Woody Guthrie - Tom Joad
I remember the night he wrote the song Tom Joad. He said, “Pete, do you know where I can get a typewriter?”
I said, “I’m staying with someone who has one.”
“Well, I got to write a ballad,” he said. “I don’t usually write ballads to order, but Victor wants me to do a whole album of Dust Bowl songs, and they say they want one about Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.”
Woody had a half-gallon jug of wine with him, sat down and started typing away. He would stand up every few seconds and test out a verse on his guitar and sit down and type some more. About one o’clock my friend and I got so sleepy we couldn’t stay awake.
In the morning we found Woody curled up on the floor under the table; the half gallon of wine was almost empty and the completed ballad was sitting near the typewriter.
And it is one of his masterpieces.
(Pete Seeger: The Incomplete Folksinger)