2014 January 27

Folk Singer Great Pete Seeger Dies

 

The great American folk singer Pete Seeger is credited with being a key figure in the folk music revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s, locating and recording many long-forgotten folk songs and making them available to other, younger folk singers. Seeger and his group The Weavers had several popular recordings in the early 1950s, but, because of his civil rights and left-wing activism, they were blacklisted in the 1950s. Seeger then performed largely on college campuses. He was called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) on August 18, 1955, refused to name names to the committee, and was convicted of contempt of Congress. His conviction was later overturned.

Seeger revised the title and the lyrics for an old African-American gospel song, I Will Overcome, which had become a labor union song in the 1940s. He changed the title from “I Will” to “We Shall,” and the lyric “Down in My Heart” to “Deep in My Heart.” With several colleagues, he copyrighted the updated song and assigned the royalties to a social activist foundation.

Read the biography: David King Dunaway, How Can I Keep from Singing (1981)

Listen to Seeger Sing If I Had a Hammer (1963)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE4H0k8TDgw

Learn more about Pete Seeger: http://peteseeger.net/wp/

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