Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger


New York, NY, USA



Birth Name

Peter Seeger


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Legendary American folksinger, Pete Seeger forged his path early on. He realized that the working man had to struggle alot harder and he was instrumental during the labor movement, the struggle for civil rights, the anti-war movement and the fight for a cleaner world. He co-founded the group,…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Seeger's banjo is inscribed: "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."

    • Seeger and his wife Toshi-Aline Ohta, whom he married in 1943 while on leave from the army, have three children -- Dan, Mika and Tinya -- and six grandchildren: Cassie, Kitama Jackson-Seeger, Issabelle, Moraya Jackson-Seeger, Penny Blossom, Issabelle and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger. of folk-rock band The Mammals.

    • Pete and Toshi Seeger started filming international cultural expressions -- everything from music and dance in foreign lands to prison work songs in the U.S. -- in the 1950s, and in June 2003 they donated all they had done to the American Folklife Center, to which they had previously donated many sound recordings (including numerous field, prison, instructional and professional performance recordings). In 2000, The American Folklife Center had purchased, from writer David Dunaway, 954 manuscripts and 30 audiocasettes which had served as source material for Dunaway's 1981 biography of Seeger, entitled How Can I Keep From Singing?. Unrtl a few years before the purchase, the materials had been temporarily sealed at Seeger's request.

    • Seeger's ancestors can be traced back to the Mayflower crossing, possibly on both sides of the family. A known ancestor is Hon. Francis Cooke, of whom Seeger is a ninth great-grandson. Other ancestors of his fought at Valley Forge.

  • Quotes

    • Seeger: Not everybody has to sing the melody.

    • Seeger: Songs are weapons.

    • Seeger: And don't let your studies interfere with your education. (Seventeen Magazine, November 1963)

    • Seeger: Life has been easier on me than any lazy person like myself has the right to expect.

    • Seeger: I'd sing for the John Birch Society or the American Legion, if they asked. So far they haven't.

    • Seeger: Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.

    • Seeger: My father said, "Plagiarism is the basis of all culture."

    • Seeger: I will be glad to tell what songs I have ever sung, because singing is my business.

    • Seeger: "Do-so" is more important than "say-so."

    • Seeger: If there's something wrong, speak up!

    • Seeger: Throughout history, the leaders of countries have been very particular of what songs should be sung. We know the power of songs.

    • Seeger: Songs won't save the planet, but neither will books or speeches.

    • Seeger: Songs are sneaky things. They can slip across borders. Proliferate in prisons. Penetrate hard shells. I always believed that the right song at the right moment could change history.

    • Seeger: I have sung for almost every religious group in the country, from Jewish and Catholic, and Presbyterian and Holy Rollers and Revival Churches. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent the implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, make me less of an American.

    • Seeger: Being generous of spirit is a wonderful way to live.

    • Seeger: There are thousands [of songs with a message]. You don't have to reinvent them. Just sing them the best you can.

    • Seeger: Some of my ancestors were religious dissenters who came to America over 300 years ago. Others were abolitionists in New England of the 1840's and 50's. I believe that in choosing my present course I do no dishonor to them, or to those who may come after me.

    • Seeger: I still call myself a communist, because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it.

    • Seeger: Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't.