Pete Seeger, the fundamental American troubadour whose career formed the bridge from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Rage Against the Machine and beyond, died on Monday at age 94.
Staunchly on the side of the oppressed and the common man, firmly left in his views and populist in his approach, there was no progressive cause to which Seeger did not lend his voice, and his guitar.
To the great codex of American folk music, he added “turn, Turn, Turn,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and he made “We Shall Overcome” into the grand anthem of civil rights.
In marking his passing, President Obama declared: “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.”
The best way to honor Seeger is to carry on his work and sing his songs, and the best way to remember him is by watching him in action. We’ve curated the best Pete Seeger videos, and arranged them chronologically for you. R.I.P., Pete Seeger, May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014.
Best Pete Seeger Videos
1951: Singing with The Weavers
1963: ‘Michael, Row the Boat Ashore’
1970: On the Johnny Cash Show
2006: Pete Seeger Explains the History of ‘We Shall Overcome’
2009: ‘This Land is Your Land,” with Bruce Springsteen
September 21, 2013: ‘If I Had a Hammer,” Live at Farm Aid
Top: Pete Seeger in 1986, photo by Josef Schwartz, courtesy Wikicommons