Pete Seeger dies…

Pete Seeger sings Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, for RamDas Foundation
 Pete Seeger singing at the  RamDas Foundation

He lived a simple life, devoted to values & vision

Susan Caba
Resale Evangelista

I was driving up the Pacific Coast Highway yesterday, listening to the Byrds’ cover of Turn, Turn, Turn, on my way to my mother’s house in Santa Barbara. The music and my destination coalesced into high school memories–specifically, a school assembly discussing anti-Vietnam War protests.  Earlier in the week, a rioting crowd of protestors in the neighboring college community of Isla Vista had burned down the Bank of America.

Folk singer Pete Seeger wrote Turn, Turn, Turn and it, along Seeger’s Where Have All The Flowers Gone, became anthems of the anti-war movement. Hearing them as I drove, I had flashbacks of the era–a neighbor’s son who served in Vietnam; the physician I worked for part-time, who specialized in getting draftees medical deferments; the long hair, shredded jeans and handmade leather sandals apparent everywhere in I.V.; the wafting smell of marijuana at a Joan Baez concert on a sunny afternoon.

Seeger, who died Monday at age 94, lived the epitome of a simple life. By that, I mean he spent a lifetime working toward his vision of a peaceful world, even if it meant making progress–as he put it–“one teaspoon at a time.” Seeger focused his considerable talents toward that goal for most of his seven-decade career.

He didn’t create a line of clothing for Macy’s. As far as I know, he only had the log house in upstate New York–no vacations in the south of France or exotic islands. He didn’t maintain a garage filled with expensive cars. Did he flash “bling?” You gotta be kidding!

Seeger promoted his causes, not himself. His weapons were a five-string banjo, a 12-string guitar and songs that became anthems for civil rights, labor rights, environmental causes and, above all, world peace.  He refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee about his political beliefs, and was blacklisted for 17 years. Still, he stuck with his values and his belief in the power of song during turbulent times.

Roger McGuinn, the Byrds’ lead singer and a Seeger protegé, made an interesting observation about those times and those songs. He pointed out, in a radio interview about Seeger’s influence, that there was no Twitter then, no Facebook. Those have become the tools of mass political communication with the power to rouse rebellion. That’s true.

Even so, Seeger’s songs still have the power to make us sing along. It doesn’t matter if you’re singing the right note, he said, “as long as you’re singing it.”

So here are the lyrics to Turn, Turn, Turn, as well as a video of Seeger performing the song. Feel free to sing along:

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

6 thoughts on “Pete Seeger dies…

  1. Jean Johnson

    Sue-

    Pete Seeger was one of my husband’s favorite singers! He was extremely saddened by his death. What a wonderful tribute to his life! I forwarded this post on to my husband for he certainly will appreciate it and he surely will enjoy watching Pete perform once again. Thanks for sharing!

    Best regards, Jean

    >

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