Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger, 1919-2014


       R.I.P. Pete Seeger.

       Seeger, who died Monday at the age of 94, was an incredible human being. Even though he was well into his 90s, and very frail, it seemed like Pete would go on forever. He sang and fought for justice right up to the end. I remember him singing on a cold night two years ago at an impromptu gathering in Manhattan during the Occupy movement. I was lucky enough to see him in person at the Tanglewood music festival in 1989 in a concert with Arlo Guthrie. I also cherish an old LP I have of the Weavers, the wonderful folk group Pete was a part of in the 1950s.

  Aside from being a great artist, Seeger was a person of very high principle. I read today that he had refused to "name names" when hauled before the House Un-American Affairs Committee, which was investigating "communist subversion" in the McCarthy era. For that, he won a contempt of Congress conviction and was blacklisted, along with the other Weavers, by the commercial media. It would have been much more lucrative for Seeger to have just gone along with the witchhunt and given the committee what they wanted. But he was better than that.

What a life lived. He'll be so missed.