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Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film

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Rick Fielding 27 Aug 99 - 09:58 AM
katlaughing 27 Aug 99 - 11:09 AM
Peter T. 27 Aug 99 - 11:18 AM
Mike Regenstreif 27 Aug 99 - 01:22 PM
catspaw49 27 Aug 99 - 01:34 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 27 Aug 99 - 04:41 PM
katlaughing 27 Aug 99 - 05:31 PM
Peter T. 27 Aug 99 - 05:50 PM
katlaughing 27 Aug 99 - 06:23 PM
Charlie Baum 27 Aug 99 - 06:33 PM
katlaughing 27 Aug 99 - 10:22 PM
Dani 28 Aug 99 - 10:35 AM
Peter T. 28 Aug 99 - 11:03 AM
Frank Hamilton 28 Aug 99 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Rona Elliot re: my Pete Interview for his 80 30 Jan 14 - 08:30 PM
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Subject: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 09:58 AM

I was surprised to see a 10-15 minute spot devoted to 80 year old Pete on CNN last night. On the rare occasions that Pete is acknowledged by the mainstream (and often even by the folkie media) I usually cringe at the banality and tiresomely overdone questions ("when did you write Where have al......") but in this segment, interviewer Willow Baye, at least seemed interested in what he had to say. In order to assure us out in TV land that this elderly man was "important", about five minutes were taken up by Bruce Springsteen gushing about Pete. It's ironic that probably the vast majority of those really appreciative of Pete's music and influence, would be hard pressed to name ONE Springsteen song. Oh well, that's show-biz.

They showed a number of black and white clips of Pete that seemed to be British in origin, including bits of an ALMANAC SINGERS(!!!) film. Also a brief Weavers clip. Does anyone know if there are complete versions of these around, and where I could locate them. SOMEBODYS got them and I would dearly love to see them.



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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 11:09 AM

Well, Ricko, I search BBC's site for broadcasters looking for archive clips, but they wanted lots of business info, so didn't finish. Just checking what they ahd for the public I didn't find anything, BUT they do have a query form you could fill out to ask for more info. I think you can find them at

Then I went to and will post the transcript of the interview below. They also have a thing you cna fill to ask about the videos, PLUS they have a video on demand function, which I THINK you could at least call up those clips on with the interview.

That should get you started. Have fun in Ottawa.

Here's what Rick saw on CNN:


Now, for those of you over 30 who felt left out during our hip- hop segment at the top of the show, well, here's some music that will make you feel right at home. It's our tribute to musical legend Pete Seeger, the man who more than any other has given folk music a national identity. Seeger turned 80 this year, and even though generations have grown up listening to him, he's remarkably modest about his impact.

But NEWSSTAND's Rona Eliott found some big name friends and admirers who have plenty to say about him.


SPRINGSTEEN: Over the years Peter has become the essence of what folk music is about, you know?

It's impact on this society, and his country and the world around him is to try to inspire you to thought, you know? To think.

ARLO GUTHRIE, SINGER: Sounds like "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Turn, Turn, Turn," "If I Had A Hammer."

Everybody knows these songs but no one knows how they know it. How many people know that "We Shall Overcome" comes from Pete Seeger? It's an old gospel song. It was "I Shall Overcome." Pete's the one who put "we" there. Pete's been putting "we" into everything, and it makes it all ours. That's his gift to us.

RAITT: Pete Seeger's generation taught us that you don't have to sit there and take it. I mean, there's a way to be a humanist. There's a way to be a peace activist, and stand up for men and women treating each other equally.

SEEGER: It pulls people together a good song. This is what the civil rights movement showed the rest of the world. Way back in 1956 Martin Luther King and the people in Montgomery, Alabama, had new verses to some of the old hymns.

(singing): We are moving on to victory, we are moving on to victory. Moving on to victory. We know the time ain't long.

Goes the tune of "give me that old time religion."

RONA ELLIOT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I read that you actually sang privately to Doctor King "We shall overcome."

SEEGER: Well, it wasn't privately. It was a small gathering, 100 people.

ELLIOT: What was Doctor King's reaction?

SEEGER: Well, a friend of mine drove him to a speaking engagement the next night, and she says she remembers him sitting in the back seat saying, "We shall overcome. That song really sticks with you, doesn't it?"

Within a month it was the song from Texas to Florida to Virginia.

ELLIOT: When you know you've written songs like this, that had passed test of time, and continue to stand for things, how do you feel about that?

SEEGER: All can I do is laugh and smile, because I don't feel it was my doing, really. I contributed to it. And maybe I was part of it. I'm very -- I'm the luckiest musician I know.

ELLIOT (voice-over): It was inevitable that Seeger would take up moving. His mother played the violin. His father was a noted musicologist. Pete's instrument was the banjo.

In 1940, when he was 21, Seeger joined folk legend Woody Guthrie. Together they travelled post-depression America, singing about the working man. Then, in 1948, Seeger along with Fred Hellerman, Lee Hayes (ph) and Ronnie Gilbert formed the Weavers, and brought fold music into the main stream.

FRED HELLERMAN: Well, the Weavers started out of gatherings. There'd be hootenannies, both as concerts and just as informal get- togethers and, you know. Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie and all kinds of people just get together and sing, and enjoy each other, and swap songs. And it was a -- it was a good time. It was a good time.

ELLIOT: But the good times would end. In 1952, Pete Seeger was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The question was: "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?"

SEEGER: Well, I decided not to use the Fifth Amendment, which in effect says "You have no right to ask me this question." I felt in a stronger position. I said, "I don't think any American should have to answer questions like this."

ELLIOT: This refusal to cooperate with the committee effectively crippled Seeger's career. Bookings dried up. Then, in 1955, the Weaver's manager, Harold Leventhal (ph) decided to take matters into his own hands.

HAROLD LEVENTHAL, MANAGER: Carnegie Hall, at that time had a more liberal policy, although they were concentrating on classical artists, but they were familiar with the records of the Weavers. And I rented the hall, put up the deposit, and hoped to fill it. And I did.

ELLIOT: That concert is still talked about by those who were there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the first song that they sang? Wake up, wake up, darling Cory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, he didn't just play the banjo, his banjo...

ELLIOT: Although Seeger could perform in concert he was blacklisted from American TV. Then, in 1967, Tom and Dick Smothers invited him to appear on their hit CBS show.

LEVENTHAL: The Smothers brothers said, "Well, if you don't have Pete, you're not going to have us." And they were very properly a show, and they went on.

SEEGER: Once I had an idea for a line: "Long time passing." Later in the year I'm reading a book describing the Cossack soldiers galloping off to join the Czar's army, like 150 years ago, singing, "Where are the flowers? The girls have plucked them. Where are the girls? They're all married. Where are the men? They're all in the army." Within 20 minutes, I had a song.

ELLIOT: Peter, Paul & Mary made the song a hit at the height of the Vietnam war. It's a song they still perform. Seeger's influence on new generations of musicians is undiminished.

In 1998, artists such as Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen honored Seeger's contributions in the tribute album, "Where Have all the Flowers Gone?" SPRINGSTEEN: Peter had a way of unifying the night around ideas: you know, ideas about whether social justice or it comes up out of your everyday life, you know. And I try to do that with my own music in the sense that I wanted to make music that had purpose.

SPRINGSTEEN (singing): Wherever there's a cop beating a guy, wherever a hungry newborn baby cries...

SEEGER: I feel I have got thousands of musical children all over the place. They may play different kinds of music, but they have the basic purpose in life.

RAITT: Part of the reason I play the guitar and started out as a folk singer was because of Pete Seeger's records and his stance politically. He was a cultural icon for me and my family.

SEEGER (singing): I am a truthful man from the land of the palm trees.

GUTHRIE: Pete Seeger's songs are sung in schools and camps, and they're not just concert hall songs. They are songs that families sing going down the road with little kids and things like that.

ELLIOT: For the last few decades, Seeger has spent every Thanksgiving at Carnegie Hall, sharing the stage with Woody Guthrie's son, Arlo. It's a concert that unites generations.

SEEGER: Now that my voice is gone, I just get the crowd singing.

The crowd makes you feel something special is happening. But I have had the feeling even in small groups of people.

I may be singing in a classroom for a dozen or couple of dozen kids, and if we really get together on something, I feel, you know, these kids are going to remember this.

ELLIOT (on camera): What is that feeling for you, that get together feeling that clicks and you know it's then taking place?

SEEGER: Well, it's, I guess, one of the main things I live for.

ELLIOT (voice-over): Pete Seeger's voice may have weakened, but his message of peace and harmony remains strong.

Pete and Toeshy (ph), his wife of 56 years, live quietly in a log cabin in upstate New York.

As his 80th birthday approaches, his friends know just what to give him.

RAITT: We have a little birthday present we'd like to sing for you, for your inspiration and for being the hero that you are to all of us when we need them.

BONNIE AND JOHN RAITT (singing): Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. SPRINGSTEEN: Happen birthday, Pete.

LEVENTHAL: I wish him 20 more years.

HELLERMAN: Happy birthday, Pete.

PETER, PAUL & MARY: This is a hug for you on your 80th birthday.

SEEGER: There she goes.



ROSE: For the record -- get it, record -- "Wimoweh" and "Guantanamera" were just two of the songs that Pete Seeger discovered and made famous the world over, and yet he never copyrighted them. He felt they belonged to everyone. We'll be right back.

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 11:18 AM

Thanks, kat! "Where have all the Pete Seegers gone?"
yours, Peter T.

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Mike Regenstreif
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 01:22 PM

I guess CNN is into summer reruns. I saw that report when it was first aired around the time of Pete's 80th birthday in May.

Mike Regenstreif

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 01:34 PM

Thanks for the post Kat...........Never got around TV or computer last night and Ithank you. Gotta' go now too.....this school schedule change is the pits.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 04:41 PM

Kat, I assume (ph) after a name means you weren't sure of the spelling so you gave a phonetic spelling? I didn't get it when it first appeared after Hayes, but after Toeshy I figured it out: the name is Toshi.


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 05:31 PM

Sorry, seed, ya lost me? I don't remember what you are talking about? I can't recall ever putting a (ph) by a name and usually am pretty good at spelling, esp. Japanese.....I was one of the lucky ones who went through school when phonics was fashionable. Now...before ya go off on my spelling, you'll note I said nothing about my typing skills!**BG** So, reference, please???

And you all are welcome. It was nothing, really.....TeeHee!


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 05:50 PM

If I remember, CNN transcribers use"ph" for "phonetic" when they haven't checked the spelling of names.
yours, Peter T.

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 06:23 PM I see! Duh! Thanks, Peter, yes it was CNN's doing, not mine.

Now it is clear as mud for both of us, seed**BG**


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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 06:33 PM

My guess is that (ph) indicates that a still PHotograph of the person was shown, or some non-moving video. Just a guess, since I didn't see it myself.

--Charlie Baum

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 10:22 PM

I think it was just for the phonetic spelling ofhis wife's name, Charlie, as I took that directly from their written transcript for their announcer. As I understand it, from my tv engineer hoosbund, they've got other cues and clues for photos etc.



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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Dani
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 10:35 AM

Peter T., I quote "SEEGER: I feel I have got thousands of musical children all over the place. They may play different kinds of music, but they have the basic purpose in life. "

They're out there, Peter. No one person will ever be Pete, but I've heard lots of folks who move people in the right direction with their music, and share it with the same gentle passion and love that Pete does. I've even made my own (teeny, tiny, humble) little ripples in the stream, I hope. And Pete is always my inspiration. We don't need more Petes. We need more and more folks to light their own candles from his.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Peter T.
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 11:03 AM

True words, Dani.
yours, Peter T.

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 28 Aug 99 - 04:02 PM

Pete has a wonderful article entitled something like "Too many people have listened to me and not the people I've listened to." I ran across it in an old folkie magazine called Caravan.

Frank Hamilton

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Subject: RE: Pete Seeger on CNN. rare film
From: GUEST,Rona Elliot re: my Pete Interview for his 80
Date: 30 Jan 14 - 08:30 PM

Hi - the interview you cite from CNN was conducted at his cabin in Beacon in New York, with his wife Toshi there. It was a long and incredible day with him and as one would expect he was generous with his time and recollections. I was thrilled to spend the time
with him and as you noted, many music giants were also thrilled to be
a part of his 80th. I had the chance to attend his 90th at Madison
Square Garden in New York, where anyone who was still breathing and had been influenced by Pete - musically, politically, or environmentally -- showed up. Very moving tributes. But the interview you cite was for his 80th. Thanks, Rona

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