If I Had a Hammer

Pete Seeger

peteseegerIf 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”.

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.

It was not particularly successful in commercial terms when it was first released. 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’s 1963 single went to number three on the same Billboard chart. (source Wikipedia)

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