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Pete Seeger was a good man. There aren’t many musicians you can say that about without seeming simplistic. Music is often progressed by flawed, volatile, glamorous egotists, and thank God for them. But Seeger carved out his place in history with a quieter, rarer set of qualities: nobility, generosity, humility and, when things got rough, breathtaking courage. Perhaps uniquely, he became one of the most important singers in America without ever being a star, because he believed in the song rather than the singer.

Seeger was born into privilege but not convention. His father Charles, an Ivy League professor and composer, was a pacifist and founding member of the leftwing Composers’ Collective, and he came to embrace the radical potential of folk music. Pete was an intense, idealistic Harvard dropout when, in 1940, the folklorist Alan Lomax introduced him to Woody Guthrie. Said Lomax: “You can date the renaissance of American folk song from that night.” …

An inspiring comment:


28 January 2014 3:58pm

More than sixty years ago my dad was a young man on a solo backpacking trip to New York, and after various adventures he ended up in a house party in Greenwich Village. The house belonged to a guy called Pete, who had an open door policy, and there was always a party going on. All sorts of people sang and played guitar, and others just hung around. My dad became one of them, buying groceries, cooking and pitching in as he could. He ended up staying a few days, and when he left to go back to Victoria, Pete told him that if he was ever in the Village again to drop by any time.

It wasn’t until years later that dad figured out who it was.

Via Pete Seeger: the man who brought politics to music

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