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Today in Music – 1919 – Pete Seeger is born – Happy Birthday, Pete!

Pete Seeger 1 Today is the birthday of another American music icon, the one and only Pete Seeger will celebrate his 94th birthday today! Like Willie what more can you say about Pete. He has been a huge part of American culture over the last 70 years! From Wikipedia:

Peter “Pete” Seeger (born May 3, 1919) is an American folk singer. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene”, which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950.[1] Members of The Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, he re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, and environmental causes. As a song writer, he is best known as the author or co-author of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” (with Joe Hickerson), “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)”, (composed with Lee Hays of The Weavers), and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”, which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world. “Flowers” was a hit recording for The Kingston Trio (1962); Marlene Dietrich, who recorded it in English, German and French (1962); and Johnny Rivers (1965). “If I Had a Hammer” was a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary (1962) and Trini Lopez (1963), while The Byrds popularized “Turn, Turn, Turn!” in the mid-1960s, as did Judy Collins in 1964, and The Seekers in 1966. Seeger was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” (also recorded by Joan Baez and many other singer-activists) that became the acknowledged anthem of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement, soon after folk singer and activist Guy Carawan introduced it at the founding meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. In the PBS “American Masters” episode Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, Seeger states it was he who changed the lyric from the traditional “We will overcome” to the more singable “We shall overcome”.Contents [hide]

Pete Seeger 2 I could show clips or talk about any of the above songs. But the first song I’ll play is one that my kids grew up with thanks to the show Reading Rainbow. The song is “Abiyoyo”!

But it would not be right to pay tribute to Pete without writing about “We Shall Overcome” For me there is no song that is more stirring! Way back in college I joined with a black student protest at the University of Florida. Thoughts of singing the song with that group of protesters still moves me. So here’s Pete talking about the origins of the song!

  Finally here’s the song performed at a show in celebration of his 90th birthday! So Pete, Workers of America thank you, Black America thanks you and old and new war protesters thanks you – hell all of America should thank you for all you have done for us through the various causes you have fought for! Happy Birthday!!