Pete Seeger: 1919 – 2014 (UPDATED)
"This Land Is Your Land"
John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Pete Seeger, Dave Matthews, Neil Young
Farm Aid 2013 - Saratoga Springs, New York
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Photo by Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve, Inc. via http://www.farmaid.org
(Click photo to enlarge)
Pete Seeger has joined the great gig in the sky.
Pete Seeger's last public performance was at Farm Aid 2013 in Saratoga Springs, New York with John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, and Neil Young singing "This Land Is Your Land".
A truly priceless moment if there ever was one.
To say that Pete Seeger was a folk legend would be a vast understatement.
We'll try and update later today as tributes arrive trying to put in perspective something can't really be done.
From Neil Young's offical Facebook page:
Thank you Pete my friend, for all you have done for us. We sing in your voice about the things that matter, the story of the people and their struggle, with a laugh and a cry.U.S. President Barack Obama released a statement Tuesday morning:
"Once called 'America's tuning fork,' Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song.
But more importantly, he believed in the power of community -- to stand up for what's right, speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be. Over the years, Pete used his voice -- and his hammer -- to strike blows for worker's rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation.
And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayer to Pete's family and all those who loved him."
Pete Seeger's great heart was matched only by his commitment to social justice. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) January 28, 2014
Arlo Guthrie wrote on Facebook :
I usually do a little meditation and prayer every night before I go to sleep – Just part of the routine. Last night, I decided to go visit Pete Seeger for a while, just to spend a little time together, it was around 9 PM. So I was sitting in my home in Florida, having a lovely chat with Pete, who was in a hospital in New York City. That’s the great thing about thoughts and prayers- You can go or be anywhere.
I simply wanted him to know that I loved him dearly, like a father in some ways, a mentor in others and just as a dear friend a lot of the time. I’d grown up that way – loving the Seegers – Pete & Toshi and all their family.
I let him know I was having trouble writing his obituary (as I’d been asked) but it seemed just so silly and I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound trite or plain stupid. “They’ll say something appropriate in the news,” we agreed. We laughed, we talked, and I took my leave about 9:30 last night.
“Arlo” he said, sounding just like the man I’ve known all of my life, “I guess I’ll see ya later.” I’ve always loved the rising and falling inflections in his voice. “Pete,” I said. “I guess we will.”
I turned off the light and closed my eyes and fell asleep until very early this morning, about 3 AM when the texts and phone calls started coming in from friends telling me Pete had passed away.
“Well, of course he passed away!” I’m telling everyone this morning. “But that doesn’t mean he’s gone.”
In 2009, Springsteen performed at New York’s Madison Square Garden in celebration of Seeger’s 90th birthday, and said:
“At some point Pete Seeger decided he’d be a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history. He’d be a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people, and despite Pete’s somewhat benign, grandfatherly appearance, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant, and nasty optimism. Inside him he carries a steely toughness that belies that grandfatherly facade and it won’t let him take a step back from the things he believes in. At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country’s illusions about itself.”In Pete Seeger's testimony before The House Un-American Activities Committee, on August 18, 1955, his answer to the question of whether he sung to Communists:
“ I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.”Pete walked like a giant because he was a giant -- yet he was the most humble and gracious giant to ever walk the face of music.
Pete, we all walk these lands for you ... and us.
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