Malvina Reynolds

Why is she/are they included here?

Malvina Reynolds may not be a household name any more, but she has left us with some classic songs which will live on forever. She started writing in her forties, and became a prolific producer of songs of protest, plus a number of delightful children’s songs.

Active period:

1940s – 1970s

My favourites:

 We don’t need the men, Little Boxes


I have a very acid edge toward many aspects of modern life, and I’m pretty outspoken about it. I don’t mind crossing swords with people when I disagree with them, and I’m not your nice old grandma. However, I always make it clear that the reason I have this sharp cutting edge is because I do care for people. I care about children, and I think the world is ripping them off, taking away their natural environment and much more than that—the natural progression of their tradition—and leaving them stripped, uneasy, uncomfortable, and in deep trouble, and it’s because of that that I’m so sharp.

Frequent collaborators:

Joan Baez, Judy Collins, The Seekers, Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte all recorded her song. But she does not appear to have had any regular collaborators.

Song writing:

Malvina wrote her own lyrics and some of the music of her songs; in other cases she adapted traditional tunes.

Other performance skills:

Plays guitar, violin

Samples of lyrics:

The judge said “Screw ’em!
Boys, you’re only human
They brought it on themselves
By being born a woman
Like a mountain’s there to climb
And food’s there to be eaten
Woman’s there to rape
To be shoved around and beaten.”

The Judge Said, 1977

And who is so afraid of song
And truth that’s bravely said,
And who so fears the singing kind
To wish their singing dead?
They hailed his banjo into court
And stood it at the bar,
Because it would not tune its strings
To cruelty and war.

First Amendment Banjo, 1961

How to listen to their stuff:

Major music outlets sell Malvina’s records e.g Amazon offers them in CD and streaming formats.

Other accomplishments:

Gallery of moments: