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Arlo Guthrie Biography

Home > Music > G > Guthrie, Arlo > Biography

Born: 1947/07/10
Birth Place: Coney Island, New York, U.S.
Years Active: 1967 - present
Genres: Folk, Blues

Arlo Davy Guthrie (born July 10, 1947) is an American folk singer. Guthrie was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of folk singer and composer Woody Guthrie and his wife Marjorie Mazia Guthrie. Like his father, Arlo often sings songs of protest against social injustice.

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 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 in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The song, a bitingly satirical protest against the Vietnam War draft, although Guthrie stated in a 2009 interview with Ron Bennington that Alice's Restaurant is more an "anti-stupidity" song than an anti-war song, is based on a true incident.

For a short period of time after its release in 1967, "Alice's Restaurant" was heavily played on U.S. college and counter-culture radio stations. It became a symbol of the late 1960s 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" a Thanksgiving Day tradition.

In 1972 Guthrie made famous Steve Goodman's song "City of New Orleans," a paean to long-distance passenger rail travel. He also had a minor hit with his song "Coming into Los Angeles," which was played at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and success with a live version of "The Motorcycle Song." Guthrie's 1976 album “Amigo“ boasts compelling folk and folk rock music accompanied by top-notch musicians such as Ry Cooder.