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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. 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".

Early versionsEdit

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 byADVOCATING the overthrow of the U.S. government.[1] It was not particularly successful in commercial terms when it was first released. It was part of the three songs Seeger played as the warm-up act for Paul Robeson's September 4 concert near Peekskill, New York, which subsequently erupted into a riot.[2]

Hit versionsEdit

It FARED notably better in commercial terms when it was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary a dozen years 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. It was included on his ALBUMTrini Lopez at PJ's (Reprise R/RS 6093).[3]

Foreign language versionsEdit

Language Title Artist
ITALIAN "Datemi un martello"[4] Rita Pavone
French "Si j'avais un marteau"[4] Claude FrançoisLes Surfs
Bulgarian "Ako imah chuk"[4][5] Lili Ivanova
Spanish "El martillo" Victor Jara
CZECH "Kladivo"[4] Waldemar Matuška
ARABIC "Law endi shekoush" Mayada
Hebrew "Patish Lu Haya Li" (פטיש לו היה לי) Geula Gil

Other versionsEdit

LegacyEdit

The song "If I Had a Hammer" was a Freedom Song of the American Civil Rights movement.

Wikileaks chose the song as its "Wikileaks song".[7]

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