Goodnight, Pete

     pete  Seeger's banjo

American national treasure, folk music legend, and my personal hero, Pete Seeger passed away on January 27 at the age of 94. I first heard his music on my parents' 78 rpm record (the kind that shattered into pieces if you dropped it). It was The Weavers singing "Tzena, Tzena" on one side, and "Goodnight, Irene" on the other. 

Pete Seeger  was so many things to so many people, I have trouble finding the words to do him justice.

He was a songwriter who gave us such classic folk songs as "Turn,Turn,Turn", "Where Have All The Flowers gone?", "If I Had a Hammer" and he adapted and popularized the old gospel song "We Shall Overcome", which became the unofficial anthem of the civil rights movement.

He was an activist, working tirelessly for worker's rights, world peace, civil rights and environmental conservation. Living along the polluted and dying Hudson River, Pete and his wife Toshi got people together to build the Clearwater sloop, and began sailing up and down the river, giving concerts and talking about the environment. Pete Seeger was named a "Clean Water Hero" in 2002 for his prominent efforts in the passage of the Clean Water Act. The Clearwater is still sailing today, and also hosts The Great Hudson River Revival (aka the Clearwater Festival), a music and environmental summer festival.

Pete Seeger on Hudson River Clearwater

He was a performer of children's songs and a great storyteller:

He was, in many ways, the father of the American folk music revival, an inspiration to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Byrds, Peter,Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio,  Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, and so many others.

And he was a banjo player extraordinaire. 

"For all of his social activism, Seeger said more than once that if he had done nothing more than write his slim book How To Play the 5-String Banjo, his life's work would have been compete." -- Tao Rodriguez Seeger

Goodnight, Pete.  We will miss you.    

 

Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger, dvd

The Essential Pete Seeger

The Essential Pete Seeger

How to Play the 5-string Banjo

How to Play the 5-string Banjo

We Shall Overcome

We Shall Overcome, the Seeger Sessions, Bruce Springsteen

Pete Seeger Pete Seeger In His Own Words book

Pete Seeger

If I Had A Hammer

If I Had A Hammer

 

Discover more great music and movies by checking out the SCCLD Music and Movies blog.  --  Debra

 

Images: motherjones.com   and  nobelprize4pete.org

 

Comments

Sigh

What a great blog for a great singer, activist and American treasure!