Pete Seeger Is 92 Today!

Congratulations to Pete Seeger, folksinger, activist, and American patriot, who is 92 years old today!

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19 Comments »

  1. ernest ackermann said

    Happy Birthday, Pete.

    You made the world a better place, you’ve changed the world, and changed my life.

  2. ElaineGross said

    Thank you for your continued example of “living the change that we desire”. Your life have shown us that you can make a positive difference through active proof of your beliefs.

  3. momgag said

    Happy Birthday, Pete! Thanks for all the music and for speaking truth all these years.

  4. Volquardt Kempa said

    Happy birthday!!! I sing your songs since 1968. Thank you.

  5. Happy birthday Pete, from Rosaleen Leslie -( now Dickson,)
    now in Ottawa, Canada. Wish you were here.
    Keep on singin’ babe.
    Love,
    Rosie – (a red head pal, with Jack Langstaff, – in the 30s))

  6. Margaret Kunstler said

    Happy Birthday, Pete. From the Kunstler clan.

  7. linda jones said

    Happy Birthday Pete, Thanks for your music,your spirit,for fighting the good fight and for showing so many the way to truth. With much love. Linda

  8. Rob Zucker said

    Love you, Pete!
    Looking forward to seeing you at the Sloop this summer.
    Happy Birthday!
    Rob Zucker (one of your millions of fans)

  9. Dear Pete, happy birthday from Kalman and from Hungarian friends. Thans from east Berlin in 1986. Thak you from banjo lessen, songs and words.

    Kálmán Tóth Budapest,Hungary

  10. Karen Ingeman said

    I love Pete Seeger. I am a music teacher and political activist so you, Pete are my inspiration. I believe in the power of one and you are a living example of that.
    Thank you, Pete Seeger!

  11. Paul Auger said

    Happy birthday Mr. Seeger

    I want to thank you for all you have done and are still doing to make the world a better place to live. I grew up on Rainbow Quest and Mr. Rogers. I now teach computer to Sp Ed Children. I let them know that they can use tech to work for justice, peace, and to make thier voice heard. I tell people all the time that Pete Seeger and Fred Rogers have played a major role in who I am as a person ans as a professional. I only hope I do your name justice and in a small way live up to the standard you have set

    One of my life goal is to meet you one day I am goin to try yo make it to the festival this year. Wo knows I just might do that

    Peace

    Paul Auger

    • Letty said

      Right on. Pete Seeger and Mr. Rogers! Thank you, Paul.

  12. Bill Selers said

    Pete,
    You may remember me. I sailed the Woody with you and other skippers around 1980-85. Made metal fittings for the Sojourner Truth and repairs for the Woody, was involved with the Beacon Sloop Club sailng workshops, etc. I was on the epic journey to Perth Amboy, NJ, Hurricane David and its aftermath. Those were inspiring and exciting times. Seems like yesterday.
    I’m heading for my 82nd, June first, still 10 years behind you.
    My best to you and Toshi, and, of course, Congratulations and best wishes for this, your 92nd year!
    Bill Sellers

  13. Dear Mr. Seeger,

    Happy birthday, indeed. Somewhere along the line, I drifted away from folk music, much to my sorrow. So it was with great joy that last night I discovered that you’re still with us, a spry and lively 92, still singing, still inspiring. The lyrics below are inspired by what I learned from you, Woody Guthrie, the Weavers, and so many others, long ago when I was a teenager. The lyrics are free. Play with them, change them, cut out verses whatever. You (well, not the real you, of course) are also appearing in a short story I’m writing about a singalong at a retirement community. Imagine the director’s surprise when first one, then another and another rise to sing songs like the Internationale, the Soviet Airmen’s song, and songs from the Spanish Civil War. Turns out they’re the old communists, or in the case of my cousin and me, the children and grandchildren of the old communists. Still left and proud of it.

    Anyhow, the lyrics are yours, in gratitude. Here you go:

    All the Lyin’ In the Way (A talkin’ blues for our time)

    I have been informed that these lyrics need an introduction.

    First, the lyrics are written in the tradition of the old “talkin’ blues,” usually recited more than sung, usually to the accompaniment of a guitar. So read them aloud, and you should be able to find the natural rhythm in the lines.

    Second, the line “I hear he wasn’t born here” refers not just to the “birther” crap, but to our now hysterical phobia about immigration. We don’t have an immigration problem, we have a refugee problem. How about helping Mexico become a healthy economy and defeating the cartels so people don’t need to leave their homes to find jobs and safety in the first place?

    Third, the verse about “The county that I come from” refers to Marin County, California, where I grew up and which contains, according to the U.S. Census of 2010, seven of the ten whitest communities in the country. (To quote Dave Barry, “I am not making this up.”) Some of the communities are tiny, like Inverness, on the west coast. But “Cities in the nation” works better in lyrics. When I was growing up, Marin had its own private ghetto, called Marin City, where nearly all the non-whites lived. I hear it has since been bulldozed to put up condominiums. It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized that the people who lived there worked as servants for the rest of the county. As you should be able to tell from the lyrics, I accumulated a goodly amount of anger and righteous indignation about the injustice all around me. In my grammar school, which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, we really did get a lecture about the importance of equality and integration. Why, only a couple of years before, there had actually been two Asian students at the school!

    I went to high school in what was probably the most grotesquely gerrymandered school district in the country. In my freshman year, there was one black student, a senior, who was there because, as I remember, his father was some African ambassador and he (the student) spoke perfectly Oxford-accented English. He gave a lovely commencement speech about the races being like the keys on a piano; to achieve harmony, all the keys have to work together. I can’t top that, so here you go:

    All the Lyin’ In the Way

    Intro
    Oh, children, oh children,
    What can I say?
    The problems of the past
    Ain’t the problems of today,
    We used to think for certain
    That we knew just what was right,
    And we could tell the difference
    ‘Tween the daylight and the night.
    But it’s getting awful hard
    With all the lyin’ goin’ on,
    Awful hard to know the truth
    With all the lyin’ goin’ on.

    Chorus
    Oh, the Internet is full of liars,
    The television’s full of liars,
    The magazines are full of liars,
    It’s hard to find the truth
    All that lyin’ in the way.
    Awful hard to find the truth
    All that lyin’ in the way.

    Did you hear about so-and-so
    What’s his name?
    I hear he wasn’t born here,
    I hear he isn’t sane,
    I hear the preachers sayin’
    Maybe that he’s gay,
    It’s hard to hear the truth
    With all that lyin’ in the way.
    Awful hard to hear the truth
    All the lyin’ in the way.

    Now the county that I come from
    Has a fearsome reputation:
    Seven of the ten whitest
    Cities in the nation,
    They preach an awful lot
    About the need for integration
    But it doesn’t really leave a lot
    To your imagination
    Figure how they got themselves
    In such a situation.
    Seven of the ten whitest
    Cities in the nation.
    It’s hard to see the truth
    With all that lyin’ in the way.
    Awful hard to see the truth
    All that lyin’ in the way.

    Oh, brothers and sisters,
    Here’s what we gotta do,
    Don’t pass along a story
    Unless you know it’s true,
    Just ‘cause it’s on the radio,
    Doesn’t make it so.
    Don’t listen to the speechifiers,
    Listen for yourself.
    It’s hard to know the truth
    If it comes from someone else.
    Don’t listen to the hatred,
    Don’t listen to the bile.
    Don’t listen to the liars
    Trying to trick you with their guile.
    It’s hard to know the truth
    With all that lyin’ in the way.
    Awful hard to know the truth
    All that lyin’ in the way.

    Now, it’s an easy way of livin’
    Just believin’ what you’re told
    Never thinkin’ for yourself,
    But it’s gettin’ kind of old.
    Those ads and informercials
    Are just to get you sold.
    Just listenin’ to the TV,
    Never payin’ any heed,
    Buying what they tell you,
    ‘Stead of buyin’ what you need..
    It’s hard to hear the truth
    With all that lyin’ in the way.
    Awful hard to hear the truth
    With all that lyin’ in the way.

    Now all religions they agree
    At least on one commandment
    To love thy neighbor as thyself
    (Pause)
    To love thy neighbor as thyself.
    And turn away from war.
    Really, when you think about it
    Who could ask for more?
    ‘Cause it’s gettin’ awful hard these days
    To tell the truth from lies.
    Gettin’ mighty hard to hear the truth
    With all that lyin’ in the way.
    Mighty hard to find the truth
    With all that lying in the way.

    Copyright 2011 Robin Elizabeth Wolfson

  14. agatha67 said

    I am a french woman of 52. When I was about 20, I was lucky to fimd several records of Pete Seeger’s songs on the market, with the english lyrics written on. But time has passed and I would like to find again these songs that I don’t find no more, even on Internet. I found CD of Pete Seeger no long ago, but it wasn’t good and I have been deceived. How to do to find again all these wonderful songs I had heard in the past? Sure I will buy them again (they permitted me, in France, to be able to understand and sing all the traditional american songs… and others like “In Dublin’s fair city…”, and so on)… I would like to find the same songs, in CDs now. My old discs were so old it was impossible to listen to them no more.

  15. Carlos Mesquita said

    Happy birthday, comrade.
    I I was at your concert in Lisbon, Portugal, December 2th 1983, and cherish the LP of that concert and ticket of that memorable day.
    Many happy returns.
    Carlos

  16. ellen liman said

    dear pete. i’m writing you in remembrance of your friend einer nordstrom, in thunder bay ontario., who passed away many years ago, but is still a strong part of my past, and i know was a friend of yours.

    i know i don’t have to remind you who he was. Einer was a strong union man, & a friend to young musicians.

    many in thunder bay probably saw him as just “the milk man”. you and i know he was so much more…., although, as a union man, he’s probably laughing at us somewhere now saying “well, what’s wrong with being a milk man!”)

    einer was someone i very much looked up to, and have called him a friend of mine. my own dad just turned 92 on may 8, and he was and is a strong union man too. einer (sp is not my strength!) was someone i admired, respected, and who taught me that daily living a life was our job. he was a very kind man, my friend, and yours…….so today i would like to honor you, and einer, and my dad, all strong union men…..

    thought to write after looking though an old copy of “the bells of rhymney”, 1964, that i bought from einer….great songs never die!

    with love and friendship and soladarity…..ellen

  17. John Hanson said

    I hadn’t been born when you started fighting
    I was a child and you were fighting
    I saw you help bring us together; all welcome!
    I heard you sail and sing
    You helped me learn to sing and write
    Mrs Grover helped me read music
    You’re 40 years my senior, Pete,
    How did you keep your energy?
    Clean Living No Doubt!!
    Thanks, Bud

  18. October 31, 2011
    Dear Mr. Seeger, How I wish you were able to see firsthand the citizens in Tucson, Arizona, occupying Armory Park in non-violent civil disobedience as they attempt to raise the conscience of their fellow citizens! I am certain you would feel the same sense of pride and jubilation my husband and I are experiencing now as we camp out, listen, speak, feed, tend to illnesses, and SING! with them!
    When the OCCUPY movement suffered the serious injury of its first “fallen soldier”, young Veterans-for-Peace member, Scott Olsen, resulting from the assault by the police force in Oakland, California several days ago, I remembered wisdom you shared so many years ago: that folk songs are ever evolving, changed by the very folk who love them and sing them. Buoyed by your insights, I wrote some lyrics to the beautiful “Joe Hill” as my way to pay homage to Scott Olsen. I share these meager verses with you now, hoping they might offer affirmation that the battle for justice is ever alive through the actions of these most exquisite souls participating in the OCCUPY movement worldwide.
    Not knowing any other way than the internet to communicate directly with you, I hope some fellow lover of the Hudson River and voices raised in song, living in Beacon New York, might catch sight of my letter here and somehow get it to you. I offer it to you in gratitude for your lessons through the years, which my beloved and I have passed on to our four sons and now, to our most precious granddaughter and the wee sibling she will be greeting sometime in May, 2012. The cause for justice and freedom is alive and well and living in Tucson, Arizona, my dear, dear Sir!! In solidarity and affection from Joan Zatorski Puca
    *******************
    Joe Hill/Scott Olsen

    Joe Hill/Scott Olsen
    Original lyrics by Heyes/Robinson
    New Lyrics by Joan Zatorski of Occupy Tucson

    I saw Scott Olsen here last night, as healed as he could be.
    Said I, “But Scott, they shot your head”,
    “I walk in peace”, said he. “I walk in peace”, said he.

    “In Oakland, Scott”, I said to him, “Bergstresser aimed at you”
    “While you protected folks behind”
    Scott said, “They gassed us, too” (2X)

    Says I, “They threw a flash grenade, as you lay on the ground”
    “Takes more than that to kill my dream”,
    Says Scott “We’ll carry on”(2X)

    Standing there as big as life and smiling with his eyes,
    Scott says: “What they can never kill,
    Goes on to OCCUPY” (2X)

    “Dreams of justice”, Scott then said “will never, ever die!
    When folks join hands and OCCUPY
    Scott Olsen’s by their side” (2X)

    From Oakland all the way to Maine, on every plain and hill,
    Where people join to OCCUPY
    You’ll Find Scott Olsen still.(2X)

    I saw Scott Olsen here last night, as healed as he could be.
    Said I, “But Scott, they shot your head”,
    “I walk in peace”, said he. “I walk in peace”, said he.
    **************************

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