Folk singer Pete Seeger, who passed away on January 27, 2014, wrote and performed many well-known songs. Some of his best songs that he co-wrote are “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song),” and “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season).”
To commemorate the signing career of Pete Seeger, 10 interesting facts about him are listed below.
Advocated for Bob Dylan when Dylan performed as a folk singer, but then the two got into a feud
Although Seeger was once a big fan of Dylan and helped his folk signing career, the two eventually got into a heated feud with each other. It was reported that, when Dylan played in 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival, Seeger became vehemently upset at Dylan when he and his band played electric music. Seeger then later denied this, and said that he was upset because of the low-quality sound system that Dylan and his band were using.
After fellow band members of The Weavers sung for a cigarette commercial, he resigned from the band
In the 1950s, as a member of the band The Weavers, Seeger enjoyed much musical success. In fact, with this band, the legendary folk singer recorded many of his hit songs, including “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song).” The singer revealed in 2007, in a documentary called Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, that he did not appreciate it when three band members performed a jingle for a cigarette commercial. This caused him to leave the band.
Encouraged people to use alternative-fuel vehicles
Throughout the years, Seeger has been an advocate for many causes, especially for civil rights and the environment. The songster musician even advocated for the usage of alternative-fuel vehicles during his lifetime.
He popularized the hymn “We Shall Overcome”
One way the American tenor helped his musical career was by helping African Americans push for civil rights. Seeger also became known for popularizing the hymn “We Shall Overcome,” which was often sung during marches for civil rights.
His wife passed away only a few months before him
In 1943, the American banjoist married Toshi Aline Seeger, who was an American filmmaker and environmental activist. Unfortunately, she died on July 9, 2013, only nine days prior to what would have been the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.
In 1996, the folk singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
For having an excellent musical career, which spanned several decades, Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. He was honored in many ways during his lifetime, including receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993; a Kennedy Center Honor in 1994; and another Grammy Award for best traditional album of 2008, for his work “At 89.”
Legendary singer Bruce Springsteen has already commemorated the life of Seeger
When Seeger passed away from natural causes, many singers were saddened at the news. For instance, guitar singer Bruce Springsteen stated, “I lost a great friend and a great hero last night, Pete Seeger.” After this, he performed “We Shall Overcome” in South Africa.
“Old Folkie” by Harry Chapin is a tribute to Seeger
The late Harry Chapin even wrote a song about Seeger titled “Old Folkie.” The lyrics of the song can be found here.
Seeger is famous for writing the song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season!)”
In the late 1950s, Seeger recorded his best contribution to music with the song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season).” This song was a commercial success, especially after the band The Byrds started singing it. The vast majority of the song was from Chapter 3 of the Book of Ecclesiastes. As such, Seeger made sure that 45% of the royalties for the song were donated to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.
Understood the importance of talking to people who have different viewpoints
Like any wise man, Seeger understood the value of talking to people regardless of whether their beliefs matched his. More specifically, in the words of the legendary folk singer, “It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.”
Seeger was 94-years-old when he died from natural causes. Although he is no longer living, his words in his songs and in the hearts of many will hopefully last forever.
Allen St. John, “Pete Seeger, Dead At 94, And The Real Story Behind His Electric Feud With Bob Dylan,” Forbes.
“Folk legend, activist Pete Seeger dead at 94,” Chicago Tribune.