Changing His Tune Pete Seeger, 1919-2014

 

 

 

 

 

” Just a few weeks ago, Pete Seeger featured over at our Song of the Week department for his quite discreditable role in the intellectual-property heist of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight“. Seeger lived long enough to go down and join the Occupy Wall Street protesters a year or two back. I believe he sang “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” to them, although “Where Have All The Showers Gone?” might have been more appropriate with that crowd. He died on Monday at the age of 94. Here’s what I wrote about him upon the occasion of his 90th birthday:

  This week marks not only the first hundred days of King Barack’s reign and the 30th anniversary of Mrs Thatcher’s arrival in Downing Street, but also the 90th birthday of Pete Seeger. The celebrations of Mr Seeger’s tenth decade are extensive. If he seems a remote figure from the pop culture back catalogue, not so fast: He played at the Obama inauguration. Which, when you think about it, is quite something.

  One must congratulate the old banjo-picker on making it to four score and ten, which is a lot older than many “dissenting artists” made it to under the regimes he’s admired over the years. Two years ago in The New York Sun, you’ll recall, Ron Radosh had a notable scoop: Hold the front page! Stop the presses! Grizzled Leftie Icon Repudiates…

  Who? Castro? Chávez? Al-Qaeda?

  Whoa, let’s not rush to judgment. No, the big story was: Grizzled Leftie Icon Repudiates . . . Stalin.

  A couple of months earlier, there’d been some documentary or other “celebrating” the “spirit” of Pete Seeger, the folkie colossus, with contributions from the usual suspects – Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, one or more Dixie Chicks, two-thirds of Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. Mr Radosh had also been interviewed but his remarks about Seeger’s lifelong support of Stalinism had not made the final cut. No surprise there. In such circumstances, the rule is to hail someone for his “activism” and “commitment” and “passion” without getting hung up on the specifics of what exactly he’s actively and passionately committing to.”

 

 

As usual read the whole thing