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Tuesday, June 07, 2022
Pete Seeger: 50's Singer Composer Protester Had Many Hits
Many Singaporeans in the 60s grew up with Seeger's music and just as many can sing his songs, myself included. These songs are classic pops now. Although many knew his songs not many folks, especially in Singapore, knew who the composer was.
Peter "Pete" Seeger, born in 1919 in Manhattan, New York was an American folk singer, and a key figure in the mid-20th century American Folk Singing Music Revival. He also had a string of hit records during the early 50s as a member of The Weavers, most notably the 1950 recording of "Goodnight Irene", a song I had always sung as a boy.
In the 60s, he returned to the public scene as a pioneer of protest music supporting international disarmament and civil rights. He also became known as an activist for environmental causes, i.e., with the song, "Turn Turn Turn".
As a song writer, he was best known as the author or co-author of "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?", "If I Had A Hammer," and also "Turn, Turn, Turn," which had 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, check posting on Kingston Trio), Marlene Dietrich (sexy French actress and singer who recorded it in English, German and French (1962), and Johnny Rivers (1965).
"If I Had a Hammer" was a hit for Peter, Paul n Mary (1962) and Trini Lopez (1963), while The Byrds and Judy Collins popularized "Turn, Turn, Turn!" in the mid-1960s and 1964 respectively. Seeger was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual "We Shall Overcome" (Joan Baez).
Pete Seeger co-authored,
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
You Tube Video by Vintageart 1994.
The Weavers' string of major hits began with "On Top Of Old Smokey" and an arrangement of the waltz, "Goodnight, Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950 and was covered by many other pop singers. Other Weaver hits included, "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine", the South African Zulu song, "Wimoweth" (featured in "The Lion King") to name a few. Some of the other songs that he wrote and was famous for, included, "Guantanamera" (English lyrics), "Last Train To Nuremberg".
Recognition and His Passing
On May 3, 2009, dozens of musicians gathered in New York at Madison Square Garden to celebrate Seeger's 90th birthday. The proceeds benefited a charity to his advocacy for environmental concerns. Another celebration continued at The College of Staten Island on May 4th.
Sadly, on 27th January 2014, Pete Seeger died in Manhattan. He was 94, became a legend in his own time and was known as the father of American folk music.
Trini Lopez: If I Had A Hammer
YouTube Video from: the rockabillie.
Strange, that I can remember nearly all of his songs. Seeger truly came during my growing up years.