Pete Seeger was one of the most iconic folk singers in music history. The singer/songwriter activist fighting for peace and justice, passed away on January 27th at New York Presbyterian Hospital at the age of 94. Seeger played a major role in the folk music revival that started in the late 1950s. Many of the songs he wrote were covered by The Byrds, Peter, Paul & Mary, Judy Collins and more; from “We Shall Overcome,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
Seeger rocketed to nationwide recognition in 1950 when the Weavers’ cover of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight, Irene” became a No. 1 hit. What may have cut Seeger off from blossoming fame was when he refused to testify before Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s notorious House Un-American Activities Committee about his associations with the leftist movement in 1955. Seeger was extremely passionate about his beliefs in peace and anti-war.
In the early 1960s, Seeger taught Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the song, “We Shall Overcome.” Later on, the singer was one of the Vietnam War’s most outspoken opponents. Seeger continued to seek out new causes throughout the 1970s and 1980s, becoming a powerful voice in defense of the environment and Native American rights. Even in his older age, Seeger maintained his role as an activist.
His legendary folk music will live on in his memory.