Pete Seeger, legendary musician and activist, passed away Monday, January 27 at the age of 94. Seeger was a huge influence on American folk music, most notably Bob Dylan. He was always active in social justice movements, such as Civil Rights in the 60s, the Vietnam War in the 70s, and even Occupy Wall Street in 2011. Here are five songs written or made famous by Seeger, that are still as important today as when he sang them for the first time.
1.This Land is Your Land
Most Americans have memories of singing this song in an elementary school assembly, but This Land is Your Land was only written in 1940 by Woody Guthrie. Seeger and Bruce Springsteen sang the song at the 2009 Inaugural Celebration for President Obama. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt9jWoXmrLw
2. Where Have All The Flowers Gone
This song was arguably made most famous by The Kingston Trio in 1961. The underlying story of the cycle of death in the context of war is unfortunately one that still resonates with many. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=686sBxeUm14
3. If I Had a Hammer
Although this song has been covered by many artists, most famously Trini Lopez and Peter, Paul, and Mary, Pete Seeger penned the song in 1949 in support of the progressive movement. More recently, Wikileaks has the song on their list of 'inspirational material'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl-yszPdRTk
4.Turn! Turn! Turn!
You may be noticing a pattern here-- this song, although it was originally written by Seeger was also made famous by another band, The Byrds. Seeger adapted the third chapter of Ecclesiastes and set it to music to write this song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCAM3D2bYOQ
5. Little Boxes
Although Seeger did not write this song (it was originally written by Malvina Reynolds), he had a hit with it in 1963. It is a satirical song about suburbia, and most recently was the theme song for the HBO show Weeds. http://youtu.be/lIFmaFTLrng