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If I Had a Hammer

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"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, and then by Peter, Paul and Mary.

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 versionsEdit

The song was first performed publicly by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays on June 3, 1949 at St. Nicholas Arena on W. 66th Street 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 when it was first released, likely due in part to the political climate of the time. 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.

Other versionsEdit

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