Saturday, May 03, 2008

Today in history -- Pete Seeger was born

Pete Seeger
born May 3, 1919, New York City

Pete Seeger, 1971.[Credits : David Gahr]singer who sustained the folk music tradition and who was the principal inspiration for younger performers in the folk revival of the 1960s.

Leaving Harvard after two years in 1938, Seeger hitchhiked and rode freight trains around the country, gathering country ballads, work songs, and hymns and developing a remarkable virtuosity on the five-string banjo. In 1940 he organized the Almanac Singers, a quartet that also featured the folk singer and composer Woody Guthrie, and appeared at union halls, farm meetings, and wherever his populist political sentiments were welcome. The group disbanded soon after World War II.

In 1948 he formed another group, the Weavers—with Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman—that achieved considerable success on college campuses, in concert, and on several records. Shortly after the group had achieved national fame, however, a great deal of controversy was stirred up concerning Seeger’s previous activities in left-wing and labour politics, and the Weavers suddenly found themselves blacklisted by much of the entertainment industry. Finding it increasingly difficult to make concert bookings or to sell records, the group broke up in 1952 but reunited three years later when a Christmas concert at Carnegie Hall sparked new interest in their music and message.

Pete Seeger. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 01, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:

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