STILLWATER, Okla. —
To the editor:
Monday, the 27th, Pete Seeger died at the age of 94. For those who do not know, Pete was the premier folk song singer after Woody Guthrie this nation has ever produced or will produce. In fact, Pete and Woody were, at one time, friends and did some work together in the 1940s. Late in those years, Pete put together a group called the Weavers who hit it big with the Israeli song “Tzena, Tzena” and then followed that with hit after hit in the ’50s, including “Midnight Special,” “On Top of Old Smokey,” “Goodnight Irene,” among others. The group disbanded when some of the members were falsely accused of being Communists. In fact, Pete had himself been a member of the Communist Party in the 1930s as were several people of later note in the entertainment and literary worlds.
I had the great fortune to see Pete in person twice during my college years in Ohio. The first was as part of a large audience at Ohio State when he was accompanied by Sonny Terry. A year later, several of us, including my wife Linda, went north to see him in concert alone and by some miracle we were able to go backstage at the end of the concert and join him and a number of others in an ad hoc hootenanny. I will never forget the experience.
Nor will I ever forget Pete and what he meant to me, to music and to this nation. Pete Seeger spent his life working for freedom, justice, equality and a clean environment for all. We are all of us better off thanks to his efforts. All I can say now is, in the words of the song, is Pete “so long, it’s been good to know you.”