No, It Won’t Kill Me: May Day General Strike and Peace Song for 4/25/2012

This Old Hammer“, an African-American work song, is the Peace Song of the Day for April 25th. (See video and lyrics below.)

The song says, “This old hammer, killed John Henry…but it won’t kill me.” Which resonates with the big event coming up…

May Day, May 1, 2012, is a General Strike, called for by many groups, including Occupy Wall Street. To find a detailed post, and links to actions in over 115 cities, go to this post at

If you can be in New York City on May 1st, check out the schedule for NYC actions and performances at

Why strike? The answer given at the occupywallst website, is similar to the words of this hammer song. On the article “Why And How To Strike On May Day“, it says, “You are not a slave, and have the right not to work.” The song “This Old Hammer” is about African American workers, after slavery was outlawed, who were still treated like slaves in many ways.

I love the tension near the end of this song. The worker asks his coworker to take the hammer to the boss or Captain. Though, we discover he is not asking for retaliation, he only asks to tell the boss that he has gone. If only the 99% could tell the 1%: “No, I won’t work for your unjust system.”

Bonus Video:

The other John Henry song, performed by Bruce Springsteen for The Pete Seeger Sessions: here.

Lyrics for This Old Hammer

(Note, there are many variations on this song.
I am posting a merge of the verses I thought
were the most interesting.)

This nine pound hammer
Is a little too heavy (3x)
For my size
Buddy, for my size

This old hammer
It killed John Henry (3x)
Ain’t gonna kill me
Ain’t gonna kill me

This old hammer
Shineslike silver(3x)
But this old hammer,
Rings like gold

Take this hammer
to the walkin’ boss (3x)
[Or…”Take it to the Captain”]
Tell him I’m gone
Oh, tell him I’m gone

If he asks you,
was I laughing (3x)
Tell him I was cryin’
Tell him I was cryin’


More Daily Peace Songs at our
Daily Peace Song
tab: here

The Peace Song of the Day is a project of Duke Augustus and Duchess Susanna, The Duke and Duchess of Peace. The Duke and Duchess recognize that one of the paths to peace is to find soulful and nonviolent entertainment, and to express oneself with art and song.

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