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Words and Chords to His Most Popular Songs


The Strike Is On

Words and Music by Charlie Maguire-Copyright Mello-Jamin Music All Rights Reserved

Maurey Bernstein, a fellow musician and radio producer urged me to write a song about the steelworker’s strike that temporarily shut down mining operations across northern Minnesota. In late November I traveled by Greyhound up to Virginia, Minnesota to play a booking and to see for myself how things were. I wrote this song on the ride home. Maurey recorded me after I got back, and the song went coast-to-coast on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" on Thanksgiving Day 1977.

This song is on the album-CD "Long Way To Another Friend/Biography." Two albums on one disk! Click on Recordings for ordering information.

Play Sample

To play this song like Charlie play Am capo at 2nd fret.

Am                             C
The strike is on, eighty-five days are gone
       Am                C
Hard times are clearly plain
           Am                F
Since the miners voted to walk out
Am          C           Am         G    Am
Across the Iron Range, across the Iron Range

Additional Verses

The strike is on, eighty-five days are gone
Spirits are hurt and sore
Like open wounds, the pits appear
Blood red with iron ore, blood red with iron ore

The strike is on, eighty-five days are gone
Union leaders come to town
With their Pittsburgh strategy
To bring the company down, to bring the company down

The strike is on, eighty-five days are gone
Does the worker have a chance?
The company has large reserves of ore
The workers only their demands, the workers only their demands

The strike is on, eighty-five days are gone
Good men now make their way
To the bars at night, to drink and to fight
And to do the same at home by day, to do the same at home by day

The strike is on, eighty-five days are gone
"On which side do you stand?"
Is not the question they ask themselves
It's when, will this all end? It's when will this all end?

The strike is on, eighty-five days are gone
And could go eight months or more
And time seems to pass slower now
That winter is coming around the door
That winter is coming around the door


Previous Songs: I Like It Here/O Cold and Misery * Winter on the Farm * Darling * Fine Old Lady * The Teton Dam * Towboat * The Hinkley Fire * L'Etoile Du Nord * Goodnight Baby * Gypsy Woody * The B. C. Rail * Play Us a Waltz * Ozawindib * Long Way to Another Friend * Fall Is Here * Rainfall Has Turned to Snow * Itasca: A Place of Beginnings * Mary Gibbs * I'm From Minnesota * The Ballad of Augie Mattsen

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Want to record this song?
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