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Published: 2014/01/28

Folk Icon Pete Seeger Dies at 94

Legendary folk singer/songwriter Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94. The iconic banjo player, who was as well known for his activism as he was for his music, passed away in New York last night after being hospitalized for six days.

The son of a prominent musicologist and a modernist composer, Seeger dropped out of Harvard in 1938 to travel across the United States before going on to bring folk music to the masses. He is credited with popularizing songs such as “This Land Is Your Land” and “We Shall Overcome,” and penning a number of classic tunes, including “If I Had A Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

A longtime supporter of the labor, civil rights, anti-war and environmentalist movements, Seeger used his place in the public eye to advocate for social justice. He opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, played Barack Obama’s inauguration and even performed at an Occupy Wall Street gathering in 2011.

Seeger influenced countless musicians and activists over the years. His 90th birthday party sold-out Madison Square Garden, and featured performances Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Rufus Wainright, John Mellencamp and many more. Seeger was also joined by Neil Young, Matthews, Mellencamp and more at 2013’s Farm Aid Concert.

A number of videos from throughout Seeger’s storied 74-year career can be viewed over at Relix

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