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Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen at a pre-inaugural concert for President Obama in 2009. / H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY

President Obama is praising music icon Pete Seeger, saying that "America's tuning fork" believed in "the power of song" to help bring social change.

"But more importantly, he believed in the power of community -- to stand up for what's right, speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we could be," Obama said of Seeger in a written statement.

Seeger, who died Monday at age 94, popularized songs such as This Land Is Your Land, If I Had A Hammer, and Turn, Turn, Turn.

One Seeger standard, We Shall Overcome, became an anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Another, Where Have All The Flowers Gone?, was sung by Vietnam War protesters.

Over the years, Seeger influenced musicians ranging from Joan Baez to Bruce Springsteen. For decades, he sang at rallies for the labor movement, civil rights, and opponents of Vietnam and other wars.

In early 2009, Seeger played a pre-inaugural concert for President Obama, teaming with Springsteen on This Land Is Your Land.

More from Obama's statement:

"Over the years, Pete used his voice -- and his hammer -- to strike blows for worker's rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation.

"And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us where we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger.

"Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Pete's family and all those who loved him."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama memorializes Pete Seeger

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