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Arlo Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie

ARLO GUTHRIE

1947 -

Son of Woody Guthrie, Arlo began performing at 13. His 18-minute song, "Alice's Restaurant", is a classic of late-‘60s folk music. Guthrie still tours and writes music. Guthrie is also involved with 2 nonprofits he founded to provide community services and issue education.

“A lot people think of it in terms, historically, of these different events that were occurring…the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-War Movement, the No-Nukes thing, the Stop-the-Bomb, Clean-the-Water, Fix-the-Air. It was actually all the same people doing the things that they thought were important.

“They were not independent of each other. The same organizers, the same people, would show up at all of these different events to say this about that, and this about that. This was the wonderful thing.

“And still to this day, we look at it in sort of a de-compartmentalized analysis of this event, or that event, without seeing how total the event really was—the times really were.

“And it was a like a rising up. There were no leaders, for example. When we look back, in history, we try to pinpoint who was leading this, and who was leading that. There were no leaders. This was a spontaneous arising of an American spirit set, within enough people—not a majority, not an awful lot—but enough to change the course of history, in the same way that the Revolution had a few hundred years earlier. This just arose spontaneously all over the country—and in other parts of the world, by the way.

“Because we had reached a peak. We had reached a moment in history where our traditional thoughts and traditional adherences—to custom and to authority—had brought us to the brink of a global disaster, the likes of which the world had never even thought about.

“And enough people said, ‘No, we’re not doin’ this anymore. We’re not just goin’ thoughtlessly anymore. We gotta think for ourselves. You can’t trust the authority.’”

Excerpted from a 2001 interview for "The Sixties".

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