In honor of contemporary folk music pioneer Pete Seeger, who died last night at age 94 of natural causes, we present a series of video clips (music and interview) with the influential singer/songwriter whose activist work never ceased and whose career spanned over seven decades. He continued performing up to last year when he sang at Farm Aid 2013 (see below), and speaking out on issues like global warming in recent years (see NY Times interview clip below).
Much more than being simply a musician or a singer/songwriter, Seeger was (as accurately described on his Amoeba website bio) also a folklorist, labor activist, environmentalist, radical leftist, rabble-rouser, and peace advocate. A known left-wing advocate in the 1950's, Seeger was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. When they accused him of being a Communist, refused to testify. Found guilty of contempt of Congress, he was sentenced to a year in prison. His leftist politics also resulted in him being banned from network TV for more than a decade.
Read his full story here on the Amoeba website, and browse the selection of recordings he left behind as his legacy (his discography includes 100+ albums to his credit) on Amoeba.com, including (a great intro to his work) the 16 track Sony Legacy series release Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits that includes such trademark songs of Seeger's as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," and "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)," and the Smithsonian Folkways 27 song collection American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 2: Pete Seeger. Other Smithsonian Folkways collections of Seeger's worth checking out include the 26 song CD collection If I Had Hammer: Songs Of Hope & Struggle, and the 2 CD set live concert recording The Complete Bowdoin College Concert 1960. Another recommended concert recording from around that same period is We Shall Overcome: The Complete Carnegie Hall Concert that is a 2CD set that features 40 songs from that 1963 New York City performance. In the first video clip below, an interview from eight years ago with Seeger at age 86, he discusses the history of the rallying protest anthem, "We Share Overcome."