♫ Where Have All The Flowers Gone? ♫ (Redux)

If you’ve read my a.m. post, you’ll know that I am somewhere deep in a rabbit hole at the moment, and this song … matches my mood perfectly.  Where, indeed, have all the flowers gone, and when, indeed, will we ever learn.


Pete-Seeger-1

Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)

Pete Seeger, who died in January 2014 at the age of 94, wrote this song, and the following is his story of how the song came to be:

“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 Czar’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. There were just three verses. I Scotch-taped the song to a microphone and sang it at Oberlin College. This was in 1955.

“One of the students there had a summer job as a camp counselor. He took the song to the camp and sang it to the kids. It was very short. He gave it rhythm, which I hadn’t done. The kids played around with it, singing ‘Where have all the counselors gone? / Open curfew, everyone.’

“The counselor added two actual verses: ‘Where have all the soldiers gone? / Gone to graveyards every one / Where have all the graveyards gone? / Covered with flowers every one.’ Joe Hickerson is his name, and I give him 20 percent of the royalties. That song still brings in thousands of dollars from all around the world.”

bernie sandersThe song has been recorded by many, including Joan Baez, The Kingston Trio, Olivia Newton-John and even Dolly Parton, but the one that surprised me was Bernie Sanders!  Yep, the one and only Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont apparently produced an album in 1987, 20 years before becoming a senator, titled We Shall Overcome.  Who knew?

My favourite version of the song has always been Peter, Paul & Mary’s, but tonight I came across a version Seeger did sometime late in life, playing banjo and singing, and I found it moving.  So, I am including both here, and you can pick one or listen to both.  Or neither, I suppose, but then my feelings would be hurt, so listen to at least one, ‘k?

Where Have All the Flowers Gone
Pete Seeger/Peter, Paul & Mary

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Songwriters: Peter Seeger
Where Have All the Flowers Gone lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

44 thoughts on “♫ Where Have All The Flowers Gone? ♫ (Redux)

  1. Jill, one of the classic protest songs. The metaphor of flowers at the beginning and end is terrific. Today, I referenced a quote from the movie “Troy” which is a good companion to this song. “War is old men talking and young men dying.” Talk about gaslighting. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I remember listening to this, and probably trying to sing it, while wearing flowers in my hair! (I lived just outside of San Francisco for a couple of years in the 60s) Indeed, war is old men talking and young men dying. I’ll check out the movie “Troy” … I don’t know anything about it.

      Like

      • I doubt it. In stories I have read about him, there was no time for hippueness. Me, on the other hand, have spent my whole adult life as a hippie and if Orca Flotta wants to swear at me, at least that would be a backhanded honour!

        Liked by 2 people

        • “Me, on the other hand, have spent my whole adult life as a hippie”
          Same here, kinda. Hippies can wear black leather and listen to politpunk and be aggressive AntiFa and anti-capitalists and anti-NATO, no?

          “if Orca Flotta wants to swear at me”
          Now, why the fuck would I do that?

          Liked by 1 person

          • No. That does not describe a hippe, OF. Hippies believed in peace, love, and sharing. Aggressiveness was not a feature of our way of life, although anti-capitalism was and still is. There is no such thing as AntiFa, that was a scarecrow created by Trump and friends. Trump is a Fascist!

            Liked by 2 people

            • “Hippies believed in peace, love, and sharing.”
              As do I. Aggressively I might add!

              “There is no such thing as AntiFa”
              Oh! 😮 And there I was, since the early 80s, thinking all the time I was in antifa.

              “that was a scarecrow created by Trump and friends. Trump is a Fascist!”
              We didn’t even know something like Trump existed. He wasn’t in politics back then. And America was far removed from our political minds back then. We knew it was a no-good, rogue nation on the far side of the puddle, and always on the wrong side of every conflict, always supporting the far-right nazi and dictator regimes. But our antifa group dealt more with local problems, Nazi groups in my hometown Hamburg/Germany.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: ♫ Where Have All The Flowers Gone? ♫ (Redux) | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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