Pete Seeger is one of the giants of the folk world and there is no way I can even attempt to do him justice in a few lines and a few minutes of internet radio.
Go to the website and click on some of the links there – a video of Pete and Bruce Springsteen at President Obama’s inauguration rally and other videos showing him performing with Johnny Cash and Arlo Guthrie.
He has had a massive influence on American and European folk music – people like Bob Dylan Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and Dick Gaughan have all acknowledged his contribution not just to the folk world but to the whole world.
Of course he has made enemies along the way as well as friends – his politics are not those of big business or multinational corporations so I can hardly envisage Pete and George Osborne linking arms and singing Where Have All The Flowers Gone. He was blacklisted by the McCarthy campaign for Un-American Activities but carried on fighting and singing none the less.
I remember way back when I was still into rock and roll and didn’t know all that much about folk music. I was watching ‘Sunday Night At The London Palladium’. It was a variety show with dancing girls, ventriloquists, pop singers and Bruce Forsyth. Then on came this beanpole of a man in a check shirt and Levis – he stood centre stage with a banjo round his neck and and took the audience places they’d never even dreamed existed. I – and I suspect a few million other people – was completely awestruck.
Songs he co-wrote have become classics –
In his lifetime he was received many awards ….
A Kennedy Center Honor (1994)
The Harvard Arts Medal (1996)
He’s still fighting and talking and encouraging younger singers and songwriters. As I said at the beginning – he is simply a gentle giant of a man – a great human being.