Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie was born 1912 in Oklahoma.
He seemed to have a natural affinity for music and easily learned to "play by ear". At a young age he began to use his musical skills around town, playing a song for a sandwich or coins. He learned old Irish ballads and traditional songs from the parents of friends. Although Guthrie did not excel as a student, his teachers described him as bright. He was also an avid reader and read books on a wide range of topics. At 18 he was reluctant to attend high school classes in Pampa and spent a lot of time learning songs by busking on the streets and reading at the library. He was growing as a musician, gaining practice by regularly playing at dances for his cousin Jeff Guthrie, a fiddle player.
At age 19 Guthrie met and married his first wife, Mary Jennings, with whom he had three children. With the advent of the Dust Bowl era, Guthrie left Mary behind, and joined the thousands of Okies who were migrating to California looking for work. Many of his songs are concerned with the conditions faced by these working class people.
In the late 1930s, Guthrie achieved fame in Los Angeles, California, with radio partner Maxine "Lefty Lou" Crissman as a broadcast performer of commercial "hillbilly" music and traditional folk music. Guthrie was making enough money to send for his family still living in Texas. While appearing on radio station KFVD, a commercial radio station owned by a populist-minded New Deal Democrat Frank Burke, Guthrie began to write and perform some of the protest songs that would eventually end up on Dust Bowl Ballads.
The album, Dust Bowl Ballads was released on Victor Records in 1940.
In 1944, Guthrie met Moses "Moe" Asch of Folkways Records, for whom he first recorded "This Land Is Your Land", and over the next few years recorded "Worried Man Blues", along with hundreds of other songs. These recordings would later be released by Folkways and Stinson Records who had joint distribution rights to the recordings. The Folkways recordings are still available today with the most complete series of these sessions, culled from dates with Asch, simply titled The Asch Recordings.
Like so many other solo singers who did not write their own material, Springfield's recording career was dependent on the quality of the material she could obtain, and by the end of the decade, top-notch material was becoming harder to find: Carole King, who had written two of her biggest hits, "Some of Your Lovin'" and "Goin' Back", was embarking on a singing career, and the chart-busting Bacharach-David partnership was foundering. In the late 1960s she found herself becoming "unhip" at a time when hipness was necessary for musical success.
Around 1944-45, Guthrie wrote and recorded, Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child, a collection of children's music.
By the late 1940s, Guthrie's health was ailing and his behavior becoming extremely erratic. He received various diagnoses (including alcoholism and schizophrenia), but in 1952 was finally diagnosed to be suffering from Huntington's Disease.
Soon was was unable to play and record, and he only tried recording a few times in the early 1950's.
Guthrie was married three times and fathered eight children, including American folk musician Arlo Guthrie. When he died in 1967 he was already a legend in American folk music
source: wikipedia +