Pete Seeger, the influential folk troubadour who was among the early influences in popular music, passed away Monday at the age of 94. According to his grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson, Seeger died in his sleep during the evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital, surrounded by family members.
For seven decades, Seeger was an iconic figure in folk music, who performed alongside other fellow icons including Woody Guthrie and the Weavers, and was a huge influence to countless artists including Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Bruce Springsteen and Joan Baez. Many of the songs he wrote or co-wrote included “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”, “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “If I Had a Hammer”, and during the 1960s have become hits for other artists including Judy Collins, the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary, and most notably the Byrds (whose version of “Turn Turn Turn!” hit number one on the charts).
Seeger was also responsible for the popularization of the spiritual “We Shall Overcome”, which would become the anthem for the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement, something that Seeger has always been a part of, as well as environmental causes and international disarmament. Some of the causes he became a part of included the cleanup of the Hudson River in 1969, oppositions of the Vietnam War, and most recently the Occupy Movement. Seeger has honored numerous times, including in 2006 with the album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as an early influence.