Peter "Pete" Seeger, 1919 - 2014

portrait of Pete Seeger
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.

Biography from Wikipedia and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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