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Peggy Seeger (born June 17, 1935, New York City) is an American folksinger. She is also well known in Britain, where she lived for more than 30 years with her husband, songwriter Ewan MacColl.


The first American period

Seeger's father was Charles Seeger (1886–1979), an important folklorist and musicologist; her mother was Seeger's second wife, Ruth Porter Crawford (1901–1953), a modernist composer who was one of the first women to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. One of her brothers is Mike Seeger and the well-known Pete Seeger is her half-brother. One of Peggy Seeger's first recordings was American Folk Songs for Children (1955), considered one of her most enduring and probably the best-selling collection of children's songs ever recorded.

In the 1950s, left-leaning singers such as Paul Robeson and The Weavers began to find that life became difficult because of the influence of McCarthyism. Seeger visited Communist China and as a result had her U.S. passport withdrawn; the US State Department – which had been opposed to Seeger's trip to Moscow, where the CIA had monitored the US delegation — was incensed that Seeger had gone to China against official "advice."[1] The authorities had already warned her that her passport would be impounded, effectively barring her from further travel, were she to return to the USA.[1] She therefore decided to tour Europe – later finding out that she was on a blacklist sent to European governments.[1] Staying in London in 1956, she was accompanying herself on banjo, when Ewan MacColl fell in love with her. Previously married to director and actress Joan Littlewood, MacColl left his second wife, Jean Newlove, to become Seeger's lover. However, in 1958, Seeger's work permit for the UK expired and she was about to be deported. This was narrowly averted by a plan, concocted by MacColl and Seeger, in which she married the folk singer Alex Campbell, in Paris, on January 24, 1959, in what Seeger described as a "hilarious ceremony". This marriage of convenience allowed Seeger to gain British citizenship and continue her relationship with MacColl.[2] MacColl and Seeger were later married (in 1977), following his divorce from Newlove, and they remained together until his death in 1989. They had three children: Neill, Callum, and Kitty. They recorded and released several albums together on Folkways Records, along with Seeger's solo albums, and other collaborations with the Seeger Family and the Seeger Sisters.

Two social critics

Together with MacColl, Seeger joined The Critics Group, performing satirical songs in a mixture of theatre, comedy and song. They recorded as a duo and as solo artists; MacColl wrote "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" in Seeger's honor. None of the couple's more than 100 albums use electronic instruments. While MacColl wrote many songs about work, Seeger sang about the women's movement. Her most memorable was "Gonna Be an Engineer". There were two major projects dedicated to the Child Ballads. The first was The Long Harvest (10 volumes 1966 - 1975). The second was Blood and Roses (5 volumes, 1979 – 1983). She visited the women's camp at Greenham Common, where protests against U.S. cruise missiles were concentrated. For them she wrote "Carry Greenham Home". Seeger ran a record label "Blackthorne" from 1976 to 1988.

In recent years

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. authorities began to soften their attitude towards Seeger. She returned to the United States in 1994 to live in Asheville, North Carolina. Seeger has continued to sing about women's issues. One of her most popular recent albums is "Love Will Linger On" (1995). She has published a collection of 150 of her songs from before 1998. In 2006, Peggy Seeger relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, to accept a part-time teaching position at Northeastern University. In 2008, she began producing music videos pertaining to the Presidential campaigns, making them available through a YouTube page.

Selected discography


Solo albums

  • - Folksongs of Courting and Complaint (1955)
  • - Animal Folksongs for Children (1957)
  • - Two Way Trip (1961)
  • - Peggy Alone (1967)
  • - At The Present Moment (1973)
  • - Penelope Isn't Waiting Anymore (1977)
  • - Different Therefore Equal (1979)
  • - The Folkways Years 1955 - 1992 - Songs of Love and Politics (1992)
  • - Familiar Faces (1993)
  • - Songs of Love and Politics (1994)
  • - Love Will Linger On (1995)
  • - An Odd Collection (1996)
  • - Classic Peggy Seeger (1996)
  • - Period Pieces (1998)
  • - No Spring Chickens (1998)
  • - Almost Commercially Viable (2000)
  • - Heading For Home (2003)

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger

  • - New Briton Gazette, Vol. 1 (1960)
  • - The Unfortunate Rake (1960)
  • - Songs of Two Rebellions (1960)
  • - Popular Scottish Songs (1960)
  • - Bothy Ballads of Scotland (1961)
  • - Two-Way Trip (1961)
  • - New Briton Gazette, Vol. 2 (1962)
  • - Traditional Songs and Ballads (1964)
  • - Folkways Record of Contemporary Songs (1973)
  • - Cold Snap (1978)
  • - Hot Blast (1978)
  • - Saturday Night at the Bull and Mouth (1978)
  • - Kilroy was Here (1980)

Mike and Peggy Seeger

  • - American Folk Songs for Children (1955)
  • - American Folk Songs Sung by the Seegers (1957)
  • - Peggy 'n' Mike (1967)
  • - American Folk Songs for Christmas (1990)

Peggy Seeger and the Critics Group, including Frankie Armstrong

  • - The Female Frolic (1967)
  • - Living Folk (1970)

Peggy Seeger and guests

  • - Three Score and Ten (concert) (2007)


  • - UK Version Who's going to Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot

US Version Tom Paley and Peggy Seeger with Claudia Paley (1964)


  1. ^ a b c Cox, Peter. Set into Song: Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker, Peggy Seeger and the Radio Ballads. Labatie Books, 2008. ISBN 0955187710, ISBN 978-0955187711. P. 73
  2. ^ Harper, Colin, Dazzling Stranger; Bert Jansch and the British Folk and Blues Revival, Bloomsbury, 2006. ISBN 0-7475-8725-6. p.96

External links


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