Seeing the (banned on YouTube) video of Pete Seeger singing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Sunday made me think about how I first heard about him. It’s a pretty weird way, I think.
I was a typical 60s teenybopper — I loved the Monkees and read Tiger Beat and 16. My favorite Monkee was Peter, and in Tiger Beat, I learned how intellectual and politically passionate he was — so different than his character on the show. In one TB article, he talked about liking folk music, and how much he admired Pete Seeger. Although at the time I probably lived within 100 miles of Pete Seeger, I’d never heard of him.
In other seemingly forgettable TB articles about Peter I remember him saying he drove a beat up foreign car, Saab I think, because it was safer and more environmental or something, which made me think he was just so cool — which in retrospect he was, since this was before the first Earth Day even.
Anyway, I wish I could say I immediately went and listened to Seeger, discovered Dylan, Patti Smith and Lou Reed and left the Monkees to the other sheltered suburban girls, but that was not the case. I didn’t go in that direction until several years later in college. But don’t knock the Monkees, I can’t be the only one whom they eventually led into subversive activity. (Or maybe it was just those of us who chose Peter as “our” Monkee! And, yes, we divvied them up; it’s not like you could have two girls in the same clique liking Micky!)
If you haven’t seen the brilliant and moving documentary about Pete Seeger, The Power of Song, I urge you to do so. I wrote about it previously and just can’t recommend it enough. Here’s a preview:
Back in 2002, I met the three still-touring Monkees (Peter, Davy and Micky for those who don’t follow these things) after a concert in Clearwater, FL. I have a photo somewhere. It would really be perfect for this post, but I have no idea where it is.
By the way, when Peter Tork was imprisoned in the 70s (for marijuana possession), he served his time at the penitentiary in El Reno, Oklahoma.