Pete Seeger, grand old man of folk songs and protest songs turned 90 today. A concert in his honour is being held at New York’s Madison Square garden on the occasion. Nearly 30 big stars will be attending and performing tonight.
Pete Seeger has been a strong social activist and voice of dissent ever since his student days. He left Harvard University to travel around countryside to sing ballads for the countrymen, soldiers, their widows, working class people, discriminated blacks and even children. His most famous songs are Where Have all the Flowers gone? Turn Turn Turn, If I had a Hammer and many more. In fact he popularized even Woody Guthrie’s This Land is Your Land and he sang it recently at the pre-inauguration concert for U.S. President Barack Obama too.
Pete Seeger has huge fan following all over world because people, children can relate to his simple inspiring songs. He has courted controversy in the past for his former links with communist party. He was blacklisted in America and was blacked out from national television from 1950 to 1967.
Though Pete Seeger never really aspired for commercial success he has been inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and very recently in February he won Grammy for his traditional folk album, At 89. He has inspired very famous singers like Bruce Springsteen, Alo Guthrie, Billy Bragg, Joan Baez and many others. His legacy is being carried forward by his son Tao who often shares stage with his father.
The concert will be a true tribute to hard core social activist. For the proceeds of the evening concert will go to Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Pete Seeger had founded the organization some 40 years ago to preserve and protect Hudson River. Most importantly, he has truly preserved and protected human sensitivity to suffering by making people connect to dark realities of life through his songs and inspiring them to fight for their rights and justice.