Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie

Infobox musical artist
Name = Arlo Guthrie

Img_capt = Guthrie performs during his Alice's Restaurant Massacree 40th Anniversary Tour (2005).
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = Birth date and age|mf=yes|1947|7|10|mf=y
Coney Island, New York, U.S.
Died =
Origin =
Instrument = guitar
Genre = Folk
Occupation = Singer-songwriter
Years_active = 1967 – present
Label = Rising Son Records
Associated_acts = Shenandoah
Pete Seeger
URL = [ Official Website]
Notable_instruments =

Arlo Davy Guthrie (born July 10, 1947) is an American folk singer. Like his father, Woody Guthrie, Arlo often sings songs of protest against social injustice. One of Guthrie's works is "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", a talking blues song that lasts for 18 minutes.

Early life

Guthrie was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of folk singer and composer Woody Guthrie and his wife Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, who was a one-time professional dancer with the Martha Graham Company and founder of the Committee to Combat Huntington's Disease, the disease that took Woody's life in 1967. He graduated from the Stockbridge School of Massachusetts in 1965, and briefly attended Rocky Mountain College.

As a singer, songwriter and lifelong political activist, Arlo carries on the legacy of his legendary father. He was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience award on September 26, 1992. [ [ The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Recipients List ] ]

"Alice's Restaurant"

His most famous work is "Alice's Restaurant Massacree", a talking blues song that lasts 18 minutes and 34 seconds in its original recorded version (Guthrie has been known to spin the story out to forty-five minutes in concert). Guthrie has pointed out that this was also the exact length of one of the famous gaps in Richard Nixon's Watergate tapes. The Alice in the song is Alice Brock, who now runs an art gallery [ [ Alice Brock ] ] in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The song, a bitingly satirical protest against the Vietnam War draft, is based on a true incident. In the song, Guthrie is called up for a draft examination, and rejected as unfit for military service as a result of a criminal record — consisting in its entirety of a single arrest, court appearance, fine and clean-up order for littering and creating a public nuisance. On the DVD commentary for the film, Guthrie states that the events as presented in the song are true to real-life occurrences.

For a short period of time after its release in 1967, "Alice's Restaurant" was in frequent rotation on nearly every college and counter-culture radio station in the country. Indeed, it became a symbol of the late '60s and for many it defined an attitude and lifestyle that were lived out across the country in the ensuing years. Many stations across the States have made playing "Alice's Restaurant" on Thanksgiving Day a tradition.

A 1969 film, directed and co-written by Arthur Penn, was based on the story. In addition to acting in this film, also called "Alice's Restaurant", Guthrie has had minor roles in several movies and television series. Guthrie's memorable appearance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival was documented in the Michael Wadleigh film "Woodstock".

Popular and critical reception

In 1972 Guthrie made famous Steve Goodman's song "City of New Orleans", a paean to long-distance rail travel. Guthrie's first trip on that train was in December 2005, (when his family joined other musicians on a train trip across the country to raise money for musicians financially devastated by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, in the South of the United States). He also had a minor hit with his song "Coming into Los Angeles", which was played at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and success with "The Motorcycle Song". Guthrie's 1976 album "Amigo" received a 5-star (highest rating) from "Rolling Stone", and may be his best-received work; unfortunately that milestone album is as rarely heard today as are Guthrie's earlier Warner Brothers albums — although each boasts compelling folk music accompanied by top-notch musicians including Ry Cooder.


In the fall of 1975 during a benefit concert in Massachusetts, Arlo Guthrie performed with his band "Shenandoah" in public for the first time. They continued to tour and record throughout the 1970s until the early 1990s. Although the band received good reviews, it never gained the popularity that Guthrie did while playing solo. They did play many of Guthrie's most famous songs, which were most requested. By this time, Guthrie had developed his own sound in versions of "talking blues" songs. A number of musicians from a variety of genres have joined Guthrie on stage, including Pete Seeger, David Bromberg, Cyril Neville, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Judy Collins, and others.


Though Arlo Guthrie is best known for being a musician, singer, and composer, throughout the years he has also appeared as an actor in films and on television. The film "Alice's Restaurant" (1969) is his best known role, but he has had small parts in several films and even co-starred in a television drama, "Byrds of Paradise".


Guthrie endorsed Texas Congressman Ron Paul for the 2008 Republican Party nomination. He said, "I love this guy. Dr. Paul is the only candidate I know of who would have signed the Constitution of the United States had he been there. I'm with him, because he seems to be the only candidate who actually believes it has as much relevance today as it did a couple of hundred years ago. I look forward to the day when we can work out the differences we have with the same revolutionary vision and enthusiasm that is our American legacy." []


Like his father, Woody Guthrie, Guthrie often sings songs of protest against social injustice. He collaborated with poet Adrian Mitchell to tell the story of Chilean folk singer and activist Víctor Jara in song. He regularly performed with folk legend Pete Seeger - one of his father's longtime partners whom he admires, followed, and learns from in many ways, musically and intellectually.

In 1991, Guthrie bought the church that had served as Alice and Ray Brock's former home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and converted it to the [ Guthrie Center] , an interfaith meeting place that serves people of all religions.


Guthrie and his wife Jackie reside in the Town of Washington, Massachusetts. Guthrie's son Abe Guthrie and his daughters Sarah Lee Guthrie and Cathy Guthrie have also become musicians, while Annie Guthrie takes care of family touring details. Sarah Lee performs and records with her husband Johnny Irion. Cathy plays ukulele in [ Folk Uke] , a group she formed with Amy Nelson, the daughter of Willie Nelson. Abe Guthrie was formerly in a Folk-Rock band called Xavier, and now tours with his father. Abe Guthrie's son, Krishna, is a drummer and toured with Arlo Guthrie on his European tour in 2006 [] . Arlo Guthrie is a grandfather of Krishna, Annie's daughter Jacklyn, and Sarah Lee's daughter Olivia Nora Irion.

He is third cousin to Canadian composer and musician Jan Randall.


* "Alice's Restaurant" (1967)
* "Arlo" (1968)
* "Running Down the Road" (1969)
* "Washington County" (1970)
* "Hobo's Lullaby" (1972)
* "Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys" (1973)
* "Arlo Guthrie" (1974)
* "Together In Concert" (1975)
* "Amigo" (1976)
* "The Best of Arlo Guthrie" (1977)
* "One Night" (1978)
* "Outlasting the Blues" (1979)
* "Power Of Love" (1981)
* "Precious Friend" (1982)
* "Someday" (1986)
* "All Over the World" (1991)
* "Son of the Wind" (1992)
* "2 Songs" (1992)
* "More Together Again" (1994)
* "Mystic Journey" (1996)
* "" (1997)
* "Alice's Restaurant - The Massacree Revisited" (1997)
* "Bouncing Around the Room" on Sharin' in the Groove (2001)
* "BanjoMan - a tribute to Derroll Adams" (2002)
* "Live In Sydney" (2005)
* "In Times Like These" (2007)

Select filmography

* "Alice's Restaurant" (1969)
* "Renaldo and Clara" (1978)
* "Baby's Storytime" (1989)
* "Roadside Prophets" (1992)

Notable television guest appearances

*"Beat-Club" (episode # 1.52) February 28, 1970
* "Byrds of Paradise" (1994)
*"Relativity" December 29, 1996
*"Renegade" in episode: "Top Ten with a Bullet" (episode # 5.14) January 24, 1997
* The fourth season of "The Muppet Show".

Film and television composer

*"Alice's Restaurant" (1969) (song "The Alice's Restaurant Massacree")
*"Woodstock" (1970) (song "Coming Into Los Angeles")
*"Clay Pigeon" (1971) also known as "Trip to Kill" (UK)
*"Baby's Storytime" (1989)


*"Isn't This a Time! A Tribute Concert for Harold Leventhal" (2004)


*"Mooses Come Walking" (2004) (Children's Book) [ [ Chronicle Books Link] ]

Appearances as himself

*"Hylands hörna" (episode # 4.4) January 31, 1970
*"Woodstock" (1969) (also known as "Woodstock 25th Anniversary Edition" and as "Woodstock, 3 Days of Peace & Music")
*"The Dick Cavett Show" September 8, 1970
*"Arthur Penn 1922-: Themes and Variants" (1970) (TV)
*"The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" playing "Himself" August 17, 1972
*"The Muppet Show" (episode # 4.8) June 19, 1979
*"The Weavers: " (1982)
*"Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin"' (1984)
*"Farm Aid '87" (1987) (TV)
*"A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly" (1988)
*"Woodstock: The Lost Performances" (1990)
*"Woodstock Diary" (1994) (TV)
*"The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts" (1994) (TV)
*"The History of Rock 'N' Roll, Vol. 6" (1995) (TV) (also known as "My Generation")
*"This Land Is Your Land: The Animated Kids' Songs of Woody Guthrie" (1997)
*"Healthy Kids" (1998) (TV series)
*"The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack" (2000)
*"Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The Early Years" (1955-1970) (2000) (TV)
*"Last Party 2000" (2001) (also known as "The Party's Over")
*"Pops Goes the Fourth!" (July 4, 2001)
*"NPR's Talk of the Nation" radio broadcast (Nov. 14, 2001)
**"St. James Infirmary" and "The City Of New Orleans"
*"Singing in the Shadow: The Children of Rock Royalty" (2003)
*"Get Up, Stand Up" (2003) (TV series)
*"From Wharf Rats to the Lords of the Docks" (2004)
*"Isn't This a Time! A Tribute Concert for Harold Leventhal" (2004)
*"1968 with Tom Brokaw" (2007)
*"Pete Seeger: The Power of Song" (2008) ("American Masters" PBS TV special)


* Lee, Laura, "Arlo, Alice & Anglicans: The Lives of a New England Church" (Berkshire House Publishers, 2000; W.W. Norton, 2000 paperback ISBN 1-58157-010-4)
* "Youths Ordered to Clean Up Rubbish Mess": contemporaneous news article reprinted in "This is the Arlo Guthrie Songbook" p. 39 (offline)
* [ Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities' Mass Moments: "Arlo Guthrie Convicted of Littering," November 28, 1965"]


External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ Guthrie's Rising Son Records]
*imdb name|id=0349241
* [ The Guthrie Center]
* [ World Music Central "Arlo Guthrie"]
* [ Audio from April 2007 interview]
* [ YouTube video of Alice's Restaurant]
* [ YouTube video of the Motorcycle Song]

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