I woke this morning to the very sad news that my lifelong hero, Pete Seeger, had died at age 94. Others will write more complete obituaries, but I wanted to write about my lifelong relationship with Pete.
It started with my very first album as a small child. It’s the one depicted below with Pete singing one of my favorite childhood songs.
So my relationship with Pete started before I could even read. His songs were the soundtrack to my early childhood.
When I was a little older, I found my parents’ copy of The Weavers album from their Carnegie Hall concert and listened to it over and over. Here’s one of my favorites from when I was probably eight or nine years old:
And, of course, “If I Had a Hammer:”
And then in 1965 I got to see Pete in Concert at Carnegie Hall as part of an anti-war concert.
It was my first Carnegie Hall concert, my first anti-war concert (I was 13), and an unforgettable experience seeing not only Pete Seeger but all the other great folk singers of the day. I am so grateful that my parents took me with them to experience this. I will never forget it. I saw Pete in concert a number of times after that, usually with Arlo Guthrie, but that first time was so magical.
Pete wrote and sang many anti-war songs, but my favorite will always and forever be this one:
I sang this all through my teenage years and after. I sang it to my children when they were little, trying to instill in them Pete’s message—that war is cruel and pointless and that only love and peace will sustain and save us.
I could post many more, but these are the ones that resonate for me today and every day.
Thank you, Pete Seeger, for always doing the right thing and for being the conscience for all of us.