Known as a champion of folk music and an Americana icon, Seeger passed away of natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Monday, Jan. 27, the New York Times reported. His death was confirmed to the Times by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson.
Seeger’s long and prolific career dates back to the 1940s, when he delivered his songs — and message — at labor rallies. Over the next decade, his cause list expanded to include performances at anti-war and civil rights rallies. As folk music gained in popularity through the 1950s, Seeger’s Dies at 94 name was synonymous with the musical movement. Among his slew of hit songs: “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, a future No. 1 for ’60s psychedelic rockers The Byrds.
He was born in New York City. His father was a musicologist and composer and his mother a classical violinist and teacher.
The younger Seeger studied at Harvard University, but seemed more interested in learning to play the five-string banjo, and left college in the late 1930’s.
For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.
From singing at rallies against the government to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama, Mr. Seeger has always stood up for what he believed in.
His most popular songs included If I Had A Hammer, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? and Turn! Turn! Turn! He recorded more than 100 albums over the course of his career and his body of work was covered by countless more artists, including Bruce Springsteen who released a tribute to the folk legend with his album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.
Pete’s granddaughter Moraya Seeger Jackson spoke about the legacy he leaves behind, saying: