Songs for Hetch Hetchy

The effort to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park is continuing to swell. As testimony to how strongly people feel about the issue, see this list of songs in all kinds of musical styles - pop, blues, fiddle, country-western, folk, and more.

"Hooray for Hetch Hetchy" by Bill Oliver (2005).

Imagine yourself in Hetch Hetchy
On a sunny day in June
Standing waist deep in grasses and flowers
As John Muir often stood!

music and lyrics by noted eco-folk-rock musician Bill Oliver.

| Lyrics | MP3 Preview |

"Lament for Hetch Hetchy" by Alasdair Fraser, on Narada - The Wilderness Collection - a poignant melody by one of the world's greatest Celtic fiddle players!

John Muir's Return to Hetch Hetchy (PDF) by Ron Good - another fiddle tune, written by the founder of Restore Hetch Hetchy. (sheet music)

"A Couple of Dams" by Bill Oliver - vocal about Glen Canyon and Hetch Hetchy (from Oliver's album, Friend of the River) Lyrics excerpt:

Let's take out a couple of dams
The Hetch Hetchy and the Glen
That's act like we know what we didn't know then
And take out a couple of dams

Let's hike the Hetch Hetchy again
Yosemite's Sierra twin
Was a trick from the start,
Broke John Muir's heart
Let's hike Hetch Hetchy again

"John of the Mountains" by Mariposa. Lyrics excerpt:

John of the mountains
Fought the damming of
Hetch Hetchy
But we damned ourselves when we let that valley go

"High Hopes," the Frank Sinatra tune (also sung by many 50's performers, from Bing Crosby to Doris Day). Well, OK, t his song isn't really about Hetch Hetchy, but it sure expresses the high hopes for advocates of restoring Hetch Hetchy! Lyrics Excerpt:

Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin' that dam!

'cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes
He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes!

So any time your feelin' bad
'stead of feelin' sad
Just remember that ram
Oops there goes a billion kilowatt dam!

"Ballad of Hetch Hetchy Valley" words and music by Bernie Beldner © 2003
Download complete song in mp3 format - 3.4 MB

"If a Song Could Right a Wrong" lyrics by Barbara Mossberg, music by Shannon Foster © 2007.
Download complete song in mp3 format - 3 MB

"Paiutes Mourn and Pinyon Pines" by Cary Griffith (May, 2011) - A mournful country-western style tune lamenting not only the loss of Hetch Hetchy Valley, and its magnificent meadows and Black Oaks, but the loss of the Native American heritage and the Pinyon Pines planted there by Paiute tribe long ago. This song used to be posted on MySpace but is now nowhere to be found.

"If a Song Could Right a Wrong" lyrics by Barbara Mossberg, music by Shannon Foster © 2007.
Download complete song in mp3 format - 3 MB

"Tuolumne Yosemite" by Jim Bearden (March 2015, YouTube) - poignant song about Hetch Hetchy by Jim Bearden.

Chorus: Imagine that green valley, and those shining waterfalls:
A legacy of beauty that was stolen from us all.
She lies there, gagged and drowned, and only we can set her free --
Help us liberate the Tuolumne Yosemite!

Video version on YouTube:

Do you know of other outstanding songs, albums, or links that are not listed here but should be? If so, please send information or a demo for review. Please e-mail to me at harold (at) or and I'll add them to the list!

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