US folk singer and activist Pete Seeger dies aged 94

The musician was known for his protest songs including 'If I Had A Hammer' and 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone'

US folk musician Pete Seeger has died aged 94.

The singer died in a New York hospital after a short illness, his grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson confirmed (via BBC News).

Born in New York City on May 3, 1919, Seeger said he fell in love with folk music when he was 16, at a music festival in North Carolina in 1935. He learned the five-string banjo and after dropping out of Harvard in 1938, he hitchhiked around America, where he met Woody Guthrie and joined the Almanac Singers, who performed benefits for disaster relief and other causes.

Seeger's initial success came with The Weavers, who formed in 1948. He wrote or co-wrote political anthems 'If I Had a Hammer,' 'Turn, Turn, Turn', 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone' and 'Kisses Sweeter Than Wine' and is credited with making while 'We Shall Overcome' an anthem of resistance.

Seeger was blacklisted in the 1950s for his left-wing activism and denied broadcast exposure. After this, he toured US college campuses to spread the music and ideology of the folk protest movement.

"The most important job I did was go from college to college to college to college, one after the other, usually small ones," he told The Associated Press in 2006. " ...And I showed the kids there's a lot of great music in this country they never played on the radio."

Throughout his career, Seeger became a figurehead for numerous political causes – from nuclear disarmament to the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. His influence continued down the decades – in 1996 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a decade later Bruce Springsteen released 'We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions' – a reinterpretation of the folk singer's songs. At this weekend's Grammys (2014), he was nominated in the Best Spoken Word category, which was won by Stephen Colbert.

A 2009 concert at Madison Square Garden to mark Seeger's 90th birthday featured Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder and Emmylou Harris among the performers.

Read More On This Artist

More News
Bobby Shmurda pleads not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder
FKA Twigs performs new song 'Figure 8' during Melbourne live show – watch
The Black Keys perform 'Weight of Love' and 'Howlin' For You' on...
Death Cab For Cutie perform 'Black Sun' on 'Letterman' – watch
Passion Pit confirm details of new album 'Kindred'
Big Sean, Kanye West and Drake team up on 'Blessings' – listen
Noel Gallagher: 'I don't agree with U2 on free music, I'd happily put an extra...
Limp Bizkit guitarist criticises his own fans ahead ShipRocked cruise performance
Missy Elliott to join Katy Perry on stage during Super Bowl half-time show
Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler describes bar room brawl as 'unfortunate altercation'
Fall Out Boy say their new album is 'modern rock of the future'
Man faces ban from Parklife festival after 'boasting' about touting tickets
The Jesus And Mary Chain offer local bands support slots on their February UK tour
Suge Knight arrested over fatal hit-and-run incident in LA
Carl Barât 'totally rediscovered the guitar' making Jackals album
Pete Doherty: 'not making music with Amy Winehouse will haunt me to my dying day' –...
Swim Deep say new album is a 'zero-gravity gospel record for the masses'
Haim and Weezer to form supergroups for Jimmy Kimmel
Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Avicii and Nicki Minaj to appear at Wireless 2015
Ryan Jarman: 'Grown-ups still don't like The Cribs. That's absolutely...
Jay Z buys Norwegian music streaming service Wimp for £47million
Kasabian 'make history' with rare, intimate performance at The Garage in London

More News

Comments

Please login to add your comment.

Latest Tickets - Booking Now
 
Know Your NME
 

 
NME Store & Framed Prints
Inside NME.COM