Results 1 to 14 of 14
Like Tree12Likes
  • 6 Post By witchcurlgirl
  • 1 Post By Seth82
  • 1 Post By Bluebonnet
  • 1 Post By KrisNine
  • 2 Post By Seth82
  • 1 Post By Seth82

Thread: Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

  1. #1
    Elite Member MmeVertigina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Your inner ear
    Posts
    3,545

    Default Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

    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.His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
    Mr. Seeger’s 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.
    For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.
    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 children’s 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 Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” — which reached No. 1 — and “If I Had a Hammer,” which he wrote with the group’s Lee Hays. Another of Mr. Seeger’s 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. Seeger’s setting of a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
    Mr. Seeger was a mentor to younger folk and topical singers in the ‘50s and ‘60s, among them Bob Dylan, Don McLean and Bernice Johnson Reagon, who founded Sweet Honey in the Rock. Decades later, Bruce Springsteen drew the songs on his 2006 album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” from Mr. Seeger’s repertoire of traditional music about a turbulent American experience, and in 2009 he performed Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” with Mr. Seeger at the Obama inaugural. At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Mr. Seeger’s 90th birthday, Mr. Springsteen introduced him as “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”
    Although he recorded more than 100 albums, Mr. Seeger distrusted commercialism and was never comfortable with the idea of stardom. He invariably tried to use his celebrity to bring attention and contributions to the causes that moved him, or to the traditional songs he wanted to preserve.
    Mr. Seeger saw himself as part of a continuing folk tradition, constantly recycling and revising music that had been honed by time.
    During the McCarthy era Mr. Seeger’s political affiliations, including membership in the Communist Party in the 1940s, led to his being blacklisted and later indicted for contempt of Congress. The pressure broke up the Weavers, and Mr. Seeger disappeared from television until the late 1960s. But he never stopped recording, performing and listening to songs from ordinary people. Through the decades, his songs have become part of America’s folklore.
    “My job,” he said in 2009, “is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.”
    Peter Seeger was born on May 3, 1919, to Charles Seeger, a musicologist, and Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger, a concert violinist. His parents later divorced.

    He began playing the ukulele while attending Avon Old Farms, a private boarding school in Connecticut. His father and his stepmother, the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, were collecting and transcribing rural American folk music, as were folklorists like John and Alan Lomax. He heard the five-string banjo, which would become his main instrument, when his father took him to a square-dance festival in North Carolina.
    Young Pete became enthralled by rural traditions. “I liked the strident vocal tone of the singers, the vigorous dancing,” he is quoted in “How Can I Keep From Singing,” a biography by David Dunaway. “The words of the songs had all the meat of life in them. Their humor had a bite, it was not trivial. Their tragedy was real, not sentimental.”
    Planning to be a journalist, Mr. Seeger attended Harvard, where he founded a radical newspaper and joined the Young Communist League. After two years, he dropped out and came to New York City, where Mr. Lomax introduced him to the blues singer Huddie Ledbetter, known as Lead Belly. Mr. Lomax also helped Mr. Seeger find a job cataloging and transcribing music at the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress.
    Mr. Seeger met Mr. Guthrie, a songwriter who shared his love of vernacular music and agitprop ambitions, in 1940, when they performed at a benefit concert for migrant California workers. Traveling across the United States with Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Seeger picked up some of his style and repertory. He also hitchhiked and hopped freight trains by himself, trading and learning songs.
    When he returned to New York later in 1940, Mr. Seeger made his first albums. He, Millard Lampell and Mr. Hays founded the Almanac Singers, who performed union songs and, until Germany invaded the Soviet Union, antiwar songs, following the Communist Party line. Mr. Guthrie soon joined the group.
    During World War II the Almanac Singers’s repertory turned to patriotic, antifascist songs, bringing them a broad audience, including a prime-time national radio spot. But the group’s earlier antiwar songs, the target of an F.B.I. investigation, came to light, and the group’s career plummeted.
    Before the group completely dissolved, however, Mr. Seeger was drafted in 1942 and assigned to a unit of performers. He married Toshi-Aline Ohta while on furlough in 1943.
    When he returned from the war he founded People’s Songs Inc., which published political songs and presented concerts for several years before going bankrupt. He also started his nightclub career, performing at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village. Mr. Seeger and Paul Robeson toured with the campaign of Henry Wallace, the Progressive Party presidential candidate, in 1948.
    Mr. Seeger invested $1,700 in 17 acres of land overlooking the Hudson River in Beacon and began building a log cabin there in the late 1940s. In 1949, Mr. Seeger, Mr. Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman started working together as the Weavers. They were signed to Decca Records by Gordon Jenkins, the company’s music director and an arranger for Frank Sinatra. With Mr. Jenkins’s elaborate orchestral arrangements, the group recorded a repertoire that stretched from “If I Had a Hammer” to a South African song, “Wimoweh” (the title was Mr. Seeger’s mishearing of “Mbube,” the name of a South African hit by Solomon Linda), to an Israeli soldiers’ song, “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” to a cleaned-up version of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene.” Onstage, they also sang more pointed topical songs.
    In 1950 and 1951 the Weavers were national stars, with hit singles and engagements at major nightclubs. Their hits included “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” and Mr. Guthrie’s “So Long (It’s Been Good to Know Yuh),” and they sold an estimated four million singles and albums.
    But “Red Channels,” an influential pamphlet listing performers with suspected Communist ties, appeared in June 1950 and listed Mr. Seeger, although by then he had quit the Communist Party. He would later criticize himself for having not left the party sooner, though he continued to describe himself as a “communist with a small ‘c.’ ”

    Despite the Weavers’ commercial success, by the summer of 1951 the “Red Channels” citation and leaks from F.B.I. files had led to the cancellation of television appearances. In 1951, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee investigated the Weavers for sedition. And in February 1952, a former member of People’s Songs testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that three of the four Weavers were members of the Communist Party.
    As engagements dried up the Weavers disbanded, though they reunited periodically in the mid-1950s. After the group recorded an advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes, Mr. Seeger left, citing his objection to promoting tobacco use.
    Shut out of national exposure, Mr. Seeger returned primarily to solo concerts, touring college coffeehouses, churches, schools and summer camps, building an audience for folk music among young people. He started to write a long-running column for the folk-song magazine Sing Out! And he recorded prolifically for the independent Folkways label, singing everything from children’s songs to Spanish Civil War anthems.
    In 1955 he was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he testified, “I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature.” He also stated: “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”
    Mr. Seeger offered to sing the songs mentioned by the congressmen who questioned him. The committee declined.
    Mr. Seeger was indicted in 1957 on 10 counts of contempt of Congress. He was convicted in 1961 and sentenced to a year in prison, but the next year an appeals court dismissed the indictment as faulty. After the indictment, Mr. Seeger’s concerts were often picketed by the John Birch Society and other rightist groups. “All those protests did was sell tickets and get me free publicity,” he later said. “The more they protested, the bigger the audiences became.”
    By then, the folk revival was prospering. In 1959, Mr. Seeger was among the founders of the Newport Folk Festival. The Kingston Trio’s version of Mr. Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” reached the Top 40 in 1962, soon followed by Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of “If I Had a Hammer,” which rose to the Top 10.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/ar...4.html?hp&_r=0
    There is more at the link, I can't get it to copy correctly.

  2. #2
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Acerbia
    Posts
    34,687

    Default

    Springsteen introducing Seeger at the Garden on Seeger's 90th: "He's gonna look a lot like your granddad that wears flannel shirts and funny hats. He's gonna look like your granddad if your granddad can kick your ass. At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country's illusions about itself. Pete, you outlasted the bastards, man,"
    sputnik, tulip, Seth82 and 3 others like this.



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  3. #3
    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    8,653

    Default

    RIP Pete Seeger

    He was an amazing musician and lyricist.

    Last edited by Seth82; January 28th, 2014 at 10:05 AM.
    Bluebonnet likes this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

  4. #4
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    9,191

    Default

    RIP. I remember my dad playing me "Little Boxes" over and over when I was young.

  5. #5
    Elite Member JadeStar70's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    BFE, Iowa
    Posts
    7,566

    Default

    I remember having to sing a bunch of his songs in music class and choir as a kid. Not that I appreciated the songs back then, or now, but rest in peace anyway, Mr. Seeger.



    I actually hated your song, "If I Had a Hammer", with a flipping passion. If I had had a hammer back then,...I would have hit my music teacher with it!
    Last edited by JadeStar70; January 28th, 2014 at 11:38 AM.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member 70sRock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    241

    Default

    I know a musician who sounds and covers exactly like Pete. He will be devastated. RIP Pete!

  7. #7
    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    11,994

    Default

    This land is your land....
    This land is my land....
    From California
    To the New York Islands....

    From the Redwood forrests
    to the gulf stream waters....
    This land was made for you and me.

    Rest in peace, dear man.
    darksithbunny likes this.
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

  8. #8
    Elite Member JadeStar70's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    BFE, Iowa
    Posts
    7,566

    Default

    Awww yes,...another favorite of my grade school music teacher...lol

  9. #9
    Elite Member missbazilb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Vancouver
    Posts
    1,564

    Default

    Being Canadian, we had this version:

    This land is your land,
    this land is my land,
    from Bona Vista,
    to Vancouver Island,
    From the Arctic Circle,
    to the Great Lake waters,
    This land was made for you and me.

    I too, wasn't a big fan of "If I had a hammer". My grade three music teacher loved it!

  10. #10
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sleepy night night land
    Posts
    24,077

    Default

    RIP.

    I'm a hippie at heart and this guy was just the coolest.

    WCG, I really like what Springsteen had to say
    Bluebonnet likes this.

  11. #11
    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    8,653

    Default



    I read a story some years back about what an absolutely incredible act of defiance this was at the time, and how he was censored by CBS who were frightened by its tone. After Tom and Dick Smothers put themselves on the line and insisted that Seeger perform the song on their show they relented and this was the result a few months later.

    These days we take for granted how much freedom of speech we have, but in those days this was an ENORMOUS act of moral fiber and courage.

    He was blacklisted from television for a decade after refusing to be intimidated in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee by questions about having sung at rallies where Communists were present. Ironically, his first Smothers Brothers taping, where he was censored off, was to be his return to commercial media after the ban.

    What a pillar. One of those people who was accused of being Anti-American when, of course, he was 100 times the patriot than those on the House Un-American Activities Committee were. A man who walked the walk like few today do. It makes seeing the talking heads of the people in politics today even more cringe-worthy.
    MmeVertigina and twitchy2.0 like this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

  12. #12
    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    14,965

    Default

    Yep. Learned all his songs in music class elementary school. good times. Thanks, Pete. Peace out.

  13. #13
    Elite Member I'mNotBitter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stepford
    Posts
    1,710

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    This land is your land....
    This land is my land....
    From California
    To the New York Islands....

    From the Redwood forrests
    to the gulf stream waters....
    This land was made for you and me.

    Rest in peace, dear man.
    Um, that's Woody Guthrie.

    slinks away in silence...

  14. #14
    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    8,653

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by I'mNotBitter View Post
    Um, that's Woody Guthrie.

    slinks away in silence...
    After Woody died, Pete was one of the ones who helped keep this song alive in the consciousness of america.



    I liked that he would add the following verses.

    Maybe you've been working as hard as you're able,
    But you've just got crumbs from the rich man's table,
    And maybe you're thinking, was it truth or fable,
    That this land was made for you and me.

    Woodland and grassland and river shoreline,
    To everything living, even little microbes,
    Fin, fur, and feather, we're all here together,
    This land was made for you and me.

    And a Native American verse:

    This land is your land, but it once was my land,
    Until we sold you Manhattan Island.
    You pushed our Nations to the reservations;
    This land was stole by you from me.
    Bluebonnet likes this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 1
    Last Post: September 18th, 2013, 09:49 PM
  2. Gerry Rafferty, Songwriter, Dies at 63
    By michaelchance in forum Latest Gossip
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: January 5th, 2011, 01:38 PM
  3. Pete Postlethwaite dies aged 64
    By levitt in forum Latest Gossip
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: January 4th, 2011, 07:11 AM
  4. Former Kinks bassist Pete Quaife dies
    By Novice in forum Latest Gossip
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: June 28th, 2010, 08:01 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •