Born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, and also known as Joseph Hillström, Joe Hill was a labour organiser in the USA, as well as a songwriter. he was framed and killed by the US ruling class. Hill was executed by firing squad on November 19, 1915, and his last word was "Fire!" Just prior to his execution, he had written to Bill Haywood, an IWW leader, saying, "Goodbye Bill. I die like a true blue rebel. Don't waste any time in mourning. Organize... Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don't want to be found dead in Utah."
Around 1930 Alfred Hayes wrote the song whose lyrics are given below and which is often simply known as Joe Hill. Apart from Paul robeson, whose version is linked to this note, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and others have sung it.