Happy Birthday Pete Seeger — a Day Late

I’m of the age for which Pete Seeger’s voice first served as one of the kindest voices of childhood.  I remember the songs from his Weavers years — think  “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine”and “Wimoweh.”*

It took a while to realize that Seeger was not simply a delightful man with the pick and a voice that made children feel befriended.  I first saw the Clearwater tied up on a decaying quay in Manhattan in the early ’80s.  That was one clue.  I listened with a bit more care to “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” written for Vietnam, worth remembering anytime over the last several years.

He was a ’30s Communist, and it took him a long time to acknowledge Stalin’s horrors to complete his break with the Soviet line; his courage was never in question, from his service in World War II (are you listening, Gutless Dick Cheney?), to his willingness to stare down the House Un-American Affairs Committee, at the risk of ten years in jail.  (Convicted of contempt of Congress, Seeger’s indictment was found by the Appeals Court to be flawed, and he was not imprisoned on the charge.)  He was on the right side of just about every politico-moral choice of the last half century, from civil rights to social justice, to the anti Vietnam war movement and much more besides.

And through it all and above all he has made lifetimes of wonderful music, some purely fun (see above), and some able to please the listener whilst moving the times.

So, a day late, but with my thanks:  Happy Birthday, Pete.

*Apologies for this link, to you and to Mr. Seeger.  It just hits my funny bone…

Explore posts in the same categories: birthdays, Music, Picking sides, pop culture, The Good Fight

2 Comments on “Happy Birthday Pete Seeger — a Day Late”


  1. “He was on the right side of just about every politico-moral choice of the last half century, from civil rights to social justice, to the anti Vietnam war movement and much more besides.”

    Supporting Stalin is… kinda a big exception. He murdered 50-60 million of his own citizens and condemned many more to an impoverished totalitarian hell of his own making.

  2. AJ Hill Says:

    Thanks for the reminder and the link to that fabulous performance by Mr. Seeger. It reminded me of seeing him perform on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour years ago, when I was a young man. We don’t always realize how precious some treasures are until they’re only memories. Carlin, Newhart, Paulson, plus the Doors, Ray Charles, the Who, and of course Mr. Seeger – I don’t even want to think about the shows I missed!


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