Seger: Political Folk Singer, Dies at 94

Folk singer Pete Seeger, who established the music as an expression of social justice during a career that spanned eight decades, has died. He was 94.

In 2009 – nearly 48 years after his conviction for contempt of Congress — he performed at President Barack Obama’s inaugural celebration.

More than any performer, Seeger was instrumental in popularizing American folk music. Many of the country’s most loved songs were passed along via Seeger’s voluminous recordings of them; his album discography runs to over 100 titles.

He viewed the sharing of folk songs as a democratic act. To participate in singing songs together – which Seeger encouraged in the group sing-alongs that were an inevitable feature of his concerts – was to participate in the inner workings of the country itself.

The banjo-plucking tenor’s name was synonymous with musical activism from the very beginning. Reared in the leftist folk movement of the 1940s, where he appeared alongside such iconic figures as Woody Guthrie, he established himself as a member of the Almanac Singers, a group with deep ties to the U.S. labor movement.

Seeger was briefly a major pop star in the early 1950s: His quartet the Weavers recorded a slickly produced version of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene” that rivaled Patti Page’s “The Tennessee Waltz” as the biggest single of 1950.

Seeger’s career ran aground during the anti-Communist ferment of the era. A former member of the American Communist Party, he refused to answer questions during an appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee, resulting in a conviction for contempt of Congress that derailed him professionally and left him banned from network TV for more than a decade.

Nonetheless, he was an idol of the nascent folk revival of the ‘60s; his compositions “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” were respectively recorded by the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary and the Byrds with great commercial success.

He was closely identified with the ‘60s civil rights movement, and had a hand in adapting the 1901 Baptist hymn “I’ll Overcome Someday” into the anthem “We Shall Overcome,” which he helped popularize on a like-titled 1963 live album. He was also vocal in his endorsement of nuclear disarmament, an end to the Vietnam War and environmental protection and his opposition to capital punishment.

An enduring icon of the folk community, his music and philosophy have been embraced by generations of artists, including such performers as Bob Dylan (whose original songs were first championed by Seeger) and Bruce Springsteen (who paid homage with “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,” a 2006 recital of his material.

Springsteen later defined Seeger’s import for the New Yorker’s Alec Wilkinson: “He had a real sense of the musician as historical entity — of being a link in the thread of people who sing in others’ voices and carry the tradition forward…(and a sense) that songs were tools, and, without sounding too pretentious, righteous implements when connected to historical consciousness.”

Seeger was born May 3, 1919, in New York. His parents were Harvard-educated musicologist (and pacificist) Charles Seeger and concert violinist and educator Constance Edson Seeger. When he turned seven, his parents divorced, and his father soon married his student, composer Ruth Crawford Seeger.

His half-siblings from that second union included the future folk singers Mike Seeger, co-founder of the New Lost City Ramblers, and Peggy Seeger, who married British folk star Ewan MacColl.

Seeger took up the ukulele as a boarding school student. He began playing the banjo after hearing folklorist Bascom Lamar Lunsford at a 1936 folk festival in North Carolina. (He would later become adept at six- and 12-string guitar and recorder).

By the time he enrolled at Harvard, Seeger was reading leftist literature like the magazine New Masses and the muckraking journalists Lincoln Steffens and Mike Gold. He joined the Young Communist League in 1936. After dropping out of Harvard in 1938, he got his first semi-professional musical experience as a member of a touring puppet theater.

In 1940, he got a job in Washington, D.C. as an assistant to a family friend, folklorist Alan Lomax, head of the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folk Song. That year, through Lomax, he met Oklahoma-born singer-songwriter Guthrie at a benefit concert for migrant workers. He was soon traveling with Guthrie, and performed with him on “Back Where I Come From,” the weekly CBS Radio folk show produced by Lomax.

In 1941, Seeger became a founding member of the Almanac Singers, a politically charged folk unit whose free-floating membership also included his New York roommates, writer-musician Millard Lampell and Arkansas-born singer Lee Hays, as well as Lomax’s sister Bess Lomax Hawes and Guthrie. The group recorded for Keynote Records, and was closely identified with pro-union activities and, initially, with anti-war sentiments. (The group changed its tune after Germany’s invasion of Russia.)

In 1942 – the same year he joined the American Communist Party – Seeger was drafted into the wartime Army; the following year, he married Japanese-American Toshi-Aline Ohta. The couple’s first child, also named Peter, died while Seeger was stationed overseas.

Following his return from the service, Seeger was instrumental in the founding of People’s Songs, a group devoted to the dissemination of pro-labor material and new compositions. Hays and singer Ronnie Gilbert were present at the group’s first meeting, and another singer-songwriter, Fred Hellerman, was soon contributing songs to its monthly bulletins (which served as a basis for such later folk magazines as Sing Out! and Broadside, in which Seeger was also active).

In 1948, Seeger published the first edition of his book “How to Play the 5-String Banjo,” still a basic text today.

The following year, he co-authored “If I Had a Hammer” with Hays for performance at a benefit for imprisoned Communist Party leaders. He and his family also narrowly escaped injury that September during a riotous protest of a concert appearance by African-American singer-actor-leftist Paul Robeson in Peekskill, N.Y.

The Weavers, co-founded by Seeger, Hays, Gilbert and Hellerman in 1948, were signed to Decca Records in 1949 by producer-arranger Gordon Jenkins, whose lushly orchestrated renderings of folk tunes led to the group’s massive success.

Their first hit, “Goodnight Irene,” held the No. 1 slot on the U.S. charts for 13 weeks, equalling the stay of “The Tennessee Waltz.” Other Weavers numbers reached the top five in 1950-52: the Israeli folk song “Tzena Tzena Tzena” (No. 2), Guthrie’s “So Long (It’s Been Good to Know Ya)” (No. 4) and the traditional “On Top of Old Smoky” (No. 2).

However, even though Seeger moved away from the Communist Party in the late ‘40s, the Weavers’ leftist affiliations led to scrutiny by the FBI, red-baiting publications like Red Channels and the tabloid press. A mountain of negative publicity forced the group to disband in 1952.

Seeger was subsequently subpoenaed by HUAC, and testified before the committee in New York in 1955. Declining to invoke the Fifth Amendment (as Hays did at his appearance), he said, “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked.”

Cited for contempt, he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to prison in 1961, but an appellate court overturned the conviction in 1962.

Though the Weavers were effectively blacklisted, their manager Harold Leventhal undertook a gamble and resuscitated their reputation with a concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Christmas Eve 1955. A popular recording of the rousingly received event was issued by Vanguard Records in 1957.

Seeger continued to tour with the group before embarking on a solo career in 1958. He recorded prolifically for Moses Asch’s independent label Folkways.

Though his career remained under a cloud, Seeger was a greatly admired figure among the musicians and fans who stoked the so-called “folk revival” of the late ‘50s.

In 1959, he helped organize the first Newport Folk Festival with promoter George Wein. He was a central figure at the Rhode Island event in its early years, and he championed such young luminaries as Dylan (with whom he split after his electrified set in 1965) and Joan Baez. His popularity did not keep ABC from barring him from its early-‘60s folk series “Hootenanny,” an act that led folk stars like Baez to abandon the show.

Seeger’s visibility as an advocate for burgeoning civil rights activism in the U.S. culminated in a 1963 Carnegie Hall concert mainly comprising “movement songs.” Columbia Records released an album of the show, “We Shall Overcome,” which reached No. 42. In 1964, his Columbia single “Little Boxes,” a cover of a Malvina Reynolds song mocking conformity, hit No. 70.

While Seeger remained poison to network TV programmers, he secured airtime as the host of “Rainbow Quest,” a weekly series modestly produced by an independent New York UHF station. The show, which ran in 1965-66, featured him interviewing and performing with such revered performers as the Stanley Brothers, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, Rev. Gary Davis and Johnny Cash.

He finally returned to national TV in 1967, but not without controversy. He was scheduled to perform “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” an original song sharply critical of the Vietnam War, on CBS’s “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.” After the number was lopped from the show by network censors, its hosts protested and a furor ensued, and the song aired on a later telecast.

Always a man who loved the land – he built his family’s log cabin in upstate Beacon, N.Y., with his own hands – Seeger became increasingly active in the environmentalist movement in the mid- and late ‘60s.

He founded a group devoted to cleaning up the state’s severely polluted Hudson River in 1966, and three years later he launched the sloop Clearwater as a water-born performance space to publicize environmental rehabilitation. His 1973 album “Rainbow Race” featured several songs with environmental themes.

Seeger could still take sustained heat for his outspoken views, and for actions like a 1972 trip to North Vietnam as the conflict continued to rage. But as the years progressed, he moved comfortably into the role of elder folk statesman.

In 1975 he released “Together in Concert” with Woody Guthrie’s son Arlo, who would become a regular onstage partner. The year 1980 was highlighted by a pair of reunion concerts at Carnegie Hall with the Weavers. “The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time,” a feature documentary about the shows and the group’s history, was released in 1982; it was directed by Jim Brown, who later helmed the 2008 PBS documentary about Seeger, “The Power of Song.”

Despite his controversy-courting history, Seeger was accorded many of the accolades accorded the musical elite as his performing career wound down.

He received three Grammy Awards (for best traditional folk album in 1997 and 2009 and for best children’s album in 2011) and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, and was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1994. Appleseed Records released an all-star two-CD Seeger tribute, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” in 1998.

He published an autobiography, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” in 1993, and was the author of several folk songbooks.

True to form, he remained a man of the people and stayed on the firing line. In 2011, at the age of 92, he marched on a pair of canes in an Occupy Wall Streeet demonstration in Manhattan, joined by his grandson and Arlo Guthrie.

One of his last recordings was a version of Dylan’s “Forever Young” for “Chimes of Freedom,” a two-CD collection benefiting Amnesty International. He was nominated for a 2014 Grammy for his spoken word release “The Storm King.”

Seeger’s wife Toshi died in July 2013. He is survived by son Daniel and daughters Mika and Tinya.

xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88