Pete Seeger, an activist and folk pioneer who was still marching and playing banjo into his 90s, died Monday night in New York City. His legacy, like his life, was long and varied — and at this point unfamiliar, perhaps, to a younger generation that didn’t grow up with his songs.
But if there’s any doubt that Seeger left a lasting impact on both music and the progressive circles where he traveled, today’s outpouring of tributes from artists, musicians and politicians the world over is a good demonstration of his influence.
Bruce Springsteen, who named an album after Seeger and considered him a major influence on his work, once described Seeger as “a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history … a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament to the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends.” In a statement released today, Springsteen said:
We deeply mourn the passing of Pete Seeger. We believe that nobody is truly gone until all those who are touched or influenced by that person are gone from the Earth… So Pete will live on in the hearts and minds of so many for years to come. His vision of peace and justice and equality for all will live on and continue to influence. His music has been used all over the world for social justice. From the Civil Rights movement to the anti-war movements Pete and his songs have been there on the front lines. Like a ripple that keeps going out from a pond Pete’s music will keep going out all over the world spreading the message of non-violence and peace and justice and equality for all. Wherever people are fighting to be free or fighting for equality Pete’s songs and Pete’s vision will be there with them.
Here is what musicians and other notables had to say about Seeger, the man once called the “pied piper of musical dissent.” We’ll continue updating as more tributes come in:
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
— Theodore Leo (@tedleo) January 28, 2014
Sing a song for Pete Seeger — for justice — today. We mourn his loss, all over this land.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) January 28, 2014
Pete Seeger brought the world together with truth and beauty more than anyone else.
— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) January 28, 2014
oh MAN. sad. where have all the flowers gone, for sure, and … RT @maclir Pete Seeger has passed away. Got a favourite song?
— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) January 28, 2014
RIP Pete Seeger. One of the most inspirational people of the last 100 years.
— Carl Newman (@ACNewman) 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
PETE SEEGER = POSITIVE POWER PARTY MASTER
— ANDREW WK (@AndrewWK) January 28, 2014
Busted up. Woke early to the news that Pete Seeger has died. Brilliant, brave, patriotic, generous man. Thanks for all you did, Pete.
— colin meloy (@colinmeloy) January 28, 2014
Pete Seeger. His songs & his lifelong commitment to activism should be seen as pillars in the musical education of generations to come.
— The So So Glos (@sosoglos) January 28, 2014
RIP, Pete Seeger, whose folk music backed the civil rights movement and stood up to Congress. what a life! http://t.co/WgTDYnEO6m
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) January 28, 2014
Not only a folk music singing songwriting legend… But a banjo pioneer!!! RIP Pete Seeger pic.twitter.com/abcK8y6ABv
— Joe Bonsall (@joebonsall) January 28, 2014
lets all hope to live as long and as passionate a life as pete seeger. #RIP
— matt nathanson (@mattnathanson) January 28, 2014
Hard to think of anyone who lived a more extraordinary,loving, activist , ground -breaking ,genius,musical life then Pete Seeger.RIP
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) January 28, 2014