Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
Empty9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27
WNET (New York)
Sure, Frank Sinatra had a hit with "My Way," but that song's lyrics are better suited to the life of legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, whose authorized profile is presented for the first time in this 90-minute episode.
At 88, Seeger isn't in the public spotlight the way he was in the 1950s, when he sang with the Weavers and told the House Un-American Activities Committee that it had no right to inquire about the political or religious philosophy of an American citizen. Or during the '60s, when his music became the score to the civil rights movement. It was around that time when CBS cut his anti-war song out of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," once again thrusting Seeger into the midst of controversy.
Then again, even in his heyday, Seeger's only priority was to inspire people with music to strive for justice and fairness. As director Jim Brown points out again and again, Seeger was neither intimidated by threats and boycotts nor caught up in his own popularity.
To this day, the author of such songs as "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" still lives in the cabin he built in upstate New York when his children were young.
Exec producers of this intimate portrait are Norman Lear and Toshi Seeger, the subject's wife of more than 60 years.