a Tribute to Pete Seeger
By Scot Sier
If I could sum up what the soul of Pete Seeger’s music meant to me as a songwriter it would be, music shall serve the people through love and unity. His songs and poetic lyrics challenged the notion of the American dream and exposed its weakness. He did it in an eloquent way, knowing that this great nation is built on a dust bowl of determination, perseverance and luck.
When I was a child, I remember listening to “If I Had a Hammer” “Turn, Turn, Turn”, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” and feeling that they had a special meaning. These songs along with the many other protest voices of the late 60’s I grew up with sparked my interest in writing music that challenged the status quo.
I was born and raised in the industrial city of Gary, Indiana known for its working class steel industry, crime and “white flight”. I watched this great city fall like the Roman Empire after the mills moved their factories overseas and local businesses began to close down from the after shock. Tensions and tempers grew quickly, leading to the race riots of 69, the flight of whites to suburban neighborhoods and a crime-ridden ghetto left in its wake.
When I was 13 years old, I found a copy of Abbie Hoffman’s “Steal This Book” lying on a street corner. After reading the book, I became aware of a political underground activist movement that fascinated me. Hearing the songs of Pete Seeger and reading about the activists who put his words to action struck a chord in me. As I grew older, I began to write protest songs about the social inequality we have faced as a nation.
When the Occupy Movement arose, I created a music page to archive the protest songs sung by the 99% from across the globe. With over 500 songs on the play list, the fight continues today for control of the working mans destination in a stratified society.
The Wall Street song I emailed to David Dunaway reminds them of Pete Seeger’s spirit. Here is the link:
It was written a week before Pete Seeger’s passing. I have dedicated this song as a tribute in honor of his legacy. The lyrics in Wall Street share my concern that our streets have literally hit a wall. The war on poverty has become a war on race and equality. Subjects I believe that Pete Seeger would find many a song to write about. May his spirit lead the path for a more loving and kind world, in a land of equality and justice for all.