Obama Video Uses Mellencamp’s “This Land is Your Land”
10.31.2008 - A video supporting Barack Obama using John Mellencamp’s version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” is spreading virally across the Internet.
The one-minute clip presents a travelogue of America, including shots of farmland, skyscrapers, forests, small towns, highways and waterways—all loosely corresponding with the song lyrics—followed by quick portraits of a wide variety of Americans. It ends with the text “It’s never been more important to be one America” superimposed on a shot of the Statue of Liberty, followed by “November 4, 2008” superimposed on a shot of Obama at a rally.
The video has appeared on YouTube and Huffington Post, the latter site including a note that it was produced by Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby, the creators of “got milk?,” Hewlett-Packard and the NBA ad campaigns.
“This message uses music that’s been reassuring to all Americans for nearly a century, through good times and bad,” explains Silverstein. “Our country is all the ‘real America,’ from sea to sea. It’s one place and in tough times, it’s all the more important to remind ourselves of what we share, rather than what divides us.”
Mellencamp’s version of the Guthrie song, in which he accompanies himself solo on acoustic guitar, comes from “Song of America,” the 50-song, three-CD set envisioned by former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and artist/producer Ed Pettersen, that was released last year and also featured artists including the Blind Boys of Alabama, Martha Wainwright, and the Black Crowes. Hugely influenced by Guthrie, Mellencamp received the 2003 Woody Guthrie Award for exemplifying the ideals of the legendary folksinger.