Last modified on 2 November 2014, at 04:51

Pete Seeger

The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be.

Peter Seeger (3 May 191927 January 2014) was a U.S. musician, political activist, and author; usually known as Pete Seeger.

QuotesEdit

We'll walk hand in hand some day...
The whole wide world around some day.
To everything (turn, turn, turn) There is a season...
  • This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.
    • Inscription on his banjo, inspired by the inscription on Woody Guthrie's guitar : "This machine kills fascists"
  • We'll walk hand in hand
    We'll walk hand in hand
    We'll walk hand in hand some day...
    The whole wide world around some day.
    • Lyrics added to "We Shall Overcome" by Seeger in the late 1940s, whose musical arrangement and renditions helped popularize the song among civil-rights activists in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also changed the primary lines from from "We Will Overcome" to "We Shall Overcome".
  • To everything (turn, turn, turn)
    There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
    And a time for every purpose under heaven.
  • A time to gain, a time to lose
    A time to rend, a time to sew
    A time of love, a time of hate
    A time of peace... I swear it's not too late.
    • "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (1954)
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?
  • Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?

    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
A good song can only do good, and I am proud of the songs I have sung.
  • Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards, everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    • "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (1955)
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.
  • I have been singing folksongs of America and other lands to people everywhere. I am proud that I never refused to sing to any group of people because I might disagree with some of the ideas of some of the people listening to me. I have sung for rich and poor, for Americans of every possible political and religious opinion and persuasion, of every race, color, and creed. The House committee wished to pillory me because it didn’t like some few of the many thousands of places I have sung for.
    • Statement to the court (1961) prior to his sentencing on contempt of Congress charges for his refusal to reveal names of communist or socialist acquaintances before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955.
  • A good song can only do good, and I am proud of the songs I have sung. I hope to be able to continue singing these songs for all who want to listen, Republicans, Democrats, and independents.
    • Statement to the court prior to his sentencing for contempt of Congress (1961); also quoted on NPR: Weekend Edition (2 July 2005)
  • If I've got a talent, it's for picking the right song at the right time for the right audience. And I can always seem to get people to sing with me.
    • "A Minstrel with a Mission", Life magazine, 1964.
  • Every time I read the paper those old feelings come on.
    We are waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool says to push on.
  • One blue sky above us
    One ocean lapping all our shore
    One earth so green and round
    Who could ask for more
    And because I love you
    I'll give it one more try
    To show my rainbow race
    It's too soon to die.
    • "My Rainbow Race" (1967)
I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.
  • I like to say I'm more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.
    • "The Old Left", New York Times Magazine, 22 January 1995, sect. 6 p. 13
  • I still call myself a communist, because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it. But if by some freak of history communism had caught up with this country, I would have been one of the first people thrown in jail.
    • "The Old Left", New York Times Magazine, 22 January 1995, sect. 6 p. 13
  • I'd really rather put songs on people's lips than in their ears.
    • 1994 interview, quoted in Filene Romancing the Folk: Public Memory & American Roots Music (2000), p. 197
  • The world would never amount to a hill of beans if people didn't use their imaginations to think of the impossible.
    • Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book, 2001, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 0156013118, p. 220
  • There's no hope, but I may be wrong.
    • NPR: Weekend Edition (2 July 2005)
  • The world will be saved by people fighting for their homes.
    • NPR: Weekend Edition (2 July 2005)
  • The key to the future of the world, is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.
    • "Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94" New York Times (28 January 2014)

How Can I Keep from Singing: Pete Seeger (1981)Edit

Quotations from How Can I Keep from Singing: Pete Seeger (1981) by David King Dunaway ISBN 0070181500
  • Shh. Listen to the sounds that surround you. Notice the pitches, the volume, the timbre, the many lines of counterpoint. As light taught Monet to paint, the earth may be teaching you music.
  • A productive mistake is: (1) made in the service of mission and vision; (2) acknowledged as a mistake; (3) learned from; (4) considered valuable; (5) shared for the benefit of all.
    • p. 90
  • The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be.
    • p. 95
  • "So, are you going to practice today?" asks my inner mom.
    "Well, sure. But I've got one more phone call to make. The dishes are dirty. I have to feed the cat."
    I don't hate practicing. I resist it. The goddess of procrastination can seduce me by lifting one eyebrow. After decades of practicing or avoiding the same, walking over to the piano remains the hardest part.
    • p. 117
  • At the audition, your assignment is to find something new in the song. Something you've never noticed before. A breath carried over, a thought that ties the whole thing together. Then take the risk and do it.
    • p. 119
  • If singing were all that serious, frowning would make you sound better.
    • p. 122


MisattributedEdit

Well I got a hammer,
And I got a bell,
And I got a song to sing, all over this land.
  • If I had a hammer,
    I'd hammer in the morning
    I'd hammer in the evening,
    All over this land.

    I'd hammer out danger,
    I'd hammer out a warning,
    I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,
    All over this land...
    Well I got a hammer,
    And I got a bell,
    And I got a song to sing, all over this land.
    It's the hammer of Justice,
    It's the bell of Freedom,
    It's the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
    All over this land.
    • "If I Had A Hammer" (1949) Though Seeger composed the music of this song the lyrics were actually written by fellow member of The Weavers, Lee Hays.

External linksEdit

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