Works on Joe Hill

Books:

Adler biogWilliam M. Adler, The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon, Bloomsbury, 2011. The definitive biography, answering questions including who committed the murder Joe Hill was framed for.

Philip Foner & Alexis Buss, editors, The Letters of Joe Hill. Haymarket Books, 2015. Expanded edition. Originally published by Oak Publications, 1964

Philip S. Foner, The Case of Joe Hill. International Publishers. 1965.

Joyce Kornbluh, Rebel Voices: An IWW Anthology. (2nd edition). Charles H. Kerr, 1998.

Rino De Michele, editor, Never Forget Joe Hill, a tri-lingual cooperation between Italian publisher APARTE° and Federativs Förlag, publishing house of the SAC Syndikalisterna (Central Organization of Swedish Workers). Includes book, CD with performances of Joe Hill’s songs from musicians from around the world, and other materials.

Ture Nerman, Aebetarsångaren Joe Hill: Mördare eller martyr? Stockholm.

Rosemont: Joe HillFranklin Rosemont, Joe Hill, the IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counter-culture. Charles H. Kerr, 2003. New French translation with a preface by Fred Alpi (who performs and has translated several of Joe Hill’s songs) released in May 2015.

Gibbs Smith bio

Gibbs Smith, Joe Hill. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1969. Now eclipsed by Adler’s work, it was the definitive biography when published and is still well worth reading. Includes extensive excerpts from many relevant documents and Joe Hill’s writings.

Ingvar Söderström, En sång kan inte arkebuseras: Berättelsen on Joe Hill. Bäckström, 2002.

Barrie Stavis and Frank Harmon, eds., The Songs of Joe Hill. Oak Publications, 1955, 1960. Includes words and music, but the editors substituted other tunes where Joe Hill used a tune not then in the public domain.

Wallace Stegner, The Preacher and the Slave. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950. A fictionalized, rather hostile, treatment issued under various titles over the years.

Fred Thompson & Jon Bekken, The Industrial Workers of the World: Its First One Hundred Years. IWW, 2006. The IWW’s official history, now in its third edition.

Web sites:

The Salt Lake Tribune established a web site with a short graphic novelization of Joe Hill’s life, a detailed timeline, maps and photographs, videos of local bands doing contemporary takes on Joe Hill songs, and short introductions to Joe Hill’s life and several aspects of the case. Not unsympathetic, though the editors did feel it necessary to include gratuitous swipes at the IWW and downplay the role of the media and social elites in framing Joe Hill and repressing his supporters, and the labor movement more generally.

The Bread & Roses Workers Cultural Center’s Joe Hill Resources webpage appears to have last been updated in 2013, but lists and links to a wide variety of art, films and videos, books and poems, recordings of Joe Hill songs and songs about Joe Hill, etc.

Discography:

Joe Glazer. “The Songs of Joe Hill.” Folkways, 1954.

—— “Songs of the Wobblies.” Collector Records, 1977.

AnywhereFullSmallBucky Halker, “Anywhere But Utah: Songs of Joe Hill.” September 2015. Includes several never previously recorded songs (both labor songs and two of Joe Hill’s little-known romantic ballads); a Swedish choir on some songs; and reminiscences from two people who knew Joe Hill. Article/Review here. Available from our online shop.

joehill1John McCutcheon, “Joe Hill’s Last Will.” (13 Joe Hill songs, two previously unrecorded), 2015. McCutcheon is joined by several friends, presenting Joe Hill through several genres. Available for purchase here as CD or download.

shelby-joehill-coverShelby Bottom Duo & friends, “Joe Hill Roadshow.” October 2016. Includes five Joe Hill songs and “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night.” Available from our online shop.

Utah Phillips, “We Have Fed You All For A Thousand Years.” Philo, 1981.

Various Artists, “Don’t Mourn, Organize: Songs of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill.” Smithsonian, 1990.

Plays:

Thomas Babe (1980), “Salt Lake City Skyline.”

Giles Hayworth, “Wob! or Joe Hill and the Robber Barons” (a play designed for participatory theater groups)

Si Kahn, “Joe Hill’s Last Will.”

Adrienne Mackey and Bradley Wrenn, “The Ballad of Joe Hill

Barry Stavis, “The Man Who Never Died.” Published with research notes: New York: Haven Press, 1954. Revised and reissued: Cranbury, NJ: A. S. Barnes, 1972.

Films and Videos:

Canadian Broadcasting Co., (1961?), “The Man Who Never Died.”

Eric Scholl (1990), “The Return of Joe Hill.”

Ken Verdoia (1998). “Joe Hill.” Salt Lake City: KUED TV.

Bo Widerberg (1971), “Joe Hill.” In Swedish, with English subtitles. Digitally remastered and re-released in 2015.

Songs about Joe Hill:

Chumbawamba (2005), “By and By.”

Woody Guthrie, “Joseph Hillstrom.”

Alfred Hayes and Earl Robinson (1936), “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night.” (Film of Paul Robeson singing it to construction workers at the Sydney Opera House.)

Wayne Horvitz (2008), “Joe Hill: 16 Actions for Orchestra, Voice and Soloist.”

Si Kahn, “Paper Heart.”

Mark Levy (1990), “Joe Hill’s Ashes.

Phil Ochs (1968), “Joe Hill.”  Here is Billy Bragg singing the song.

David Rovics (2015), “Joe Hill.”

John Braxton (2017), “The Ballad of Joe Hill.”

5 thoughts on “Works on Joe Hill”

  1. Back in 1990, I wrote a song about Joe Hill’s ashes (“The Prints of the Unknown Wobbly”). I finally recorded it in 2010 on my “Enemy of the State” CD. I’m not sure if you can hear it on my Facebook page anymore since they revamped everything (again). Is there a way I can upload it to your site? The lyrics are posted on Mark Gregory’s unionsong.com website (http://unionsong.com/u348.html). Thanks for all your terrific work!

  2. Websites;
    The Salt Lake Tribune website has added two more articles;
    11-13-15 IF NOT JOE HILL, WHO KILLED THE MORRISONS?
    11-15-15 A FAMILY FINDS PEACE

    Songs about Joe Hill;
    Joe Hill by Phil Ochs (set to the tune of John Hardy, just as Woody Guthrie’s song Tom Joad was)
    Calling Joe Hill by Ray Hearne (Broad Street Ballads; No Masters label)

    Plays about Joe Hill; “The Joe Hill Dream” by John Fay (Brookside, Coronation Street, The Mill) uses music, humour, and Brechtian-style theatre to capture the tragedy of Joe’s death. Liverpool and Salford, November 2015

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Dedicated to IWW songwriter Joe Hill