Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So Long, It's Been Good to Know Ya

PETE SEEGER died yesterday.  I feel as if I've lost a beloved friend, a favorite relative; certainly a guiding light.  The following is a comment I left on The New York Times among the hundreds of others that follow their excellent obituary.  (It's also a Times Pick, should you want to find it in the paper.)

I really don't have much else to say right now...

Pete Seeger was and will always be one of [the few] great heroes of my life. His music was an inspiration, particularly because his life was an ongoing testament to principle, commitment, and an unwavering belief that personal action, especially in concert with others of like mind, can effect enormous positive social change.

He was a unique tower and shimmering beacon of progressive light.  But he was also a man with a private heart. When his wife Toshi died last year, I knew Pete wouldn't be far behind.

One of the proudest moments of my life came in 1994 when Mr. Seeger was among those receiving The Kennedy Center Honor and I was on the outside public relations team promoting the event. It gave me the opportunity to interview him by phone and not only did he speak freely and candidly, he spoke to me as if I were an old friend and even sang two songs to me. We were on the phone for half an hour!

May the great yet humble Pete Seeger rest in peace and live on in spirit. And may his death motivate the rest of us to re-examine our values and re-kindle our activism.