RIP Pete Seeger

American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger has passed away in New York hospital at the age of 94. His career started amongst the influential folk groups The Almanac Singers and The Weavers.
Seeger was one of the artists responsible for popularising the spiritual We Shall Overcome, had hits with Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Turn, Turn, Turn (later released as a single by the Byrds on their album Turn! Turn! Turn!). He received three musical Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among various other honors, during his lifetime. 

He had a strong belief in the power of song to change things, and was remained politically involved throughout his lifetime. He was involved in unions, the Civil Rights Movement and wrote protest songs in support of international disarmament, counterculture and environmental causes. He was once called before the US House Committee on Un-American Activities (he was cited for contempt after humourously evading questions by the committee members), and when he was in in his 90s he marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters. 

Pete Seeger singing with a young Bob Dylan

Widely known for his reaction to Bob Dylan's controversial "electric" performance at the Newport Folk Festival, he was said to have been ready to pull the plug on Dylan's set, and had to be restrained from taking a hatchet to the sound cable. Seeger would later dispute this, admitting that he did complain about the set, but that his concern was with the sound quality rather than the electrification. Check out his take on the events in this YouTube clip. 

Artists have been offering their sadness at Seeger's passing, and the White House issued a statement from President Obama. "Once called 'America's tuning fork', Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song," President Obama said. "But more importantly, he believed in the power of community... To stand up for what's right, speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be."

You can see Auckland Libraries' holdings of Pete Seeger's work here, including books, CDs and DVDs. 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 28 and is filed under ,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

2 Responses to “RIP Pete Seeger”

  1. Truly sad news about Pete Seeger, one of the true greats. Given that he was 94, it’s not unexpected, but I’d still rather hoped he was secretly immortal. R.I.P. Pete Seeger.

    1. He had a hell of a run eh. Good food and good living maybe? His longevity got me wondering about his diet, and while I couldn't find much specifics, this forewood he wrote to a cookbook from 1972 is pretty great: