Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night
Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night 4
December 20, 2014
Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night
Juke Box Saturday Night 5
December 27, 2014

If I Had a Hammer by Trini Lopez

"If I Had a Hammer" by Trini Lopez

Folk Music

During this first era of rock and roll, and especially throughout early 1960s music, there were many undercurrents going on. Two such ones were music that had a political edge to it and another was folk music. This takes us to Trini Lopez and the song “If I Had a Hammer.”

Trini Lopez was born in Dallas, Texas, and began his singing career there, playing at the Vegas Club, which was owned by Jack Ruby. (Yes, that Jack Ruby of the infamous shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald.) Lopez sang throughout the Southwest and was discovered by Don Costa at PJ’s in Hollywood, California. Costa liked the Latinized versions of contemporary songs and signed Lopez to Reprise Records, Frank Sinatra’s record label, in 1962. Lopez’s debut album “Trini Lopez at PJ’s” was released in 1963 and included a version of “If I Had a Hammer.” The album reached #1 in 36 countries and #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song became a radio favorite for many years.

“If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)” was written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1949 to support the progressive movement. Seeger says that the message was “we have got tools and that we re going to succeed. This is what a lot of spirituals say.”

Seeger and Hays first performed the song that year at St. Nicholas Arena in New York City to support the leaders o The Communist Party of the United States, who were on trial for violated the Smith Act by violating the overthrow of the U.S. government. The folk group The Weavers , which consisted of Seeger, Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman, was the first to record the song, and it was the first recorded song by The Weavers. At that time, it “The Hammer Song.” Peter, Paul and Mary recorded it as well and had a top ten hit with it in 1962. Other artists who covered the song were Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Wanda Jackson, Martha and the Vandellas, Bobby Rydell, and many more. It was used as a Freedom Song during the Civil Rights movement. More recently, it became the “Wikileaks” song. The hammer has been used by humans throughout their history for building and as a weapon of war. The hammer during the U.S. Civil Rights movement symbolized the relentlessness of the message for freedom and equality. During the Russian Revolution, the hammer and sickle represented the industrialized workers and the peasantry. It was a uniting to fight the forces of capitalism and oppression.

Here are the lyrics:

“Ooh, ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh ooh
Ooh

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 about the love between my brothers and my sisters
All, all over this land

Ooh, ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh

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 about the love between my brothers and my sisters
All, all over this land

Ooh, ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh

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, yeah
I’d sing out about the love between my brothers and my sisters
All, all over this land

Ooh, ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh

Now, 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, yeah
It’s the song about the love between my brothers and my sisters
All, all over this land

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

All over this land
Ooh, all over this land
Hee, all over this land, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

All over this land
Hee, all over this land”

If you are interested in an album of Trini Lopez’s hits, please consider this from amazon: All Time Greatest Hits.

For More Golden Oldies Music

The Daily Doo Wop Rec Room has daily featured doo wop, rock and roll, R&B, folk music, or rockabilly songs that were hits during the first era of rock and roll (that is, from about 1952 until the British invasion in 1964). After a song is featured, it then goes into the juke box. You are welcome to listen to any of the 40+ selections there. Every weekend, there is a Golden Oldies Juke Box Saturday Night, and the juke box is full of song requests from the 1950s and 1960s.

Please click here for the Daily Doo Wop YouTube channel, to which you can subscribe. Thank you for stopping by The Daily Doo Wop.

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