shall Overcome
We Shall Overcome (Bernie Sanders album) cassette front cover.jpg
BurlingTown cassette cover
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 12, 1987
RecordedNovember 1987
StudioWhite Crow Audio
(Burlington, Vermont)
Length26:31 (Side A)
  • Todd Lockwood
  • Douglas Jaffe

We Shall Overcome is an album by American politician Bernie Sanders, recorded and released in 1987. The album combined folk music and spoken word, narrated by Sanders. He was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, at the time of the album's release. The album was remastered and rereleased in 2014 and gained wide exposure during Sanders' presidential campaign.[1]


In 1987, Burlington-based music producer Todd Lockwood was sipping coffee at Leunig's Bistro when he came up with the idea to approach the city's mayor, Bernie Sanders, to record a musical project at his studio, White Crow Audio.[2] Lockwood wrote a letter to Mayor Sanders and a meeting was arranged at the mayor's office. Lockwood originally imagined the album as an audio portrait of Bernie Sanders, but Sanders saw it as an opportunity to tell a much larger story.

Sanders made a list of ten songs he would be willing to record, five of which made the cut for the album.[3]

Once word of the project spread among the Vermont music community, musicians began lining up to be part of it. The studio sessions were reminiscent of the Michael Jackson - Lionel Richie recording, "We Are the World".

Commercial performance[edit]

It is estimated that the 1987 cassette tape sold about 600 to 800 copies,[4][5] out of 1,000 that were produced.[5] The 2014 reissue has sold about 3,000 copies as of March 2016.[6] The album reportedly landed Sanders at No. 116 on Billboard's Top New Artist chart in February 2016.[7]

Sanders signed a record contract in 1987 that would guarantee him royalties for any profits made, but did not receive any at the time due to the album's high production costs.[4][8] In 2016, Sanders earned $2,521 in royalties for his participation in the recording.[9]

Track listing[edit]

Side A
1."Oh Freedom"4:24
2."The Banks of Marble"5:51
3."Where Have All the Flowers Gone"5:48
4."This Land Is Your Land"3:06
5."We Shall Overcome"7:22
Side B
6."A Conversation with Bernie Sanders" 


Credits are taken from liner notes of We Shall Overcome.[10]


  • Andy Shapiro – piano
  • Tom Berd – organ
  • Don Sidney – electric guitar
  • Mark Ransom – electric bass
  • Jeff Salisbury – drums

Guest musicians[edit]

  • Howard Mitchell – background vocals, chorus
  • Ginny Peck – background vocals, chorus
  • Emily Wadhams – background vocals, chorus
  • David Weaver – background vocals, chorus
  • Steve Rainville – background vocals
  • Chris Bailey – chorus
  • Nancy Beaven – chorus
  • Marcia Brewster – chorus
  • Dexter Brown – chorus
  • Kathy Carbone – chorus
  • Danny Coane – chorus
  • Joanne "Little Joyce" Cooper – chorus
  • David Daignault – chorus
  • Frank Egan – chorus
  • Dana Lavigne – chorus
  • Tom Lyon – chorus
  • Joe Moore – chorus
  • Rick Norcross – chorus
  • Michael Oakland – chorus
  • Debbie Patton – chorus
  • Pamela Polston – chorus
  • KK Wilder – chorus



  • Don Sidney – musical
  • Douglas Jaffe – harmony vocals

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Chuck Eller – engineering
  • Todd Lockwood – engineering, production
  • Douglas Jaffe – production
  • Adam Ayan – digital mastering
  • Gateway Mastering – digital mastering

Artistic personnel[edit]

  • Glenn Russell – photograph

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
United States December 12, 1987 Cassette BurlingTown [11][12]
December 1, 2014 CD Todd R. Lockwood Works [13]
Worldwide Digital download

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bethea, Charles (October 27, 2015). "What a Real Folk Singer Thinks About Bernie Sanders' Folk Album". Politico. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  2. ^ Davis, Mark (September 17, 2014). "Bernie Sanders Recorded a Folk Album. No Punchline Required". Seven Days. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  3. ^ Ledbetter, Stewart (November 26, 2014). "From The Archives: The Bernie Project". WPTZ. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Kludt, Tom (February 5, 2016). "Bernie Sanders' folk album enjoys a sales surge". CNNMoney. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Napoli, James. "We Shall Overcome". Atavist. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Trust, Gary (March 27, 2016). "Ask Billboard: Ariana Grande's Sales, Kelly Clarkson's Streak & … Bernie Sanders' Sales, Too". Billboard. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  7. ^ Bolles, Dan (February 8, 2016). "Bernie's Folk Album Is (Maybe) Tearing Up the Charts". Seven Days. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  8. ^ Stuart, Tessa (December 2, 2015). "The Untold Story of Bernie Sanders' 1987 Folk Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  9. ^ Walters, John (June 4, 2017). "Walters: Bernie Sanders Made More Than $1 Million in 2016". Seven Days. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  10. ^ We Shall Overcome (Media notes). Bernie Sanders. Todd R. Lockwood Works. 2014. TRLW-101.
  11. ^ "Album: "We Shall Overcome" by Bernie Sanders and 30 Vermont Artists". Seven Days. December 10, 1987. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  12. ^ Davis, Mark (September 17, 2014). "Bernie Sanders Recorded a Folk Album. No Punchline Required". Seven Days. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  13. ^ Ledbetter, Stewart (November 27, 2014). "Sen. Bernie Sanders: Recording Artist". Burlington, VT: WPTZ. Retrieved November 16, 2015.

External links[edit]