Woody Guthrie is one of the most important seminal figures in North American folk music. He was born in Okemo OK. He had a huge impact on The Weavers, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, etc. He died from Huntington's Disease. He was closely associated with the Communist Party USA and wrote a regular column in the Daily Worker. He served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. He was hired by the Federal Government in the 1930's to write songs about the Columbia River project.
He was extremely prolific, writing thousands of songs, although many had lyrics only. The Woody Guthrie Archive (of which his daughter Nora is executive director) has offered up a number of these songs that had lyrics only to other artists to write melodies including Billy Bragg and Wilco.