Bring Em Home Pete Seeger Analysis Essay

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen (right) during the We are One Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on January 18, 2009, in Washington AFP/GETTY IMAGES

• WAIST DEEP IN THE BIG MUDDY

Pete Seeger wrote Waist Deep in the Big Muddy in protest at the conflict in Vietnam (a line about a dissenting sergeant being a 'nervous Nelly' was a veiled attack on President Lyndon Johnson). Seeger performed the song on the television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in September 1967 but it was cut by the CBS network. The Smothers Brothers (comedians and musicians Tommy and Dick) kicked up a fuss about the censorship, and Seeger was allowed to return and sing it on the show in February 1968. There have been fine cover versions by Dick Gaughan and Richard Shindell.

• IF I HAD A HAMMER (THE HAMMER SONG)

An activist song written in 1949 by Pete Seeger and his band-mate from The Weavers, Lee Hays. It is one of Seeger's most covered songs, with versions by Trini Lopez, Sam Cooke, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Four Tops, Luther Vandross and even Leonard Nimoy.

• OH, I HAD A GOLDEN THREAD

The song was written by Pete Seeger in 1958 and is often mistaken for a traditional song. Eva Cassidy said it was her favourite song and recorded a live version. Seeger said: "A rather gentle song came to me as I was fooling around on the guitar. Years later I realised that I had rewritten the melody of 'Nearer My God to Thee.' Once again, you can see how the folk process has been aided by a bad memory."

• WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

A song Pete Seeger originally wrote in 1955 and to which additional verses were added by a teacher called Joe Hickerson in 1960. Seeger gave him 20 per cent of the royalties. Where Have All the Flowers Gone? was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. Seeger recalled about the song: “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 Tsar’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."


Earth, Wind & Fire - Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Audio) on MUZU.TV.

• BRING 'EM HOME

Bruce Springsteen hailed Pete Seeger's "stubborn, nasty, defiant optimism” and Springsteen recorded Seeger's anti-Vietnam war anthem Bring 'Em Home, which includes the lines: "For defence you need common sense/Bring them home, bring them home/They don't have the right armaments/Bring them home, bring them home."

• WIMOWEH

Pete Seeger was a master at reinterpreting old spiritual and protest songs. With Wimoweh, which Seeger sang and adapted with The Weavers, he took a South African song written and recorded by Solomon Linda (the title was Seeger’s mishearing of Mbube) and turned it into a modern folk classic.

Pete Seeger conducts an instrument making session on Children's Day at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival

• KISSES SWEETER THAN WINE

Pete Seeger and Lee Hays re-worked a Lead Belly song called If It Wasn't for Dicky, turning it into a love song called Kisses Sweeter Than Wine in 1951. The version by The Weavers reached No19 on the US hit parade. Numerous singers have covered the song, including Jimmie Rodgers, Frankie Vaughan and Jackson Browne. There was even a version by Marlene Dietrich.

• MY RAINBOW RACE

Pete Seeger wrote My Rainbow Race as a children's folk song in 1973. The song was a hit in the Seventies in Norway and came to prominence there again in 2012 when it was sung by a crowd of more than 40,000 people as a protest against statements by mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

• TURN! TURN! TURN!

The Byrds has a No1 hit in 1965 with Pete Seeger's beautiful song Turn! Turn! Turn!, which is adapted from a passage from chapter three of the Book of Ecclesiastes. The song includes the lines: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Seeger said he had remained an optimistic person throughout his life, saying in 1994, "The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”

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Pete Seeger Lyrics

Bring 'Em Home Lyrics

If you love your Uncle Sam,
Bring them home, bring them home.
Support our boys in Vietnam,
Bring them home, bring them home.

It'll make our generals sad, I know,
Bring them home, bring them home.
They want to tangle with the foe,
Bring them home, bring them home.

They want to test their weaponry,
Bring them home, bring them home.
But here is their big fallacy,
Bring them home, bring them home.

I may be right, I may be wrong,
Bring them home, bring them home.
But I got a right to sing this song,
Bring them home, bring them home.

There's one thing I must confess,
Bring them home, bring them home.
I'm not really a pacifist,
Bring them home, bring them home.

If an army invaded this land of mine,
Bring them home, bring them home.
You'd find me out on the firing line,
Bring them home, bring them home.

Even if they brought their planes to bomb,
Bring them home, bring them home.
Even if they brought helicopters and napalm,
Bring them home, bring them home.

Show those generals their fallacy:
Bring them home, bring them home.
They don't have the right weaponry,
Bring them home, bring them home.

For defense you need common sense,
Bring them home, bring them home.
They don't have the right armaments,
Bring them home, bring them home.

The world needs teachers, books and schools,
Bring them home, bring them home.
And learning a few universal rules,
Bring them home, bring them home.

So if you love your Uncle Sam,
Bring them home, bring them home.
Support our boys in Vietnam,
Bring them home, bring them home.

Thanks to saintseiya23 for adding these lyrics

Back to: Pete Seeger Lyrics


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