Skip to comments.Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94
Posted on 01/27/2014 11:12:17 PM PST by deks
Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.
Mr. Seegers career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.
In his hearty tenor, Mr. Seeger, a beanpole of a man who most often played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo, sang topical songs and childrens songs, humorous tunes and earnest anthems, always encouraging listeners to join in. His agenda paralleled the concerns of the American left: He sang for the labor movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond. We Shall Overcome, which Mr. Seeger adapted from old spirituals, became a civil rights anthem.
Mr. Seeger was a prime mover in the folk revival that transformed popular music in the 1950s. As a member of the Weavers, he sang hits including Lead Bellys Goodnight, Irene which reached No. 1 and If I Had a Hammer, which he wrote with the groups Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seegers songs, Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, became an antiwar standard. And in 1965, the Byrds had a No. 1 hit with a folk-rock version of Turn! Turn! Turn!, Mr. Seegers setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
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If you can put aside the communism...
He lead an honest enough life. He was a decent enough person or you don’t get to live to be 94. He had a good run for a no good pinko commie.
I much rather hear Turn Turn Turn than something by the avowed anti-communists Justin Beiber or Gaga Gaga Gaga Lady or Kanye West or Jay-Z. I have it on good authority that Kanye despises communism but look where it got him and the rest of us who have to cover our ears when we hear is music in an elevator (perhaps)
Too bad he was a Communist. Communists aren’t bad people, unless you express a desire for freedom. Then they want to kill you...
If you didn’t know the code words, you’d hardly
think he was a commie at all.
Here’s one for ya Pete....
I dreamed I saw Pete Seegar last night, alive as
you or I...
A fake and a phony who had a hand in killing all the industry on the Hudson River.
My husband once saw him on a tv show coming into the studio wearing a tux, changing into overalls for the interview, and walking out again in his tux and expensive coat.
You are probably right about the Hudson River. He famously lived in Beacon NY. Right on the river (IIRC)
Cool ride the Lear Jet, baby. Cool ride the Lear Jet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_UWfthPEjQ
I never liked the man’s politics. But his songs captured the feel of a more innocent and idealistic America. He put folk music in the popular culture.
He was as ersatz as they came.
Son of privilege acting like poor working man. Embracing overt communism and acting as an apologist for Stalin.
Although Seeger had a “decades-long personal dislike of communism in its Soviet form”, he remained a communist. What is so hard for communists not living under a communist system to understand is that the Soviet form of communism is inevitable in every practical situation. The theory is incompatible with life in the real world, so the unstoppable reality always becomes manifest: a brutal tyranny. The more it fails, the more brutal the system becomes.
Yes, an industrial plant would have lowered his property value.
I never liked the mans politics. But his songs captured the feel of a more innocent and idealistic America. He put folk music in the popular culture.
I saw it differently. I think his music was fake and imitative. It seemed stilted to me. He imitated a true art form for the communist goals. That was the interest in folk songs.
He did fake folk music.
Seeger hated this version. He also hated The Lion Sleeps Tonight, a great version of...Wimoway? I forget how to spell that one.
The best version of "If I Had A Hammer" was by Trini Lopez in 1963, reaching #1 in 36 countries and #3 in the U.S.
Exactly!! When Pete was at his peak America was much stronger and innocent. We were a producer nation with a strong middle class. No Obama, no affirmative action, minimal welfare. Everyone worked!! Whatever commie tinged songs that Seegar came out with had minimal political impact. It was simply seen as a folk music revival. A getting back to American roots./
So Pete was a preservationist of sorts and this is conservative, He knew American history unlike today’s pro-gay marraige leftist pukes
Big hit for Trini Lopez. I remember that and he did a good jazzed up job
His political views were vile. Communists’ political views are always disguised with ‘good intentions’.