- NAME: Pete Seeger
- OCCUPATION: Children's Activist, Civil Rights Activist, Environmental Activist, Anti-War Activist, Songwriter, Guitarist, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: May 03, 1919
- DEATH DATE: January 27, 2014
- EDUCATION: Harvard University, Avon Old Farms
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- AKA: Pete Seeger
- Full Name: Peter Seeger
Best Known For
Pete Seeger was an iconic singer-songwriter best known for his contributions to the American folk music revival and his political activism.
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The negative press surrounding Seeger and his politics deepened in 1961, when he was convicted for contempt of Congress—a judgment that was based on earlier questioning by the House Committee on Un-American Activities regarding Seeger's political activities as well as his subsequent and repeated refusal to answer to those claims. Seeger's musical career seemed even less promising following the conviction, which would be overturned in an appeal in 1962.
Despite the controversy surrounding him,
Seeger continued to perform and record as a solo artist during this time, producing such hit songs as "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (1961) and "Turn, Turn, Turn" (1962), which was later released as a single by folk-rock group the Byrds on their album Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965).
Also during this period, Seeger participated in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the '60s, and his reputation gradually improved. In 1966, Seeger recorded an anti-war anthem, "Bring 'Em Home," including lyrics in opposition to the Vietnam War: "For defense you need common sense/ Bring them home, bring them home/ They don't have the right armaments/ Bring them home, bring them home." The song was later covered by Bruce Springsteen.
His political activism bolstered Seeger's reputation as a college-campus icon and revered American folk musician. Following the release of several albums in the '60s, including God Bless The Grass and Dangerous Songs!? (both in 1966), Seeger published a literary, historical piece about folk music, civil rights and performers from the 20th century called The Incompleat Folksinger (1972).
Throughout the rest of the '70s and into the '80s, the musician frequently performed with fellow folk singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, the son of folk legend Woody Guthrie. Also during this time, Seeger worked with other activists to remove pollution from the Hudson River and create the environmental organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, which, among many projects, hosts music festivals to help fund the river's maintenance.
Seeger is regarded as a 20th century icon today, for his political activism as well as his pivotal role in the 1960s American folk music revival. According to the Encyclopedia of Folk, Country, and Western Music, Seeger was a "father figure whose contributions as an artist and writer were highly valued by people of all ages in and out of the music field."
Seeger received several high honors in the 1990s. In 1993, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was awarded a National Medal of Arts a year later, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Following the release of his 1996 album, Pete, Seeger won a Grammy Award for best traditional folk album. That same year, he published an autobiography entitled Where Have All the Flowers Gone.
Nearly a decade later, Seeger received his third Grammy Award—this time for best traditional album—for his 2008 release, At 89. Also in 2008, the folk icon performed at President Barack Obama's inaugural celebration.
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