Folk music legend and civil rights activist Pete Seeger died Monday at 94 years old. Seeger hit his peak of fame in the 1950s and 1960s with his versions of rabble-rousing, anti-Establishment songs like, "This Land Is Your Land," "Goodnight Irene," "We Shall Overcome," and "Joe Hill."
He wrote or cowrote some of the era's most iconic songs, including "Turn, Turn, Turn," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "On Top of Old Smokey," and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine." He adapted a South African chant called "Wimoweh," which became the enormous hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." His influence is huge and legendary. He was an early backer of Bob Dylan -- despite supposedly threatening to unplug his equipment at a famous folk festival. He collaborated extensively with Bruce Springsteen and was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Here are what some of the most important people in music and other fields are saying about Pete:
"For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger." —President Obama— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 28, 2014
Pete Seeger's great heart was matched only by his commitment to social justice. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) January 28, 2014
A noble & honorable man who was an inspirational voice & leader of a movement that will continue for generations. http://t.co/repni24VJN— Edward James Olmos (@edwardjolmos) January 28, 2014
It's Oct 2011, I'm on a NYC street, I look up & here comes Pete Seeger leading an impromptu Occupy march down B'way! pic.twitter.com/T2OCdio55b— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 28, 2014
Aw man, Pete Seeger. I mean, the Grammys weren't THAT bad.— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 28, 2014
Remembering Pete Seeger. http://t.co/7L7XpXpDZ0— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) January 28, 2014
swift rebirth pete seeger. thank you— k.d. lang (@kdlang) January 28, 2014
'This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.' Words to live by. #PeteSeeger— rosanne cash (@rosannecash) January 28, 2014
Bruce Springsteen wrote a tribute for Pete on his 90th birthday, saying:
At some point Pete Seeger decided he'd be a walking, singing reminder of all of America's history. He'd be a living archive of America's music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people, and despite Pete's somewhat benign, grandfatherly appearance, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant, and nasty optimism.
Here is Bruce and Pete singing "This Land Is Your Land" at President Obama's Inauguration:
And singing one of his most famous tunes, "Turn, Turn, Turn":
Image & video via Enrico VL/YouTube