A Bit Like You And Me Radio

March 26, 2012

Pete Seeger - King Henry (1965)

This man was born in 1919. In his twenties, the 1940s, he was a constant nationwide hit on the radio. In the 1950s, he found success in the group The Weavers and topped the charts for thirteen weeks with Lead Belly’s song “Goodnight, Irene”. In the 1960s, then in his forties, he was a widely popular protest singer. He either wrote or co-wrote the famous songs “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song),” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!”. He was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, popularized “We Shall Overcome” that became the anthem for the American Civil Rights movement, and was largely responsible for bringing attention to Bob Dylan. He’s been the recipient of multiple awards, honors, and recognitions and cannot be fully summarized in this small space.

Currently at the age of ninety-two (and turning ninety-three on May 3rd, 2012), he is still performing and recording songs. Going on right now is a campaign to have Pete become the oldest musician to make it on the music charts with his recent recording of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” for the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights organization, Amnesty International. If you enjoy his music and would like to learn more, click here. And you can watch a video behind the making of the song, here.

This song below, written and recorded in 1965 by Pete, was released on his 1966 album, Dangerous Songs!?. The album featured songs written by Pete, written by others such as Phil Ochs and Len Chandler, and traditional folk songs passed down from generations.

album art

Pete Seeger - King Henry (1965)

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Lyrics:

King Henry marched forth, a sword in his hand
Two thousand horsemen all at his command
In a fortnight the rivers ran red through the land
The year, fifteen hundred and twenty

The year it is now nineteen sixty-five
It's easier far to stay half alive
Just keep your mouth shut while the planes zoom and dive
Ten thousand miles over the ocean

Simon was drafted in sixty-three
In sixty-four, sent over the sea
Last month, this letter, he sent to me
He said, "You won't like what I'm sayin’"

He said, "We've no friends here, no hardly a-one
We've got a few generals who just want our guns
But it’ll take more than that if we're ever to win
Why, we'll have to flatten the country"

"It's my own troops I have to watch out for," he said
"I sleep with a pistol right under my head"
He wrote this last month, last week he was dead
And Simon came home in a casket

I mind my own business, I watch my TV
Complain about taxes, but pay anyway
In a civilized manner my forefathers betray
Who long ago struggled for freedom

But each day a new headline screams at my bluff
On TV some general says we must be tough
In my dreams I stare at this family I love
All gutted and spattered with napalm

King Henry marched forth, a sword in his hand
Two thousand horsemen all at his command
In a fortnight the rivers ran red through the land
The year, fifteen hundred and twenty

The year it is now nineteen sixty-five
It's easier far to stay half alive
Just keep your mouth shut while the planes zoom and dive
Ten thousand miles over the ocean

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