Pete Seeger was a folk singer songwriter, musician and political activist. He was ardently against American initial involvement in the second world war, the arms race and the Vietnam war. He eventually went on to support the USA joining WW2 as he recognised it as a fight against fascism. He was also one of the singers involved in the Civil Rights Movement and in his later life he went on to support environmental activism with his music. Pete didn’t believe that music could necessarily change the world but he believed that it could make a difference.

Pete was a registered member of the Communist Party in the USA during McCarthyism and was placed under FBI surveillance and prevented from performing on television and on the radio. Throughout his career Pete and his bandmates suffered from various methods of censorship and rejections from the music industry, a kickback against their politics.

Both of his parents were musical educators and were also outspoken pacifists, many of his family members were and had been prominent folk singers. Following in his parents footsteps, Pete also went on to write some educational music guides including one called ‘How to Play the Five-String Banjo’ which became an important starting point for many new players of the instrument.

Pete began in a band called The Weavers, drawing their name from a play by Gerhart Hauptmann (1892) that depicted the Silesian weavers uprising of 1844 and contains the lines ‘I’ll stand it no more, come what may’. This ethic was central to Pete Seeger’s philosophy and approach to music and social change.

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GRC4 #36, GRC4 #24, Pete, Toshi Seeger & Convicts at the Ramsey and Retrieve State Farms: Lost John