This is number one on Gawker’s list of 94 reasons why Pete Seeger matters.
Because Taylor Swift isn’t going to start a revolution.
And here are some more:
- Because he offered to sing to the House Un-American Activities Committee during a hearing in 1955. The committee declined.
- Because the John Birch Society regularly picketed his concerts.
- Because he was the one who complained about Bob Dylan’s 1965 Newport Folk Festival. Contrary to popular belief, Seeger did not try to cut Dyan’s power cable with an ax. Even though one was available.
- Because he was the one who forced General Electric to began dredging sediment containing PCBs from the Hudson River in 2009.
- Because the Smothers Brothers had to go to the mat against network executives so Seeger could perform on their show in 1968.
- Because he helped revive folk music in the 1950s, ridding it of sentimentality and making it a popular form. Alas, the sentimentality returned to folk in the 1990s, rendering it unlistenable ever since.