Profile

Pete Seeger

Folk Singer
Male
Born May 3, 1919

Peter "Pete" Seeger is an iconic American folk singer. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. Members of The Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era.… Read More

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Timeline

Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Pete Seeger.

CHILDHOOD

1919 Birth Seeger was born on May 3, 1919 at the French Hospital, Midtown Manhattan. … Read More

TEENAGE

1932 13 Years Old Charles and Constance divorced when Pete was seven, and in 1932 Charles married his composition student and assistant, Ruth Crawford, now considered by many to be one of the most important modernist composers of the 20th century. … Read More
1935 16 Years Old In 1935, Pete attended Camp Rising Sun, an international leadership camp held every summer in upstate New York that influenced his life's work. … Read More
…  At thirteen, Seeger enrolled in the Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Connecticut from which he graduated in 1936. … Read More

TWENTIES

In the spring of 1941, the twenty-one-year-old Seeger performed as a member of the Almanac Singers along with Millard Lampell, Cisco Houston, Woody Guthrie, Butch and Bess Lomax Hawes, and Lee Hays. … Read More
1943 24 Years Old In 1943, Pete married Toshi-Aline Ōta, whom he credited with being the support that helped make the rest of his life possible. The couple remained married until Toshi's death in July 2013.
1944 25 Years Old Their first child, Peter Ōta Seeger, was born in 1944 and died at six months, while Pete was deployed overseas. … Read More
1948 29 Years Old In 1948, Seeger wrote the first version of his now-classic How to Play the Five-String Banjo, a book that many banjo players credit with starting them off on the instrument. … Read More

THIRTIES

1949 30 Years Old …  He left the CPUSA in 1949 but remained friends with some who did not leave it, though he argued with them about it. … Read More
1950 31 Years Old Alone among the many witnesses after the 1950 conviction and imprisonment of the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress, Seeger refused to plead the Fifth Amendment (which would have asserted that his testimony might be self incriminating) and instead, as the Hollywood Ten had done, refused to name personal and political associations on the grounds that this would violate his First Amendment rights: "I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. … Read More
1957 38 Years Old Seeger's refusal to answer questions that violated his fundamental Constitutional rights led to a March 26, 1957, indictment for contempt of Congress; for some years, he had to keep the federal government apprised of where he was going any time he left the Southern District of New York. … Read More

FORTIES

1960 - 1963 3 More Events
1965 46 Years Old 1 More Event
Thirty-nine hour-long programs were recorded at WNJU's Newark studios in 1965 and 1966, produced by Seeger and his wife Toshi, with Sholom Rubinstein. … Read More
1966 47 Years Old 1 More Event
A longstanding opponent of the arms race and of the Vietnam War, Seeger satirically attacked then-President Lyndon Johnson with his 1966 recording, on the album Dangerous Songs!?, of Len Chandler's children's song, "Beans in My Ears". … Read More
1967 48 Years Old 1 More Event
Seeger attracted wider attention starting in 1967 with his song "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy", about a captain—referred to in the lyrics as "the big fool"—who drowned while leading a platoon on maneuvers in Louisiana during World War II. … Read More

FIFTIES

1969 50 Years Old At the November 15, 1969, Vietnam Moratorium March on Washington, DC, Seeger led 500,000 protesters in singing John Lennon's song "Give Peace a Chance" as they rallied across from the White House. … Read More
1972 53 Years Old In the documentary film The Power of Song, Seeger mentions that he and his family visited North Vietnam in 1972.
1977 58 Years Old Being a supporter of progressive labor unions, Seeger had supported Ed Sadlowski in his bid for the presidency of the United Steelworkers of America. In 1977 Seeger appeared at a fundraiser in Homestead, Pennsylvania.
1978 59 Years Old In 1978, Seeger joined American folk, blues, and jazz singer Barbara Dane at a rally in New York for striking coal miners. … Read More

LATE ADULTHOOD

1982 - 1995 2 More Events
2007 88 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2007, in response to criticism from a historian Ron Radosh, a former Trotskyite who now writes for the conservative National Review—Seeger wrote a song condemning Stalin, "Big Joe Blues": "I'm singing about old Joe, cruel Joe. / He ruled with an iron hand. /He put an end to the dreams / Of so many in every land. / He had a chance to make / A brand new start for the human race. / Instead he set it back / Right in the same nasty place. / I got the Big Joe Blues. / Keep your mouth shut or you will die fast. / I got the Big Joe Blues. / Do this job, no questions asked. / I got the Big Joe Blues." … Read More
2008 89 Years Old In September 2008, Appleseed Recordings released At 89, Seeger's first studio album in 12 years. … Read More
On January 18, 2009, Seeger and his grandson Tao Rodríguez-Seeger joined Bruce Springsteen, and the crowd in singing the Woody Guthrie song "This Land Is Your Land" in the finale of Barack Obama's Inaugural concert in Washington, D.C. The performance was noteworthy for the inclusion of two verses not often included in the song, one about a "private property" sign the narrator cheerfully ignores, and the other making a passing reference to a Depression-era relief office. … Read More
2010 91 Years Old In 2010, still active at the age of 91, Seeger co-wrote and performed the song God's Counting on Me, God's Counting on You with Lorre Wyatt, commenting on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. … Read More
2011 92 Years Old On October 21, 2011, at age 92, Pete Seeger was part of a solidarity march with Occupy Wall Street to Columbus Circle in New York City. … Read More
2012 93 Years Old On December 14, 2012, Seeger performed, along with Harry Belafonte, Jackson Browne, Common and others, at a concert to bring awareness to the 37-year-long ordeal of Native American Activist Leonard Peltier. … Read More
On April 9, 2013, Hachette Audio Books issued an audiobook entitled Pete Seeger: The Storm King; Stories, Narratives, Poems. … Read More
2014 95 Years Old Seeger died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on January 27, 2014, at the age of 94. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Seeger.
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