Two Stories about Pete Seeger

February 20, 2014 at 2:49 am (Uncategorized)

I’m not a regular reader of Rolling Stone, but the latest issue is worth looking at. For one thing it has a moving feature about the late Philip Seymour Hoffman – yes, it’s the issue with Hoffman on the cover which caused Drake to have a hissy fit about “his” cover being given to Hoffman.

But the more interesting piece is Mikal Gilmore’s article on Pete Seeger. Two stories in particular:

In September 1949, Seeger played a civil rights benefit with Paul Robeson in Peekskill, New York. After the show, a mob attacked attendees and performers alike. Seeger drove away with his young children in the car as rocks smashed his windows. His friend Lee Hayes later asked, “What is it in the people’s songs of Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger…to inspire this savagery, this hatred.”

Two decades later, Seeger played a show in Beacon, New york. After the show, a young man came up to Seeger and extended his hand to Seeger. As he did so, he told Seeger, “I think I should tell you, I came here this afternoon to kill you.” Seeger was apparently so startled (who wouldn’t be?) all he could say initially was “thank you.” Apparently the man was a soldier who had lost friends in Vietnam, and believed Seeger was a traitor. But, as he watched the show, saw how the crowd reacted, he lost that anger. “I feel cleansed,” he told Seeger.

The full story is in the February 27 issue of Rolling Stone.





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