A look back at the life of legendary folk singer Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger, a legendary folk singer and songwriter, died Monday evening at age 94. Seeger reportedly died of natural causes at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was hospitalized six days before his passing.

Seeger was considered an American pioneer for contemporary folk music. He wrote a string of hit records in the 1950s as a member of The Weavers, including “Goodnight, Irene,” which topped the charts for 13 weeks. Some of his best hits include “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “If I Had a Hammer” and “We Shall Overcome.”

Seeger was born in Midtown Manhattan and came from a family of teachers. After failing in the newspaper industry, his aunt offered him $5 to play songs for the class she was teaching. He took the offer and in 1939, the singer began his career.

Seeger once told reporters, “You don’t have to play at nightclubs, you don’t have to play on TV, just go from college to college to college, and the kids will sing along with you.”

In 1993, the singer was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and in 1996, Seeger entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and also won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.

His love for music never drifted. On March 3, 2009, he celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends at a sold-out concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden. In 2012, he contributed his own version of “Forever Young” in the album “Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.”

In one of his last interviews with Democracy Now, Seeger said of his albums “Seeds,” “Realize that little things lead to bigger things. That’s what ‘Seeds’ is all about.”

Pete Seeger certainly planted a seed of folk music in the hearts of many and spent a lifetime growing that seed with unforgettable lyrics.


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