Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pete Seeger, the legendary musician, activist, organizer, icon and human, dies age 94


Pete Seeger - America's troubador - known for his traveling folk singing, activating, and organizing, died Monday night, at age 94.

Born May 3, 1919, in Patterson, NY,  he sang his way through the Great Depression, the Unionization of miners, the civil rights marches, the Viet Nam war protests and the activism of Farm Aid.

Farm Aid 2013 at age 93:

He is the man that is credited with inspiring some of the greatest poets and musicians of our time:
Bob Dylan called him a saint.
Joan Baez said, “We all owe our careers to him.”

Known to many of us for his strong lyrics, strong heart and socialist humanity, Pete traveled the nation writing about the people.  From dust bowl dirt farmers to migrant farm workers; factory families and miners.

He brought the truth of the people to the people.

He chronicled the lives and deaths, pain and suffering of generations from war torn jungles to the deepest coal pits.

He inspired many of us to see what could be and demanded we take up the cause to bring it to fruition.
Seeger’s commitment to the revival of American folk music is rivaled only by his commitment to using music as an instrument for social change. His activism has been a constant in his career. Throughout the 1940’s, he was singing protest and union songs--first with Woody Guthrie, and his first group, The Almanac Singers, then after the Almanacs disbanded, with The Weavers, the popular folk quartet Seeger founded with Lee Hays. Their cover of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene” became a number-one selling song for 1950. But at the height of their popularity, the group was black-listed and put under FBI surveillance for their politics, forcing Seeger to spend much of the 50’s battling HUAC for his socialist beliefs.
Seeger continued to attract new audiences through his activism. In the 1960’s, his Civil Rights and Vietnam War protest songs spoke to a new generation of fans. Then in the 70s, Seeger turned his attention to the environment, a cause to which he remains devoted, going green long before it became popular to do so. And now, at age 89, Seeger still performs on occasion in public, and continues to receive accolades for his many achievements. Of note, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, the Presidential Medal of the Arts in 1994, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000, and as of today, nearly 18,000 people and counting have signed the petition to nominate Seeger for a Nobel peace prize.
The body and man may pass but the light of his truth will shine on:

“It is better to have struggled and lost, than never to have struggled at all.”

Pete Seeger (from "Seeing Red")

Rest in sweet peace, brother Pete

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