Pete Seeger

Greatest Hits

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"Greatest Hits," as Seeger himself wryly wrote in his liner notes, is a misnomer considering that he never had hit singles or huge-selling albums as a solo artist, though actually "Little Boxes" (included here) made the lower reaches of the charts. In reality this 1967 compilation (since reissued on CD) collects the most popular tracks of his 1962-1966 output for Columbia, which was a pretty small slice of his prolific career. Nonetheless, these were among his most popular recordings ever, whether as done by him or covered by others. To begin with, it has the original 1962 version of "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)," made into a number one folk-rock hit in 1965 by the Byrds (and covered to good effect by Judy Collins in 1963). There's also "The Bells of Rhymney," also covered by the Byrds in 1965, and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," a hit for the Kingston Trio, although the 1962 version here is a disappointingly thin a cappella one. Other tracks were among the most popular staples of his repertoire: "We Shall Overcome," "Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)," and "Guantanamera." His controversial "Waist Deep in the Muddy" is also included, as well as some songs that might be identified more with other performers, like "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." Though it might not qualify as an ideal career survey given its narrow chronology, certainly it's among the one or two best anthologies for those who just want one or two Seeger comps, as it has many of the most renowned songs he wrote or popularized in their most popular recorded versions.

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