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If I Had A Hammer
Lyrics and music by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger (1949)

Seeger sang for the people and their rights at a time when that could get rabble-rousers blacklisted and worse.What's more, he got the people singing for themselves

If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening ...
all over this land,
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between
all of my brothers and my sisters
All over this land.

If I had a bell
I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening ...
all over this land,
I'd ring out danger
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between
all of my brothers and my sisters
All over this land.

If I had a song
I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening ...
all over this world,
I'd sing out danger
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between
all of my brothers and my sisters
All over this land.

If I've got a hammer
And I've got a bell
And I've got a song to sing ...
all over this land,
It's a hammer of justice
It's a bell of freedom
It's a song about love between
all of my brothers and my sisters
All over this land.

versione Peter Paul & Mary

If I had a hammer

Seeger/Hayes

If I had a hammer,
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening,
All over this land

I'd hammer out danger,
I'd hammer out a warning,
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a bell,
I'd ring it in the morning,
I'd ring it in the evening,
All over this land

I'd ring out danger,
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a song,
I'd sing it in the morning,
I'd sing it in the evening,
All over this land

I'd sing out danger,
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Well I got a hammer,
And I got a bell,
And I got a song to sing, all over this land.

It's the hammer of Justice,
It's the bell of Freedom,
It's the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

It's the hammer of Justice,
It's the bell of Freedom,
It's the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.


IF I HAD A HAMMER (The Hammer Song)

words and music by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger

 

If I had a hammer

I'd hammer in the morning

I'd hammer in the evening

All over this land

I'd hammer out danger

I'd hammer out a warning

I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land

 

If I had a bell

I'd ring it in the morning

I'd ring it in the evening

All over this land

I'd ring out danger

I'd ring out a warning

I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land

 

If I had a song

I'd sing it in the morning

I'd sing it in the evening

All over this land

I'd sing out danger

I'd sing out a warning

I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land

 

Well I've got a hammer

And I've got a bell

And I've got a song to sing

All over this land

It's the hammer of justice

It's the bell of freedom

It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land

 

1958, 1962 (renewed), 1986 (renewed) - TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)

[The right-wing magazine] 'Counterattack' and the FBI succeeded in blacklisting the Weavers, but If I Had A Hammer was unconquerable. The song had a specific radical message in 1952; when Seeger suggested the Weavers perform it on bookings, one of them answered, "Oh no. We can't get away with anything like that."

"Why was it controversial?" Pete reflected. "In 1949 only 'Commies' used words like 'peace' and 'freedom'. ... The message was that we have got tools and that we are going to succeed. This is what a lot of spirituals say. We will overcome. I have a hammer. [...] No one could take these away." The Weavers never had the opportunity to make a hit of this - that honor fell to Peter, Paul and Mary - but they had the satisfaction of seeing that no edict and no committee could kill [the] song. (Dunaway, Seeger 157)

The concert had been planned for the previous month, when it was advertised in a Communist newspaper, but crowds had blocked the roads, beaten up some of the organizers, and it had to be called off. But the performers, and the Communist Party, decided that the show should still be held - this time on Labor Day. Supporters provided protection around the site, and the performance actually went ahead. Paul Robeson sang [...] Old Man River, and Seeger sang If I Had A Hammer.

Fifteen years later (after first being revived by Peter, Paul and Mary) the song became a nightclub favourite, and the sing-along, Latin-tinged version by Trini Lopez sold 4 1/2 million copies around the world. In 1949 it was considered dangerously political, with highly controversial lyrics.

Only when the concert was over did the trouble really start. The performers were ambushed as they left the show, for the residents had been whipped up into an anti-Communist fervour [...]. Seeger escaped, covered in glass, his car dented with rocks. (Denselow, Music 13)

Us Weavers recorded it [...] in the fall of '49, for a microscopic label, Charter Records. Lee Hays used to say, "It was a collector's item - nobody but collectors ever bought it." A year later, when the Weavers were temporarily "on the charts", our manager wouldn't let us perform it. ("I'm trying to cool down the blacklisters; that song would encourage them.") But nine years later [Peter Paul and Mary] had a surprise hit with the song. [...]

It was a young radical activist, Libby Frank, in 1952 who insisted on singing "my brothers and my sisters" instead of "all of my brothers". Lee resisted the change at first. "It doesn't ripple off the tongue as well. How about 'all of my siblings'?" He finally gave in. It was sung in Europe and elsewhere in the '50's, sometimes with variant melodies, sometimes with added verses [...]. Victor Jara, the great protest singer of Chile, made up a version in Spanish. (Seeger, Flowers 38)

[ G ] If I had a hammer [ Em ] [ C ] I'd [ D ] hammer in the [ G ] mor [ Em ] ning,

[ C ] I'd [ D ] hammer in the [ G ] eve [ Em ] ning [ C ] all over this [ D ] land.

I'd hammer out [ G ] danger, I'd hammer out [ Em ] warning.

I'd hammer out the [ C ] love be [ D ] tween my [ C ] brothers and my [ D ] sisters,

[ C ] All over [ D ] all over this [ G ] land. [ Em ] [ C ] [ D ]

bell - ring    song - sing   hammer of justice   bell of freedom    song of love


This file is the author's own work and represents their interpretation of the song. You may only use this file for private study, scholarship, or research.

 

Words and Music: Pete Seeger

Transcribed: Guitar Picker

 

If I Had a Hammer

 

G Em

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning

C D

I'd hammer in the evening, all over this land

G Em

I'd hammer out danger, I'd hammer out warning

C G C G

I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters

Em C D

All over this land

 

 

If I had a bell, I'd ring it in the morning

I'd ring in the evening, all over this land

I'd ring out danger, I'd ring out warning

I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land

 

If I had a song, I'd sing it in the morning

I'd hammer in the evening, all over this land

I'd hammer out danger, I'd hammer out warning

I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land

 

Well I got a hammer, and I've got a bell

and I've got a song to sing, all over this land

It's the hammer of justice, it's the bell of freedom

It's the song of love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land

 

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