A Famous Musician Wrote A Hit Song About The Tri-Cities

We love Tri-Cities and those that live here love our rivers and hills. A famous musician once fell in love with the area and wrote a hit song about the Columbia Basin.

Vinyl record collection

What Famous Song Went On To Be Washington State's Folk Song?

The Tri-Cities looked much different in the 1940s but this artist still saw the beauty of the countryside and wrote a song that has stood the test of time.

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The song was such a hit for its time that it went on to become the State Folk Song of Washington. 

Songwriter writing song

The song was written in 1941 about the Columbia River

Vuk Nenezic

Artist Woody Guthrie wrote some amazing songs about the Columbia River and compiled a compilation of songs called Columbia River Songs. Guthrie wrote 23 songs while he was inspired and living in the Pacific Northwest.

Woody Guthrie smoking & squinting
Getty Images

The story goes that Woody was commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration and Guthrie traveled from Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest and once here became enamored with the Pacific Northwest. 

Guthrie described writing the song as such: "these Pacific Northwest songs and ballads have all got these personal feelings for me because I was there on these very spots and very grounds before."

The Columbia River Songs Were Compiled Into A Collection in 1987

Guthrie wrote a whole collection of Columbia River songs but Roll On Columbia, Roll-On is the best known of the collection and became Washington State's Folk Song in 1987.

Woody Guthrie is a folk-song legend and considered one of the greatest musical figures of the 20th Century. One of his best-known songs "This Land Is Your Land" is one of those songs that we all learned in grade school.

So the next time you are in the supermarket or at a folk concert and Roll On Columbia starts playing, you'll know it was inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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