Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Pete Seeger: 50's Singer Composer Protester Had Many Hits

UP TO 400 VIEWS, 15 COMMENTS
     OLD POST TURNED AROUND    

Pete Seeger

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

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. 

Comment anyone?

The Byrds: Turn Turn Turn 

19 comments:

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

WHO COMPOSED THESE VERY WELL-KNOWN SONGS LIKE 'IF I HAD A HAMMER', 'IRENE GOOD NIGHT', 'KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE', AND 'WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE'. COMMENT GUYS...

MICHAEL LEE from SYDNEY AUSTRALIA said...

Wonder how many knew that these songs were Civil Rights Movement songs - something I learned from Eriko when helping her. Cheerio

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

MIKE
they are, if you read the post, haha. Yes, Eriko contacted me a few times for connections to our music scene and beyond. Smart professor they are, if you read the post, haha. Yes, Eriko contacted me a few times for connections to our music scene and beyond. Smart professor.

IRENE YAP [RECORDING ARTISTE] said...

I grew up with these songs, On top of old smokey, Where have all the flowers gone? If I had a hammer, Guantanamera and my mother loved Goodnight Irene! That's why she named me!! Now I know who composed these classics! Thank you Andy!!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

IRENE
thanks for keeping in touch. Now I know why you're always so wide awake and cheerful. Goodnight Irene, it's bedtime. CHEERS.

STEPHEN HAN said...

I can only remember Pete Seeger and the Weaver singing “Goodnight Irene”He was a great composer

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

STEPHEN
yes he was. Truly one in a million.

HIROSHI DEGUCHI [JAPAN] said...

I wonder if "What Did You Learn In School" (written by Tom Paxton and sung Pete Seeger) caught Singaporean's attention those days. It might be delicate?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

You caught me there. No I'm not familiar. Will check it out and refer back to you. THANKS HIROSHI for the feedback. I'm always learning from folks like you.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi guys, thanks for the response on this post. Yes, SEEGER is a genius, the timing was just perfect for him. Really good to know that many of you are familiar with his songs.

THANKS FOR AN OVERNIGHT LANDSLIDE FROM 18 READERS N FRIENDS WHO LIKE THIS POST. I GUESS YOU ALL RECOGNISE THE SONGS.

FL said...

Andy, many of the songs mentioned are my old time favourites, such as If I had a hammer, Irene goodnight, Kisses sweeter than wines. Used to hear these songs over the radio in the early sixties. In those years, Singapore had only one English radio station on medium wave (MW). Correct me if I m wrong. Back then, I tuned to the radio and they happened to play the songs I liked very much but I did not know the titles. But the big disappointment to me then was the radio station did not repeat the song titles ! It is truly those were the days !

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi FL,
What you say is absolutely true. It's easy to listen to a song and not know the titles in the 60s. Later on the DJs or Radio Announcers were directed to name the song a few times on the programme to inform the listening public.

Thanks for keeping in touch FL.

Just for your information, we just had Penang char-kway-teow and Penang laksa for lunch earlier. Never miss a local cuisine, especially ones from our North island of Penang.

Thanks for your visit FL. Please come again.

FACEBOOK CHATS said...

Ivor Lesslar
Freda Hanum
Alphonso Soosay
Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Stephen Han
Yip Dick
Foo Jong Fook
Fred Ching
Hiroshi Deguchi
Irene Yap
Michael Lee
Jalani Mohamed
Ann Rowena Lim
Gracie Teo
Roop Singh
Ben van der Laan-Hatikustia
Patrick Teng
Myo Min Htun
Somkid Lakhawat
Michael Fonseca
Gracie Mary
Kali Dass S
AudMon Flotat
Davy Chan
Ser Kiong Tan
Lim Nance

THANKS TO THE ABOVE FOLKS WHO LOVE SEGEER'S SONGS

FRED CHING said...

Gosh, listening to Pete Seeger and The Weavers again from this collectables surely brought back memories when I was a kid living in Hindhede Drive. Thanks to my neighbour Mr. Lim, a teacher then who would blast their songs over for us kampung kids and exposing us to The Weavers, America’s premier and most influential “folk group”. Still remember this song recorded in May 1963 by The Weavers.

In 1966, a version by American vocal group the Sandpipers got a gold record based on an arrangement by the Weavers. So fortunate to have watched the Sandpipers sang this song live in Singapore in 1973 too.
👍❤️🥰…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s47nKRKfq2A

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This posting is very popular. THANKS GUYS FOR THE INTERESTING COMMENTS AND FEEDBACK.

MICHAEL LEE from SYDNEY AUSTRALIA said...

Hi Andy
Eriko and I are music researchers in our different ways.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...


Michael Lee
I understand Mike. I learnt a lot from you too.
More articles from you if possible, most welcome.

suituapui said...

Seeger's cover of Bob Dylan's Forever Young is my favourite - the nicest one of all!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks very much SUITUAPUI for the timely comment.
Yes, the phrase is appealing to many, especially to our Young Once community...
I wish.

I need to visit your blog more often. I hardly do but must make an attempt since I have been visiting our food school with family and friends, enjoying their cuisine and fancy meals at reasonable prices.

Happy cooking sir!
And keep the music playing too!