Pete Seeger wasn't just a revered musician and songwriter, known for his tireless activism and way of living that paid the deepest respect to Mother Nature.
The New York native—who died in his sleep last night at the age of 94, surrounded by family—provided the core soundtrack to an entire era.
Seeger's passing subsequently triggered an outpouring of remembrances and tributes, from peers and countless admirers in the music world and beyond who lauded his contributions to social progress, not to mention the American musical landscape.
Bruce Springsteen, who released We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions in 2006 and performed at Seeger's 90th-birthday concert, played "We Shall Overcome" during his tour stop in South Africa. "I lost a great friend a real hero last night," he said onstage.
Seeger's version of the well-known spiritual became what is still considered to be the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.
"We deeply mourn the passing of Pete Seeger," Springsteen said in a statement today, per the Washington Post. "We believe that nobody is truly gone until all those who are touched or influenced by that person are gone from the Earth...So Pete will live on in the hearts and minds of so many for years to come. His vision of peace and justice and equality for all will live on and continue to influence. His music has been used all over the world for social justice. From the Civil Rights movement to the anti-war movements Pete and his songs have been there on the front lines. Like a ripple that keeps going out from a pond Pete's music will keep going out all over the world spreading the message of non-violence and peace and justice and equality for all. Wherever people are fighting to be free or fighting for equality Pete's songs and Pete's vision will be there with them."
Along with a posted video of his Seeger birthday performance in 2009, Springsteen wrote at the time about traveling to President Barack Obama's inauguration with the then-90-year-old artist. "He was [so] happy that day, it was like, Pete, you outlasted the bastards, man!...It was so nice. At rehearsals the day before, it was freezing, like fifteen degrees and Pete was there; he had his flannel shirt on. I said, man, you better wear something besides that flannel shirt! He says, yeah, I got my longjohns on under this thing."
The New Jersey native continued: "At some point Pete Seeger decided he'd be a walking, singing reminder of all of America's history. He'd be a living archive of America's music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people, and despite Pete's somewhat benign, grandfatherly appearance, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant, and nasty optimism."
AP Photo/Jim McKnight
Obama also paid tribute today: "For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger," POTUS said in a tweeted statement.
Here's just a sampling of the various ways in which Seeger was being remembered on Twitter today:
Pete Seeger's great heart was matched only by his commitment to social justice. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.? Bill Clinton (@billclinton) January 28, 2014
I loved Pete Seeger. Thank you for your kindly righteous leadership over 4 generations. You weren't wrong once. The Angels are singing you.? Mark Ruffalo (@Mruff221) January 28, 2014
Saddened to hear of the passing of Pete Seeger RIP? Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) January 28, 2014
One if the greatest concerts I ever saw was a 1968 Pete Seeger & Nina Simone CORE rally. A lot of anger, a lot of love...? Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) January 28, 2014
May the heroic genius Pete Seeger RIP ??????? Mario Batali (@Mariobatali) January 28, 2014
Pete Seeger. What can I say. He said it and sang it and lived it all. Our paths crossed many times, and I am the better for it. RIP? Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 28, 2014