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July 31, 2021

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Friday, July 9, 2021

Rest in Peace Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

I remember coming home from school in tears one day when I was very young – second grade, I think. My mom asked me what was wrong and I said we had just listened to a song in school that was the saddest song in the world, and it made me cry. And I was never going to pick a flower again. It was a record of Pete Seeger singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” I still can’t listen to it without tearing up.

He died today at 94 – a troubadour of sweetness and truth in a troubled world, a man who could peer into the soul of his country and tell it what it needed to hear. It makes me glad when good people live a long time. And it makes me wish they still played Pete Seeger records in school.

John Nichols of The Nation has written an excellent short remembrance of the man that ‘outlasted the bastards.’

“Seeger, who died Monday night at age 94, was singing with Woody Guthrie when “This Land Is Your Land” was a new song. And because he meant and lived every word of the oft-neglected final verse – “Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking that freedom highway; Nobody living can ever make me turn back, This land was made for you and me”  – Read the full piece that discusses Seeger’s place in history at The Nation

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13 Responses to “Rest in Peace Pete Seeger (1919-2014)”
  1. I have his song book…I got it in HS.. I am 65…

    I feel like a family member died… He stood strong against evil that ruined people…and he outlived them all..!! With a song and a smile…!! How can ANYONE top that….???

  2. Wugmump says:

    “When I was young, my slippers were red,
    I could kick up my heels right over my head.
    When I was older my slippers were blue,
    but still I could dance the whole night through.
    Now I’m much older my slippers are black,
    I huff to the store and I puff my way back.
    But never you worry, I don’t mind at all;
    I’d rather be huffing than not puffed at all!”

    I guess his get up and go has finally got up and went.

    Sigh.
    Remember that singing is mandatory.

  3. John says:

    I like to think they still play Pete’s songs in elementary schools. I know I raised my kid on his music (along with the Weavers, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie, and others).

  4. Zyxomma says:

    When Toshi died, I didn’t think Pete would be long for this world. 94 is a fine old age, and he died of natural causes, in his sleep, which is a blessing.

    I have a family connection to Pete Seeger. My dad, Pete, Woody, Lee (Hayes), and a few other Weavers all lived together on a ranch in Arkansas. My dad taught art; the others taught music (dad was a music enthusiast, but couldn’t carry a tune). He learned some very ribald songs from that crowd. My parents were living in Brooklyn, NY when they got married. Pete offered to teach mom the banjo. It was one of her few lifelong regrets that she turned him down.

    Seeing Pete marching with the Occupiers, although he needed two canes to walk, was a great affirmation of his spirit.

    “I’m gonna tell all you people – to listen to me – Don’t try to buy no home in Washington, DC – Lord, it’s a bourgeois town – Ooh, it’s a bourgeois town – I’ve got the bourgeois blues, I’m gonna spread it all aroun’.

  5. Ripley in CT says:

    I remember the Hammer song from 1st grade. I think it was the first song I remember learning. It was 2 decades old by then but it made it into public school. I sang it at home all the time. It made me feel like I could do anything.

    PS: Jeanne, please just delete the comment I made that’s in moderation.. I typed in the wrong email.

  6. thatcrowwoman says:

    Pete Seeger, walking that Freedom Highway now.
    You invited us to sing along…with feeling,
    to walk and work together
    and that is an abiding blessing.

    Walk on that freedom highway, Brother Seeger.

    I have to believe we’re going to get there one day.

    L’Shalom,
    thatcrowwoman

    Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest – Johnny Cash and June Carter:

  7. mike from iowa says:

    Where have all the right wing,folk-troubadours gone? That’s right,they didn’t have any. What was I thinking? RIP,kind man.

  8. I feel like I have lost a very good and dear friend. I never met Pete Seeger, though I did get to see him at the Folk Life Festival in Seattle a number of years ago. I took my daughter with me because I didn’t want to go alone. She was amazed that when Pete and the other singers invited the audience to sing along, I knew all the words to songs she’d never heard. Honestly, I didn’t even realize I knew the words to some of the union songs, but after all those years of listening to Pete Seeger and all the other folk singers, the words were just there. I was listening to, and singing, fold songs when most people my age were screaming for the Beatles.

    I still have my guitar but I don’t play it often anymore. Guess it’s time to get it out again and go through some of the old songs again. I like Where Have All the Flowers Gone too. But really, I’d rather sing the hopefulness of This Land Is Your Land or even If I had a Hammer. And now those songs will be bittersweet whenever I hear them.

    • Ripley in CT says:

      I remember the Hammer song from 1st grade. I think it was the first song I remember learning. It was a decade and a half old by then but it made it into public school.

  9. Mary says:

    Thanks for posting this, Jeanne…..he did his part, that’s for sure ~an icon.

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