Pete Seeger, the great folk singer and greater man who used his fame to do good in this world, died yesterday of natural causes at the age of 94. Seeger’s musical impact is astounding: he either wrote or co-wrote such anthems as “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “If I Had a Hammer,” popularized “We Shall Overcome,” and served as a mentor, both literal and spiritual, to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, among others.
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. (Via)
To read more about Seeger, check out the NY Times‘ comprehensive tribute.
Banner via Getty Image, via NY Times