The celebrated and influential folksinger and activist Peter Seeger died on Monday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
He was 94 years old.
Seeger scored hit records in the early 1950s as a member of the Weavers; their recording of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene” topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950, according to Wikipedia.
The New York Times wrote today:
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.
Rolling Stone called Seeger “a seminal figure in American music who kept folk music alive and influenced generations of musicians from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen…”
Pete Seeger and The Weavers sing “Goodnight Irene”:
“Beans in My Ears”:
Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, “Playboys and Playgirls”:
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, “This Land Is Your Land,” Obama inauguration:
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