Pete Seeger was one of those rare voices that defined a past generation. If I Had a Hammer, Where Have All The Flowers Gone, and Turn! Turn! were epic songs of sixties activism that also carried on the important legacy of inspiring a better world through song.
But to me growing up, Pete Seeger was just the funny guy that sang with Big Bird over and over on my worn and slightly scratched LP. Michael Row the Boat Ashore. This Land is Your Land. Guantanamera. I Knew An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain. His rendition of Garbage sung with Oscar the Grouch will blow your mind (and what an amazing non-kids, kids song!).
The voice of a generation, he was also the voice of my childhood–a key player in the soundtrack of my life. And unlike so many other childhood songwriters, my appreciation for his words only grew along with my body and mind. His rendition of Gonna Be An Engineer is still my favorite feminist ballad of all time (although I learned tonight it was actually written by his sister!).
And now, I play his songs for my own young child. My worn album cover in a cheap Michael’s frame even adorns my toddler’s bedroom wall. The Garden Song and Where Have All The Flowers Gone–are two of my son’s favorite lullabies.
Seeger lived a long life, and one full of meaning. Rest in peace Mr. Seeger. I’d like to end with some of that meaning here:
(Imagine Oscar the Grouch Growling the Chorus.)