At the end of the day …..


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Tonight memories come flooding back. I remember the time when this song came out. I was barely entering my teenage years. And the war in Vietnam was rolling.

At the time, there was unrest in the country. There was a social movement for civil rights and protests against the Vietnam war. Protests, sittings, flower power. That kind of popular feeling doesn’t seem to be present in the fiber of our society anymore. 

Do you think we learned anything? I don’t think so!

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” is a folk song.

The first three verses were written by Pete Seeger in 1955, and published in Sing Out! magazine. Additional verses were added by Joe Hickerson in May 1960, who turned it into a circular song. Its rhetorical “where?” and meditation on death place the song in the ubi sunt tradition. In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the “Top 20 Political Songs”.

The 1964 release of the song as a Columbia Records 45 single, 13-33088, by Pete Seeger was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002 in the Folk category.

Seeger found inspiration for the song in October 1955, while on a plane bound for a concert in Ohio. Leafing through his notebook he saw the passage, “Where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them. Where are the girls, they’ve all taken husbands. Where are the men, they’re all in the army.”

These lines were taken from the traditional Cossacks folk song “Tovchu, tovchu mak”, referenced in the Mikhail Sholokhov novel And Quiet Flows the Don (1934), which Seeger had read “at least a year or two before”

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Seeger adapted it to the tune of the Russian folksong “Koloda Duda” (which was subsequently published in Sing Out in 1962). With only three verses, he recorded it once in a medley on The Rainbow Quest album (Folkways LP FA 2454) released in July, 1960 and forgot about it.

Joe Hickerson added verses four and five, and a repeat of verse one, in May 1960 in Bloomington.

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In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the “Top 20 Political Songs”.

The song appeared on the 1967 compilation album Pete Seeger’s Greatest Hits released by Columbia Records as CS 9416.

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“He’s had one of the most perfect lives of anybody I know.”

That was filmmaker Jim Brown’s response when asked why he profiled Pete Seeger in a PBS “American Masters” documentary. Few would disagree with Brown’s assessment. In a career that’s spanned over 70 years, the 94-year-old Seeger has embodied the idealism that once defined the American spirit. A tireless crusader for social justice, world harmony and environmental causes, Seeger was even called, at the height of his activism, “America’s tuning fork.”

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The trajectory of Seeger’s life is dazzling.

Born May 3, 1919, he first wanted to become a journalist. Music beckoned, however, and following a period where he assisted folk-song archivist Alan Lomax, he teamed with legendary songwriter Woody Guthrie to form the politically oriented Almanac Singers.

Drafted into the Army in 1942, Seeger served out his duty and then co-founded the folk group, the Weavers. In addition to popularizing the Guthrie classic “This Land Is Your Land,” the Weavers topped the charts in 1950 with their version of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight, Irene.”

Blacklisted during the McCarthy era, the Weavers disbanded in 1953. Informally banned from TV programs and radio shows—as well as from many concert stages—Seeger began performing at high schools and on college campuses. Concurrent with the folk revival of the early ’60s, his songs became better known to the public at large.

Thanks to hit versions by the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul & Mary, and the Byrds, the Seeger-written songs “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” have become part of the American lexicon.

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These days Seeger remains vibrant, creative and deeply attuned to social and environmental issues. He and his wife, Toshi, continue to live on a wooded hillside in New York overlooking the Hudson River, in a cabin they built with their own hands decades ago. Since 1969, Seeger has worked closely with the Clearwater organization, an environmental group that seeks to protect the Hudson River, its tributaries and related waters. Each year he invites more than 10,000 children and adults onto his sailboat, where they sing and discuss the history of the Hudson.

Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger2 - 6-16-07 Photo by Anthony Pepitone.jpg

Seeger at the Clearwater Festival, 2007.
Background information
Birth name Peter Seeger
Born (1919-05-03) May 3, 1919 (age 94)
Patterson, New York, United States
Genres American folk music, Protest music, Americana
Occupations Musician, songwriter, activist, television host
Instruments Banjo, guitar, recorder, Tin Whistle, mandolin, piano, ukulele
Years active 1939–present
Labels Folkways, Columbia, CBS, Vanguard, Sony Kids’, SME
Associated acts The Weavers, The Almanac Singers, Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie, Tao Rodríguez-Seeger, Lead Belly
Notable instruments
Vega Pete Seeger Model longneck banjo
Martin JSO Sing Out 60th Pete Seeger Guitar, Martin J12SO Sing Out 60th Pete Seeger Guitar

To celebrate his life, here is Pete’s story behind his timeless “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.”

“I had been reading a long novel—”And Quiet Flows the Don”—about the Don River in Russia and the Cossacks who lived along it in the 19th century. It describes the Cossack soldiers galloping off to join the Czar’s army, singing as they go. Three lines from a song are quoted in the book: ‘Where are the flowers? The girls plucked them / Where are the girls? They’re all married / Where are the men? They’re all in the army.’ I never got around to looking up the song, but I wrote down those three lines.

“Later, in an airplane, I was dozing, and it occurred to me that the line ‘long time passing’—which I had also written in a notebook—would sing well. Then I thought, ‘When will we ever learn.’ Suddenly, within 20 minutes, I had a song. There were just three verses. I Scotch-taped the song to a microphone and sang it at Oberlin College. This was in 1955.

“One of the students there had a summer job as a camp counselor. He took the song to the camp and sang it to the kids. It was very short. He gave it rhythm, which I hadn’t done. The kids played around with it, singing ‘Where have all the counselors gone? / Open curfew, everyone.’

“The counselor added two actual verses: ‘Where have all the soldiers gone? / Gone to graveyards every one / Where have all the graveyards gone? / Covered with flowers every one.’ Joe Hickerson is his name, and I give him 20 percent of the royalties. That song still brings in thousands of dollars from all around the world.”

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Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls pick them, every one
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?

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Gone to young men, every one
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young men gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young men gone?

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Gone for soldiers, every one
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

And where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, a long long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?

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Gone to graveyards, every one
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?

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Gone to flowers, every one
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

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Pete Seeger/ Where Have All The Flowers Gone

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Uploaded on Jun 30, 2008

Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger LIVE at Wolftrap. Pete leads everyone to sing his famous song. He was seventy four at that time and every year he keeps saying, “Well, ya know, this will be my last time”. This year Pete is 89 years old and he & his grand son Tao Rodriquez/ Seeger will be playing Carnegie Hall with Arlo and family!

The video mix is live and the sound track is from our CD titled, “More Together Again”.

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Pete Seeger: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

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Uploaded on Feb 18, 2008

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.

In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”.

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Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation.

To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

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Peter Paul and Mary, Where Have All The Flowers Gone

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Related articles:

1. http://writerfox.hubpages.com/hub/WarPoems

2. Full article/source: http://performingsongwriter.com/pete-seeger-flowers-gone/

3. Read more: Kingston Trio – Where Have All The Flowers Gone Lyrics | MetroLyrics

We ALL are ONE!!

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We ALL remember those DAYS!! 

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This entry was posted in Equality and tagged by Dr. Rex. Bookmark the permalink.

About Dr. Rex

I'm originally from Puerto Rico. I was born in Santurce and raised in Rio Piedras. Have lived in Florida since 1999. I have a doctorate degree in Medicine; completed in 1976. My Internal Medicine specialty was completed in 1979. Worked for Puerto Rico's health system until 1985. At this time, I'm happily retired after working for the federal government for almost 28yrs. I want to offer any knowledge that I have to anyone "out there" who is interested. My views are liberal in almost every sense. My knowledge is "eclectic" - a bit of everything. Music and reading are my passion. Blogging has also become a very interesting endeavor. Metaphysical topics attract me. I'm interested in news reporting human issues like injustice, discrimination and abuse - the "wrongly" affected. My intention is to bring this knowledge to an understandable level and to help anyone in need. I'm open to questions and will answer them to the best of my ability. Currently working on an enterprise whose main mission will be to bring peoples of all walks of life together. To be one .... since we ALL are ONE!! The future looks bright and promising!!!

12 thoughts on “At the end of the day …..

  1. At the time, there was unrest in the country. There was a social movement for civil rights and protests against the Vietnam war. Protests, sittings, flower power.

    That kind of popular feeling doesn’t seem to be present in the fiber of our society anymore.

    Do you think we learned anything? I don’t think so!

    Horty, as I wrote the morning of the George Zimmerman verdict:

    When will the waters of decency and compassion flood our land to wash away the hate and racism…..and give drink, fairness, safety and justice to those who have been wronged?

    When will the sunlight of justice shine brightly EVERYWHERE and overcome the hateful, evil darkness?

    It will only come when people of truth and conscience demand it.

    It will only come when people do not have their heads in the sand.

    It will only come when people STAY on the alert to erosive forces that threaten to turn the clock back.
    This case is but one example of that which must be done to stand against those who would turn the clock back and those who would push to allow racism and hate to spread.

    2.3 million people signed a petition to see to it that an injustice would not be swept under the rug.
    People such as us have kept the pressure on.

    There is no magic wand or wish that can create a “presto” moment where all problems go away and only love and goodwill exist.

    No. It is a constant struggle where single victories or accomplishments are achieved one by one through steady determination step by step and inch by inch.

    I am committed to this approach.

    Lyrics to Garden Song :
    [Chorus:]
    Inch by inch, row by row,
    Gonna make this garden grow.
    Gonna mulch it deep and low,
    Gonna make it fertile ground.
    Inch by inch, row by row,
    Please bless these seeds I sow.
    Please keep them safe below
    ‘Til the rain comes tumbling down.

    Pullin’ weeds and pickin’ stones,
    We are made of dreams and bones
    Need spot to call my own
    Cause the time is close at hand.
    Grain for grain, sun and rain
    I’ll find my way in nature’s chain
    Tune my body and my brain
    To the music of the land.

    [Chorus]

    Plant your rows straight and long,
    Season them with a prayer and song
    Mother earth will keep you strong
    If you give her love and care.
    Old crow watching from a tree
    Has his hungry eyes on me
    In my garden I’m as free
    As that feathered thief up there.

    [Chorus]

    Like

  2. William Barber in this video talks about standing together in seeking justice and equality:

    We’re the real conservative Christians ’cause
    We want to conserve love.
    We want to conserve justice.
    We want to conserve righteousness.

    Like

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