Roll On, Columbia

West Region

Hydroelectric power came to the west as dams were built along the great rivers.  This song, written by Woody Guthrie, is a tribute to the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest and the hydroelectric power which helped industry and farms.


1.  Green Douglas fir where the waters cut through,
     Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew,
     Canadian North—west to the ocean so blue,
     It’s roll on,
Columbia, roll on!

Refrain:          Roll on, Columbia, roll on,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
                        Your power is turning our darkness to dawn,
                        So roll on,
Columbia, roll on!

2.  Other great rivers add power to you,
     Yakima, Snake and the Kickitat, too.
     Sandy Williamette and Hood river, too,
     Roll on, Columbia, roll on!  (Refrain)

3.  Tom Jefferson’s vision would not let him rest,
     An empire he was in the Pacific North-west,
     Sent Lewis and Clark and they did the rest, so
     Roll on, Columbia, roll on!  (Refrain)

4.  At Bonneville now there are ships in the locks,
     The waters have risen and cleared all the rocks,
     Ship-loads of plenty will steam past the docks, so
     Roll on,
Columbia, roll on!  (Refrain)

5.  And on up the river is Grand Coulee Dam,
     The mightiest thing ever built by a man,
     To run the great factories and water the land, it’s
     Roll on,
Columbia, roll on!  (Refrain)  

                                                                Composed by Woody Guthrie

You can find a version of this song in Silver Burdett's Making Music 5th Grade, 
and MacMillan/McGraw-Hill's Spotlight On Music 4th Grade.

Return to 
West Region
Lyrics Sheet Finale File Woody Guthrie

With thanks to Sharon Ogorzalek
Created: July 2005, Last Updated: 07/28/10