Almanac Singers

About Almanac Singers

Formed (informally) in 1940, the Almanac Singers were a politically oriented folk group featuring Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Woody Guthrie, Millard Lampell, and others (including, at various times, Leadbelly, Burl Ives, and Cisco Houston). The group became a fixture at leftist political events (like the 1941 American Youth Congress), singing songs that dealt with issues such as worker’s rights, union advocacy, and opposition to American involvement in World War II. The Almanac Singers were also controversial for their loose affiliation with the Communist Party. In 1941 and 1942 the group made several recordings, including the full-length albums SONGS FOR JOHN DOE and TALKING UNION, and many singles that later ended up on compilation albums. The group’s strident political positions made mainstream success difficult, and the attack on Pearl Harbor made their isolationist stance seem invalid. They broke up shortly after, but the legacy and political consciousness of the group (and its members—particularly Seeger and Guthrie) influenced generations to follow.

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