Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

Singer, songwriter, musician and political activist Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94.  He was a big believer in using song for social change.

His songs have been soft spoken but powerful.  “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” on the Vietnam war.  “Turn, Turn, Turn” popularized by the Byrds.  And possibly the most powerful was the anthem of the civil rights movement, “We Shall Overcome.”

You may recall he sang “This Land is Your Land” written by his buddy Woody Guthrie at President Obama’s first inaugural.

My  favorite Pete Seeger tune wasn’t political.  It was an instrumental:

In the early 1970’s it was popularized by Leo Kottke’s version  on his landmark album “6 and 12 String Guitar.”  After many failed attempts to learn it, and seeing that my folk hero wrote it, I wrote to Seeger asking for some help.  He wrote back.  A lovely letter thanking me for appreciating the tune and detailing how I to play it.

Everybody has a favorite Pete Seeger song.  What’s yours?



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38 responses to “Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

  1. Not sure I could pick a Pete fave, too many of his songs are part of the national DNA to have fave.

  2. At the risk of sounding grandiose but for me Seeger didn’t write songs, he wrote anthems of his era.

  3. tempebev

    Thank you, Brian, for including the songs for us to enjoy. Pete Seeger was a true American icon.

  4. My pleasure, enjoyed pulling them up and listening to them

  5. I don’t know why but the Trini Lopez one put a real big smile on my face, I watched it 3 times!

  6. Henry Waxman, 20-Term Democrat, Leaving House
    Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, a diminutive Democratic giant whose 40 years in the House produced some of the most important legislation of the era, will announce on Thursday that he is retiring at the end of the year.
    Mr. Waxman, 74, joins the growing list of House members who are calling it quits, many in disappointment over the partisanship and ineffectiveness of a Congress that may end up as the least productive in history.
    “It’s been frustrating because of the extremism of Tea Party Republicans,” Mr. Waxman said in an interview on Wednesday. “Nothing seems to be happening.”

    • dnd

      Yeah, Waxman and and George Miller. Two workhorses in a sea of show horses.

      • dnd

        A couple more notes on Pete Seeger.
        “Living in the Country” is an incredibly rich tune musically. But it’s incredibly difficult to play. Probably explains why you don’t hear many covers.

        There’s a Pete Seeger model Martin 12 string guitar as well as a Pete Seeger model Vega 5 string banjo with that ridiculously long neck and no resonator.

        p.s. The Kingston Trio is still kickin’ it. They’re coming to Denver in April.

  7. Look forward to listening up on Pete Seeger. I know him more as an icon, and an interesting interview subject.

    Did know “Puff the Magic Dragon” as a kid (that was one of his?).

    Balloon Juice did a good RIP thread for Mr. Seeger. Bummed he did not get a shout out at the SOTU — he should have — but that is not something that would have bothered him in the least.

    The Balloon Juice thread:

  8. Brian: how did you do with Atlanta’s paralysis? Did you stay at or near the hospital? Did you end up one of the “stuck in cars” contingent?

    Know snow and ice is old hat to you, but your fellow Georgians …

    Happy to report DC area is back to temperate (29 degrees now sounds like a heat wave). High of 48 expected Saturday, which is appreciated because it’s funeral day for the father of a friend, and having nice weather where we can stand at the grave has to help. And then a feast afterwards, with special spaghetti sauce and homemade banana cake — favorites of the late Joseph. RIP to him, too. 89 years, so a good long life.

  9. Yeah, The Times is reporting it too, tsk – tsk

  10. Calls for his impeachment starting to come in.

  11. tempebev

    Ok, I figured it out. There are no honest politicians. Just those who appear that way until the shit hits the fan.

    • dnd

      I think there are a few honest politicians out there. Currently cousins Mark and Tom Udall. Mark’s dad Mo Udall from AZ also comes to mind. And there’s VP Joe Biden’s mentor Mike Mansfield from Montana.

      But these days they are few and far between.

  12. tempebev

    Very far and very few

    • dnd

      Here’s my prediction: Bronco’s by three. And those three will come from Bronco’s kicker Dave Prater who booted that record setting 65 yard field goal earlier this year.

  13. Are you making a velveta based dip to eat while you watch the game?

  14. I’m guessing you stocked up early then!

    • dnd

      This may come as a surprise, but I’m not a big fan of Velveeta. But I think they have a brilliant marketing strategy teaming with Rotel tomatoes. That coupled with the “alleged” shortage; brilliant.

  15. tempebev

    Sorry, D – I’m a fan but they really looked lousy. Loved the Bud commercial with the puppy.

    • dnd

      The Broncos could have easily won. But they didn’t. Sucks to be Peyton Manning today.

      This was one of those super bowls where the commercials were better than the game. My faves were the Bud puppy love, Radio Shack, Coke America the Beautiful and Tim Tebo.

      And there was Broadway Joe Namath…

  16. Apparently the Coke commercial has the haters all up in arms.

    • dnd

      To all the haters on the Coke commercial, Colorado’s first constitution was written in three languages: English, German and Spanish. The haters may also want to know that Colorado was the second state to grant women’s right to vote. The first? Wyoming.

  17. dnd: condolences, man. You are having the worst week.

    First, RIP Pete Seeger, and then the Broncos tank at the Stupor Bowl. Ouch.

    I am in shock over Philip Seymour Hoffman. Great talent, too short a life, and a young family without a father. Ouch all around.

  18. tempebev

    Just got back from a weekend trip to NM. See that the Repubs are continuing to fight O-care over immigration. They certainly pick their fights wisely. So far nothing bad has happened at the Olympics. That’s good news.

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