Pete Seeger has died. He was 94.
I have only a very fragmentary sense of how the revival of American folk music in the 1950s and 1960s played a role in the politics of the time, but apparently it did (Has there ever been a good right-wing protest song?). I do remember singing “We Shall Overcome” and “Turn Turn Turn” as a little kid in music class in the Ann Arbor public schools in the late 1960s, which I suppose proves just how invidious these forms of propaganda can be.
Also, this is a pretty good story, and none the worse for being confabulated:
Along with many elders of the protest-song movement, Mr. Seeger felt betrayed when Bob Dylan appeared at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival with a loud electric blues band. Reports emerged that Mr. Seeger had tried to cut the power cable with an ax, but witnesses including the producer George Wein and the festival’s production manager, Joe Boyd (later a leading folk-rock record producer), said he did not go that far. (An ax was available, however. A group of prisoners had used it while singing a logging song.)