Monday March 19th is the exact 50th anniversary of the release of Bob Dylan’s eponymous first album. The anniversary sees the release for charity of a digital single and music video of the classic Dylan song “Forever Young” by one of Dylan’s mentors – legendary folksinger/activist Pete Seeger who is 92. (93 on May 3rd.) The release is being championed by a grassroots campaign www.ForeverPete.com.
ForeverPete.com – modeled on the successful 2010 fan-based endeavor to get 88-year-old Betty White to host “Saturday Night Live” – is run by admirers wanting Seeger to become the oldest musician to reach the music charts. Current record-holder in US, UK and other singles charts is Tony Bennett (age 85 in 2011).
Seeger has a long history of chart success. In the 1950s he was a member of chart-topping folk group, the Weavers. In the 1960s he was frequently in music charts as composer or arranger of hits such as “If I Had A Hammer”, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”, “We Shall Overcome” and his chart-topping song for The Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
Seeger’s song benefits the human rights organization Amnesty International – this year commemorating its 50th anniversary. Seeger is a longtime supporter.
Seeger’s performance is captured in this new music video.
He is also the subject of this mini-documentary on the recording of the song.
Seeger is accompanied by eighteen youngsters (age 9-13) – the Rivertown Kids. Seeger has mentored this group from his home village of Beacon, NY since 2007. In 2011 Seeger and the Kids won the Grammy for Best Childrens’ Album.
Seeger’s recording of “Forever Young” expresses the philosophy he shares with Dylan of encouraging the young to retain their youthful idealism. Seeger has already encouraged the Kids to become musical ambassadors for environmentalism. Now he is inspiring them – and millions of other kids worldwide – to also become evangelists for human rights.
Seeger’s recording was conceived and co-produced by longtime Amnesty activist/producer Martin Lewis (co-creator/producer with John Cleese of Amnesty’s “Secret Policeman’s Ball” series) and arranged and co-produced by Grammy-winning producer/composer Mark Hudson (Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne). The recording features a string quartet recorded by Grammy-winning Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick.