Peter Dreier blogged yesterday about the new issue of Dissent magazine that includes his piece on the origins of MTA Song. Bess Lomax Hawes, author of the new memoir Sing It Pretty, was a co-writer of this 1959 hit for the Kingston Trio.
“The ‘MTA’ song is now well-known, sung at summer camps and elsewhere, and frequently parodied, and has been recorded by dozens of artists, as recently as last year. The new subway card in Boston is named the ‘Charlie Card’ in honor of the song. But few people know that the song was originally written as a campaign song for Walter O’Brien’s left-wing mayoral campaign in Boston in 1949 on the Progressive Party ticket, as a way to dramatize his opposition to a fare increase on the city subway system.”