Skip to main content

'People's singer' Seeger dies peacefully in sleep aged 94

Banjo-picking troubadour Pete Seeger dies aged 94

Banjo-picking troubadour Pete Seeger died on Monday at the age of 94.

In a career that spanned eight decades he sang for migrant workers, peace activists and anti-capitalists.

Mr Seeger died peacefully in his sleep around 9.30pm in New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had been for six days. Family members were with him.

Mr Seeger was an iconic figure in protest music. In his younger days he performed with Woody Guthrie and in his nineties, leaning on two canes, he marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters.

He lent his voice to fights against Hitler and against nuclear power.

"Be wary of great leaders," he warned two days after a 2011 Manhattan Occupy march. "Hope that there are many, many small leaders."

His musical career was always braided tightly with his political activism, in which he advocated causes ranging from civil rights to the cleanup of his beloved Hudson River.

Mr Seeger left the Communist Party around 1950 but was blacklisted by the media for more than a decade after tangling with the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955.

Repeatedly pressed by the committee to reveal whether he had sung for communists, Mr Seeger responded sharply: "I love my country very dearly and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known ... make me any less of an American."

By the 1990s, no longer a party member but still styling himself a small-c communist, Mr Seeger had been heaped with national honours.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 11,254
We need:£ 6,746
8 Days remaining
Donate today