Music Monday: RIP Pete Seeger

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Pete Seeger always seemed like a pretty okay fella, and it was very nice of him to pass away early enough for me to write this Music Monday. If you don't know, Pete Seeger was a man who believed in his country, stood up for what he believed, and nearly anyone who plays a guitar and sings words pretty much owes Pete Seeger a thank you. So here we go.

Pete Seeger - What Did You Learn In School

 

In an age when protests tend to get messy and loud, it's odd to see a quiet man with a banjo making a clear statement. But this pretty song isn't saying ALL REPUBLICANS SUCK or LOL DEMOCRATS or anything, it's just saying that you shouldn't always believe what the powers-that-be tell you, which is something any one of us can get behind, right? Plus it's catchy and easy to sing the chorus and you can swap out the complex part for anything you want if you're singing it while drunk. Such is the power of folk.

See you after the jump for a little more Pete.

Pete Seeger & Johnny Cash - The Johnny Cash Show

 

It totally goes without saying that Pete Seeger was kinda an aging hippie stereotype come to life, and a lot people have hated him for his attempts to do what he thought was right. But, at the same time, here he is getting respect from Johnny Cash. Cash sings right along with Pete on a few of the songs, making it clear they're friends. You want to tell Johnny Cash he's made a mistake in picking a friend, you go right ahead and give that a shot.

Pete Seeger On The Axe Attack

 

I don't pretend to be some kind of folk music expert, and nearly everything I know about Pete Seeger comes from Wikipedia or passing his name in rock biographies or discussions about Civil Rights marches and how he stood up to HUAC in the 1950s. But, c'mon, everybody knows the story of Pete Seeger taking an axe to Bob Dylan's electric guitar. Is it true? Who knows? And why does that even matter? Like all folk songs, it's about telling the best story possible. The deeper meaning is simple: the new king defeated the old. Even if it's an exaggeration, people will never forget it. They will, however, gloss over how Bob and Pete were pals.

Pete Seeger - Turn! Turn! Turn!

 

That's not to say that Pete Seeger was always on the sidelines. Want proof? How many times in your life have you heard "Turn! Turn! Turn!" Probably a few hundred just in 1960s recap specials alone. Pete Seeger wrote that song, and others. See? He's not just a phantom in other people's legends. Man wrote #1 hits! You might also know him from a hit TV show (even though his version was a cover, of course). Pete wasn't exactly broke.

Pete Seeger - Dink's Song

 

Pete Seeger was one of the reasons folk music was rediscovered, and one can notice his legacy to performers like Bruce Springsteen and even occasionally Justin Timberlake. If you don't like his music, you almost certainly like the music of someone who did. So set down that axe, Pete, and walk proudly into Rock Heaven. Rest in peace.

Hey, we're easy. Post your favorite folk songs, they don't even have to be Pete Seeger's. And let us just remind you: some images come from the corresponding Wikipedia page and are here under fair use. See you next week.