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'His Legacy Lives On': Pete Seeger Remembered on What Would Have Been 100th Birthday

'His Legacy Lives On': Pete Seeger Remembered on What Would Have Been 100th Birthday

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Friday marked what would have been Pete Seeger's 100th birthday, and fans took to social media to celebrate the folk music giant and activist's life and legacy.

Seeger died in 2014 at 94. He was, rocker Tom Morello said upon his death, "Absolutely the best that humans can aspire to be."

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A TRUE American patriot and icon. I hope you and George Carlin are doing well, although you are both sorely missed!

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Back in the late 1980s, my friends Bob Killian (who co-founded Monmouth County Friends of Clearwater in NJ) and Big Danny Gallagher (a musical giant in every sense of the word) decided on the spur of the moment to do a road trip to attend the annual Clearwater Festival. It was there that I had the privilege and pleasure of sharing a microphone with Pete, who kept giving me dirty looks; I wondered if he was trying to to signal that I was singing off-key, but I was pretty sure I was spot-on. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I’d been on the road for some hours without access to a toothbrush.

Please accept my belated apologies, brother, and rest in sweet fresh air.

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Those days were a Renaissance of Music and Art that we will never again see in our lifetime. Glad I lived it. It was a time of great creation and our words travelled thru music of genius composers like him, Dylan, Joni Mitchell and many more. All if we’re in tune with the politics that mattered. That was way before the dumbing down of Americans. As a musician, I will never forget that time I grew up in. Fast forward 50 years and check out what’s on mainstream radio. What ever they wanna call it, it bears no resemblance to any form of tangible Music.

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Anybody who sings This Land is Your Land along with God Bless America has no understanding of the history of those songs. Woody was deeply offended by Irving Berlin’s best known song, it being the middle of the Great Depression, and he was sure there was no reason for God to bless America. This Land was written as an angry protest song for the dispossessed, and that is a major reason why it would be a lousy choice to be a replacement anthem for The Star Spangled Banner. I want to be able to hear it played without pomp and ceremony. It is a peoples song. We miss Pete, but I find hope in people like Tom Morello, who have picked up the mantle as troubadours for the down and out.

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I’m headed to a singalong in honor of Pete Seeger today. We need his music and spirit more than ever these days. Speaking truth to power through song is a great way to inspire the masses to rise up against the insidious machine that’s taken over the world. Thanks, Pete, for your tireless effort to fight those that oppress us.

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Pete is a hero. Part of his appeal is the enjoyment of music, a powerful force, and he made it better with joyous audience participation, another part is how he preferred to speak of hope, peace, goodness, beauty than bash his opponents.