Peter "Pete" Seeger, 1919 - 2014
June 2007, Clearwater Festival, photo by Anthony Pepitone
Born: 3 May 1919, New York City
Died: 27 January 2014, New York City
Seeger was the son of a composer and musicologist (Charles Louis Seeger, Jr.) and a classical violinist (Constance de Clyver Edson). He first took to the ukulele, but when he traveled with his father in the south he discovered the five-string banjo and it became his primary instrument, adding the twelve-string guitar (with his own tuning system) in the late '50s. He attended Harvard until his political and musical activities cut into his study time and he lost his scholarship. He formed The Almanac Singers in 1941, then The Weavers in 1950, writing or co-writing many songs that went on to become major folk hits for the Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and the Byrds. The Weavers were blacklisted in 1953. When subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, he refused to take the Fifth Amendment and asserted that his First Amendment rights excused him from answering the committee's questions. (He spent a year in prison for contempt.) He has consistently championed peace, civil rights, and the environment in his music.
Additional quotes from Wikiquote. Wikiquote entries are "sourced" and may include items longer than those included here, particularly for poets, lyricists, and dramatists.
Pete Seeger quotes:
Click here to find books by Pete Seeger at Amazon.com
- A good song can only do good, and I am proud of the songs I have sung. I hope to be able to continue singing these songs for all who want to listen, Republicans, Democrats, and independents. permalink
statement to court (1961) prior to sentencing for his 1955 refusal to answer House Un-American Activities Questions in 1955
- A productive mistake is: (1) made in the service of mission and vision; (2) acknowledged as a mistake; (3) learned from; (4) considered valuable; (5) shared for the benefit of all. permalink
- Again, I say I will be glad to tell what songs I have ever sung, because singing is my business. But I decline to say who has ever listened to them, who has written them, or other people who have sung them. permalink
- At the audition, your assignment is to find something new in the song. Something you've never noticed before. A breath carried over, a thought that ties the whole thing together. Then take the risk and do it. permalink
How Can I Keep from Singing: Pete Seeger by David King Dunaway (1981)
- Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't. permalink
- Down through the centuries, this trick has been tried by various establishments throughout the world. They force people to get involved in the kind of examination that has only one aim and that is to stamp out dissent. permalink
- Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don't. permalink
- Every time I read the paper those old feelings come on.
We are waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool says to push on. permalink
"Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" (1967)
- Historically, I believe I was correct in refusing to answer their questions. permalink
- 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. permalink
- I am saying voluntarily that I have sung for almost every religious group in the country, from Jewish and Catholic, and Presbyterian and Holy Rollers and Revival Churches. permalink
- I believe that my choosing my present course I do no dishonor to them, or to those who may come after me. permalink
- I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. permalink
- I feel that my whole life is a contribution. permalink
- I fought for peace in the fifties. permalink
Please report any problems on this page! If you see any typos, incorrect attributions, deformed characters, or any other problem with this page, we want to fix it as soon
as possible. Please click here to report errors.
Note: Do not use titles in author searches, we don't use them, including president, senator, prime minister, king, queen, saint, or doctor, or abbreviations thereof. See explanation here.