I’m beat up today that Pete Seeger has died.
And people ask, “you were a Pete Seeger fan?”
The thing is, with Pete you were not a “fan.” You did not sit idly by and merely listen and pledge fan-ship to a performer. You did not “like” him on FaceBook. You didn’t even buy the records. You didn’t have to because your parents already had them on the shelf. There wasn’t kid’s music and parent’s music, there was just music.
No, you were not a fan. You were a collaborator. You were part of the band. You sang along with Pete. You kept singing long after the needle on the end of the arm of the record player had hissed and crackled to a halt. You harmonized with the big kids in the back seat of an un-air-conditioned Chevrolet touring around Nova Scotia. You filled the lazy 1970’s summers with his songs, not listened to, but sung. You sang all the verses by memory, and then sang them again with a descant, then invented your own verses because you really didn’t understand the words. You tried to pick out the chords on your hopelessly out of tune, missing-stringed ukulele. You sang the songs at the top of your lungs (to confused cows, as if they were listening) thinking the power of your song could change the world.
And then you grew up and forgot Pete for a while. And today you realized his songs were something hopeful, something pure, something lost.
That’s why I am beat up today.
Farewell Pete. Your music will live forever.