Steve Kline Ages of Rock
1919: Pete Seeger is born this day at the French Hospital in midtown Manhattan. He is the son of Harvard-educated composer and arranger Charles Louis Seeger Jr., whose outspoken pacifism over World War I gets him fired from the University of California-Berkley, where he had established the first musicology curriculum in the U.S. With wife Constance, Charles moves to New York. Pete grows up surrounded by music. His mother teaches violin while his father is on the faculty at the New York Institute of Musical Art (later Juilliard). Pete’s folk artistry makes him a fixture on the radio during the 1940s and in the 50s he has a string of hits with The Weavers before he is blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. His career is revived during the anti-Vietnam War turmoil of the 1960s, when covers of his songs become huge hits for other performers (see the The Byrds’ Turn! Turn! Turn! and Peter Paul and Mary’s If I Had a Hammer). His national television performance of the anti-military violence song Waist Deep in the Big Muddy is a seminal moment in the proud history of principled resistance:
1933 / 1934: James Brown and Frankie Valli have birthdays.