Unit 8: Post-WWII United States, 1945-1970

United/Divided | War & Peace | Work | Home | Moving Along | Faith & Ideals


“We Shall Overcome”

Zilphia Horton, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan, Pete Seeger

1960 Gospel hymn turned Civil Rights anthem

Lyric source

“The Times They Are A-Changin”

Bob Dylan, 1963
A folk song about the inevitability of change

Lyric source | Recording | Recording online


Otis Redding, 1965
A soul song which became the cry of women and ethnic minorities

Lyric source | Recording | Recording online

“Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”

James Brown, 1968
The master of soul’s call for black pride

Recording | Recording online

“Okie from Muskogee”

Merle Haggard, 1970
A country singer’s “Silent Majority” response to hippies

Lyric source | Recording


War and Peace


“Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag”

Country Joe and the Fish, 1965
A satirical “recruiting” song for a less than popular war


Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, 1970
A commemoration of the deaths of four students at Kent State University

Lyric source | Recording




“Sixteen Tons”

Merle Travis, 1947
A country complaint about owing your soul to the company store.

Lyric source | Recording

“Get A Job”

The Silhouettes, 1957
Doo-wop song about being unemployed

Lyric source | Recording


Woody Guthrie, Martin Hoffman, c. 1947
Folk song about the forgotten farm workers killed in the plane crash at Los Gatos

Lyric source | Recording


“Little Boxes”

Malvina Reynolds, 1962
A lament against the sameness of suburbia

“Wives and Lovers”

Hal David and Burt Bacharach, 1963
An encapsulation of what was expected of women in the 1960s

Lyric source | Recording

“At Seventeen”

Janis Ian, 1975
A ballad about the emotional turmoil of adolescence

Lyric source | Recording


Moving Along


“America” from West Side Story

Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, 1957
Musical theatre hit about the Puerto Rican immigrant’s experience in America

Lyric source | Recording | Recording online

“I Get Around”

Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), 1964
California rock song about the joy of cruising

Lyric source | Recording


Faith and Ideals


“This Land is Your Land”

Woody Guthrie, 1944, 1956
Folk answer to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”

Lyric source | Recording | Recording online

“The Hammer Song (If I Had a Hammer)”

Lee Hays and Pete Seeger, 1958
Radical song about using the tools one has to succeed

“Get Together”

Dino Valenti (aka Chet Powers), 1963
Song imploring peace and brotherhood

Lyric source | Recording


More Units:

1. Worlds Meeting

2. New Nation

3. Expansion & Reform

4. Civil War & Reconstruction

5. Development of Industrial


6. Emergence of Modern U.S.

7. Great Depression & WW II

8. Post-War U.S.

9. Contemporary U.S.









Copyright 2007-2008 Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh Library System