Pete Seeger, Folk Legend, Dies at 94

first_imgAnyone who is remotely connected to folk music is undoubtedly familiar with Pete Seeger, an iconic singer/songwriter who passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Seeger was an icon from the beginning, rallying against McCarthyism and inspiring musicians like Bob Dylan to create music with a message of social change.Mr. Seeger began his career as a member of The Weavers, a successful group that scored hits with a cover of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene” and the band’s original, “If I Had A Hammer.” The music spurred an American folk revival, as Seeger championed the causes of the labor movement in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Unfortunately, pressure from the US government ended the tenure of The Weavers, as Seeger had previously registered as a member of the Communist party. Never feeling comfortable in the spotlight, Seeger spent several years recording albums while mostly staying out of the public eye, appearing infrequently to promote various causes.Eventually, Seeger found ways to instill his positive values to the community. In 1959, he was a founding member of the Newport Folk Festival – a tradition still running to this day! He continued to rally against the Vietnam War throughout the 60’s and 70’s, writing the song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.” He also campaigned for environmental causes throughout his career.In the end, Seeger recorded well over 100 albums. His music, like the folk interpretation of the spiritual “We Shall Overcome,” has slowly seeped into the fabric of American culture. In fact, in 2006, Bruce Springsteen recorded a Pete Seeger-tribute album entitled We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger even performed together as recently as 2009, playing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” at President Obama’s inauguration. About the performance, Seeger stated that his “job 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.”All in all, Pete Seeger has left this world with a legacy of social justice and optimism. To quote the singer: “The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.” -David Melamed (@DMelamz)last_img