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Pete Seeger Dead at 94

pete seeger
Astrid Stawiarz, Getty Images

Pete Seeger, the rabble-rousing folk singer, activist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee beloved by generations for his anti-establishment anthems, has died in New York, the NME reports. He was 94.

Born May 3, 1919, Seeger found folk music as a teenager and eventually made it his life’s work, dropping out of Harvard in 1938 to hitch across America, banjo in hand. He met Woody Guthrie, joined the Almanac Singer and formed the the Weavers in 1948. As a member of that pioneering group, he wrote or co-wrote such still-covered gems as ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’, ‘If I Had a Hammer,’ ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’ and ‘Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.’

Seeger’s socialist views got him in hot water in the ’50s, the height of the anti-communist backlash, and the singer was blacklisted and kept off the mainstream airwaves. That didn’t stop him from touring college campuses and spreading his message from the stage, and his commitment to music and social causes made him a hero not just to folk musicians, but also rock ‘n’ rollers of all stripes.

When Seeger celebrated his 90th birthday in 2009 at Madison Square Garden, guest performers included Eddie Vedder, Dave Matthews and Bruce Springsteen, who’d introduced the folk icon to a new generation of listeners via ‘We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions,’ his rousing album of songs made popular by the singer.

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