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.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
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’.
Little boxes, little boxes, in the hillside...
There’s a pine one, and a bronze one,
and a stainless steel one, too;
And they all hold a body, just the same!
Huh. Pretty ticky-tacky if you ask me. :o)
Another dead red! We’re on a roll.
Let’s put aside his music. Very talented, not bad on the environment but somewhat ignorant of the Columbia River PCB situation.
However, Seeger, even by his own admission, was a communist literally all his life. Now, suppose he had been a talented singer and Nazi all his life.
Would we be singing his praises and songs? Doubt it.
So we have a talented performer, much like covert Soviet asset Paul Robeson (CPUSA member too), whose support for the most genocidal ideology in man’s history, is given a past by the liberals and the Left.
I guess 100,000,000 and rising victims of communist torture, starvation, execution, and medical neglect isnt’ enough to prick their conscience, that very famous conscience that screamed about the horrors of Apartheid in South Africa, but remained silent while Castro and Raol and Che tortured and slaughted tens of thousands of Cuban patriots, including some of their closest friends.
Forget Tibet (at least Richard Gere cares). Forget the slaughter in both No. & S. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (where the term “killing fields” became synonmous with those of the SS’s actions during WW2.
No. Korea. The left is silent except for the Stalinist “Workers World Party” of Ramsey Clark (he’s their front man for IAC - International Action Center and ANSWER - Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).
Sendero Luminosa of Peru. Had a support group here in the US.
I guess if you are a talented leftist/communist, you get a pass on a lifetime of supporting ideological genocide. But if you a righty and supported Pinochet, the amateur strongman of Chile (who gave up power peacefully, as did Franco), then you are a Nazi incarnate.
Somewhere along the way, our history teachers, books, and newspaper writers have perverted, corrupted, and subverted the truth. Guess it is now going to be called “Common Core” knowledge.
Yes, get them while they are young, and they will be good little Obamites for the rest of their lives. I recall Hitler, Lenin and Stalin saying the same thing.
Irving Berlin, Burl Ives, Eddie Cantor, Frank Sinatra were great singers and writers, but they always remained patriots. Can’t say the same about old Pete Seeger (he only served in the Army in WW2 after the Germans attacked the Soviet Union, not before. A sunshine patriot on the Left.
Well, now he is worm-food for a while before he goes to entertain the “troops” in Hell. I can just see him singing “Kumbaya”, “Wemiway”, “Blowing in the Wind” and “If I Had a Hammer” to the Devil. That’s gonna be one helluva party (There’s that word again - Party. I guess you can take the man out of the Party but you can’t take the Party out of the man).
Like I said earlier, another dead red. I like that! Somewhere in the graveyards of the Siberian gulags, a few million tormented souls are smiling.
Seeger’s music was real but he perverted it for the communist cause. That should have been a crime itself, a crime against culture and humanity.
Would have gotten him 10 years in a cell in Hanoi and a firing squad in the Soviet Union, Red China, and No. Korea.
Met him once when he was having a press conference about pollution on the Hudson River. His nose was redder than Rudolph’s. Not sure whether he was drunk or suffered from a skin condition.
He acted like your friendly “uncle” but in life, he was really a pedophile for communism
Godspeed you old commie
Mike Bloomfield shoulda killed you in 65(?) With his Telecaster
Clubbed you like a baby seal
Say hi to fellow commie woody...tell woody Arlo aint like him
Just to piss him off..
I listened to his Carnegie Hall concert over and over and over as a child.
You might like this video I just found of Pete with a young Johnny Cash and June Carter sitting around very casually telling stories, playing guitar and singing songs. . .
“My Back Pages” is my all-time fav Byrds song...
...the only good red is a dead red. Good riddance re: Seeger!
He hated private property for others (hence, Ticky Tacky Houses) but he lived on a major dacha in upstate NY - helping to wreck industry on the Hudson which employed so many people. So typical.
Hahaha...interesting response on my part. Almost put my foot in it...:)
When I first read your post, my inclination was to whip up a response, until I re-read it again, and realized you said exactly what I was going to say.
I think it was the first sentence that threw me off. You hear that disclaimer from nearly every socialist, communist and statist: “I disapprove of what the Soviets did, BUT...”
Well stated after I read the next 9/10ths of your post!
The reasons why people become communists without having experienced it first hand is a bit of a mystery to me. The obvious flaws in such a system, namely too much power in the hands of government, go unadressed by them. And by ignoring a problem it only get bigger.
The Black Book of Communism is a pretty good account of life under communism, which I recommend. A little bit dry, with the endless lists of attrocities visited over and over again until you have to stop and think “haven’t these people had enough?”, but no it goes on and gets even worse. From the Soviet Union to all the little despotic attempts at communism in Africa and the Americas.
It has 6 authors, by the way, former communists themselves having seen it first hand.
Will never shed a tear for a commie!
Dead unrepentant Communist PING!
He bitched and moaned about getting replaced as the entertainment on some children's show when it came to their attention that he was a proud Communist. And he acknowledged that his songs carried a pro-labor, pro-union, and sometimes anti-American message (his additions to This Land Is Your Land being among them).
Those who seek to poison the minds of small children with Communist agitprop are not good people.
He tried to cut the line when Bob Dylan was onstage playing an electric guitar “because it wasn’t authentic folk music”.
Maybe things would’ve turned out better if Pete had been successful in connecting axe to wire and gotten a heavy dose of electric reality.
Bullstalin. It took him over 40 years to even acknowledge that Stalin had done bad things.
He and Woody even went to protest against the US entering war against Hitler. Woody's "This Machine Kills Fascists" slogan on his guitar was a post 12-7-1941 addition.
What'd the Devil do to deserve that?!!!
I have no respect for those who stay here and preach communism. Go to a communist country and show us how you like it then.
no good Red Communist godless atheist folk singer bump!!!!!
"Little Houses" specifically attacked the post WWII housing boom that benefited veterans and blue collar workers allowing them to become first time property owners on a scale unimagined before. The "affordable housing" the left prattles on about.
"Little houses made of ticky tack,
little houses all the same."
G.I. Loans and the Levittown model, using war time mass production techniques to pre-fabricate as many components as possible made the workers paradise purported dream come true for a whole army of working renters.
How odd that Seeger, and several generations of hard core compassionate commies and fellow travelers took up Reynolds ditty as a belittling battle song. Meanwhile in mainland Red China Mao's subjects were all clad in "ticky tack uniforms, uniforms all the same".
Old Pete disavowed Stalin, too late for the millions that suffered and died in the gulags, yet somehow remained blind to the even greater terror of the Great Helmsman, whose Great Leap forward became the Great Famine.
Burn in hell Seeger along with the rest of your fellow traveler troubadours that piped generations of the well intended but ill informed on to the road to perdition.
Great post, Cov! I always forget that he didn’t write that song. The mockery of the Levittown houses was incredible. Oddly enough, if you visit one today you would never know that it came out of a development. People added and subtracted to the houses, painted them wonderful colors and the gardens have all sprung up as well as the trees.
Not to worry. He’ll be voting for Shillary in 2016—SEVERAL times!
“Little Boxes” is a song written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, which became a hit for her friend Pete Seeger in 1963.
The song is a political satire about the development of suburbia and associated conformist middle-class attitudes. It refers to suburban tract housing as “little boxes” of different colors “all made out of ticky-tacky”, and which “all look just the same.” “Ticky-tacky” is a reference to the shoddy material used in the construction of housing of that time.
It is in fact a mostly buried truth that Hitler had many admirers among the American left prior to WWII. He was a socialist, after all.
Yeah? What’s your point?
The “antiwar” movements in this country tended to be started by Communists protecting the intetests of Mother Russia.
They also led the protests against Vietnam and Bush’s Iraq war.
The mockery is the old standard Lenin/alinsky tactic.
Fear of that mockery lead the children of the wealthy to don laborers blue shirts and denims whilst parading around the East Village to show “solidarity” with the underclass.
Aside from the Polish Workers, who brilliantly stole that term from the Marxist-Leninist overlords, who the hell uses that term but the addled left?
Stay warm, stay safe.