Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

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For the 2008 documentary, see Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (film).
1960 release on The Rainbow Quest LP, Folkways, FA 2454, by Pete Seeger.
Columbia Hall of Fame 45 single release as 13-33088 featuring the November, 1962 version.
"Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"
Song
Language English
Composer Pete Seeger
Lyricist Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson
Language English

"Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" is a contemporary folk song. The first three verses were written by Pete Seeger in 1955, and published in Sing Out! magazine.[1] Additional verses were added by Joe Hickerson in May 1960, who turned it into a circular song.[2] Its rhetorical "where?" and meditation on death place the song in the ubi sunt tradition.[3][better source needed] In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the "Top 20 Political Songs".[4]

The 1964 release of the song as a Columbia Records 45 single, 13-33088, by Pete Seeger was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002 in the Folk category.

Composition[edit]

Seeger found inspiration for the song in October 1955, while on a plane bound for a concert in Ohio. Leafing through his notebook he saw the passage, "Where are the flowers, the girls have plucked them. Where are the girls, they've all taken husbands. Where are the men, they're all in the army."[5] These lines were taken from the traditional Cossacks folk song "Koloda-Duda", referenced in the Mikhail Sholokhov novel And Quiet Flows the Don (1934), which Seeger had read "at least a year or two before".[3]

Seeger created a song, which was subsequently published in Sing Out in 1962. With only three verses, he recorded it once in a medley on The Rainbow Quest album (Folkways LP FA 2454) released in July 1960 and forgot about it. Joe Hickerson added verses four and five, and a repeat of verse one,[3] in May 1960 in Bloomington.[6]

In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the "Top 20 Political Songs".[4]

The song appeared on the 1967 compilation album Pete Seeger's Greatest Hits released by Columbia Records as CS 9416.

The November, 1962 recording by Pete Seeger from the Columbia album The Bitter and the Sweet, CL 1916, produced by John H. Hammond, was also released as a Columbia Hall of Fame 45 single as 13-33088 backed with "Little Boxes".

Versions[edit]

  • The Kingston Trio recorded the song in 1961.[7][8] Believing it to be a traditional song, they claimed authorship, although upon notice from Seeger they had their name removed and credited Seeger and Hickerson.[6] Seeger acknowledged their success with this song.[9] Their single, with "O Ken Karanga" as the A-side and the hit "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" the B-side, reached #21 in the 1962 Billboard Hot 100 chart and #4 on the Easy Listening chart.[10]
  • Peter, Paul and Mary included the song on their eponymous debut album (which spent five weeks as the #1 album in the country) in 1962.
  • Marlene Dietrich performed this song in English, French and German. The song was first performed in French (as "Qui peut dire où vont les fleurs?") by Marlene in 1962 at a UNICEF concert. She also recorded the song in English and in German, the latter titled "Sag' mir, wo die Blumen sind", with lyrics translated by Max Colpet. She performed the German version on a tour of Israel, where she was warmly received; she was the first person to break the taboo of using German publicly in Israel since WWII.[3][11]
  • Dalida also recorded the song in French as "Que sont devenues les fleurs?", adapted by Guy Béart in 1962 (Les Années Barclay, vol. 5, 1962).
  • Jaap Fischer recorded the song in Dutch as "Zeg me waar de bloemen zijn" (single, B side of "Jan Soldaat",1963).
  • The Searchers released their version on the album Meet The Searchers, released June 1963.
  • Bobby Darin recorded the song on the Golden Folk Hits album on Capitol, 2007, which was released in November 1963.
  • Roy Orbison recorded a version of the song which appears on the album The Connoisseur's Orbison.
  • Eddy Arnold and The Needmore Creek Singers recorded the song on October 9, 1963, and released it on the Folk Song Book album released in January 1964.
  • Vera Lynn recorded the song as the eleventh cut on her 1964 album "Among My Souvenirs".
  • The Brothers Four recorded the song on their 1964 LP "More Big Folk Hits", Columbia Records, CL-2213.
  • The Four Seasons recorded the song on their 1964 Philips album Born to Wander, PHM 200 129.
  • Lars Lönndahl recorded the song in 1964[12] with Swedish lyrics Inga blommor finns det mer, translated in 1962[13] by Beppe Wolgers.
  • Joan Baez included the German version (Sagt Mir wo die Blumen sind) on her 1965 album Farewell Angelina.
  • Johnny Rivers had a 1965 top 40 hit in the US with a folk rock version, reaching #26 on the Billboard Hot 100[3] and #9 in Canada.
  • Grady Martin released an instrumental version in 1965 on his Instrumentally Yours album.[14]
  • Harry Belafonte has made one recording of it at a benefit concert in Stockholm, Sweden, 1966 on the album BEL-1.
  • Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs included the song on their 1968 album Changin' Times.
  • Walter Jackson recorded a R & B version in Chicago for Okeh records in 1967.
  • Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery recorded an instrumental version in his trademark style on the 1968 LP Road Song
  • In 1969, Rufus Harley recorded a jazz instrumental version on his trademark bagpipes, but the track was never commercially released until it was included in his posthumously released limited edition collection Courage - The Atlantic Recordings in 2006.
  • The Landsmen released the song as a 45 single on Arvee.
  • Bill Anderson recorded the song on his eponymous 1971 album.
  • American R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire covered the song on the 1972 album Last Days and Time.
  • Richie Havens recorded the song in 1972.
  • Hannes Wader recorded a German version as the final track for his 1982 album Daß nichts bleibt wie es war.
  • City recorded a German version in their 1983 album Unter der Haut.
  • A Russian version of the song was created in 1998 by Oleg Nesterov, a lead singer of Megapolis, and later performed in duet with Masha Makarova (Masha I Medvedi) in a music video.[15]
  • Olivia Newton-John recorded the song on her 2004 album Indigo: Women of Song.
  • Country singer Dolly Parton has also recorded a rendition of the song, on her 2005 album Those Were the Days.
  • Chris de Burgh has recorded a new version which is featured on his 2008 album Footsteps.[citation needed]
  • The song was sung at the funeral of Harry Patch, the last British soldier of the First World War, in Wells Cathedral on August 9, 2009.
  • The Folkswingers recorded an instrumental version of the song for their second album 12 String Guitar! Vol. 2.
  • A Polish version on YouTube was sung by Sława Przybylska (Polish title: "Gdzie są kwiaty z tamtych lat?")
  • A Czech version on YouTube of the song was also created and recorded by several popular artists, such as Judita Čeřovská,[16] Marie Rottrová or Marta Kubišová
  • A Croatian folk band Zlatni Dukati played this song during the war in their homeland in 1990s under the title "Iznad polja makova" ("Above the fields of poppy").
  • A Scottish pop singer and songwriter Jimmy Sommerville made a piano version of the song on his 2009 album Suddenly Last Summer.
  • Kirsten Hasberg, of Kassel Germany, recorded a parody entitled, "Sag, die Energiewende, wo ist sie geblieben?" about the German transition to renewable energies and "energy democracy."[dead link]
  • Kovács Erzsi, Hungarian pop singer recorded a version in Hungarian ("Hova tűnt a sok virág?" on YouTube)
  • Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin recorded an instrumental version in her 2009 album Journey to the New World.
  • British Folk-Rock group The Tansads included a version on their 1995 live album Drag Down The Moon.
  • German Avant-garde group Einstürzende Neubauten recorded a German version of the song for their 2014 album Lament.
  • Lara Veronin, Russian-Taiwanese-American singer recorded a version for the 2012 Taiwanese drama Alice in Wonder City.
  • The Armistice Pals recorded a version in 2014 that was released as a commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of World War One and as a tribute to Pete Seeger, who had died earlier that year. The recording featured over 40 notable folk artists and a 'Pals Chorus' of over 100 other singer-songwriters, singers, groups and members of UK folk clubs who attended the recording sessions. The voice of Pete Seeger is heard in the recording along with that of his stepsister Peggy Seeger.
Version Title Artist
Catalan Què se n'ha fet d'aquelles flors? Roslyn Smith, La Marta (Club Super3)
Czech Řekni, kde ty kytky jsou Judita Čeřovská
Croatian Kamo je cvijeće otišlo? Monia Verardi
Dutch Zeg me waar de bloemen zijn Jaap Fischer
English Where have all the flowers gone? Pete Seeger, The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Tansads The Armistice Pals
Esperanto Ĉiuj floroj estas for Duo Espera
Estonian Kuhu küll kõik lilled jäid on YouTube Lindpriid
Finnish Minne kukat kadonneet Kukonpojat
French Qui peut dire où vont les fleurs? Eva[disambiguation needed], Marlene Dietrich, Dalida
German Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind Marlene Dietrich, Hannes Wader, Juliane Werding, Nana Mouskouri, Joan Baez, Lolita (Austrian singer), Hildegard Knef, Einstürzende Neubauten
Hebrew איפה הפרחים כולם Eifo Haprachim Kulam שלישיית גשר הירקון (Gesher Hayarkon Trio)
Hungarian Hova tűnt a sok virág? on YouTube Gerendás Péter
Irish Cá bhfuil siad uainn, scoth na mbláth? Feargal Ó Béarra
Italian Dove andranno i nostri fiori? on YouTube Patty Pravo
Japanese 花はどこへ行った? Hana wa doko e itta? on YouTube Kiyoshiro Imawano
Polish Gdzie są kwiaty z tamtych lat? Sława Przybylska
Portuguese Para onde foram todas as flores Jarmila Ferreira Martins
Romanian Unde au dispărut toate florile Alexandru Constantinescu
Russian Ты скажи мне, где цветы on YouTube Zhanna Bichevskaya
Russian Где цветы, дай мне ответ? Gde cvety, day mne otvet? Oleg Nesterov, Masha Makarova
Slovenian Kam so šle vse rožice on YouTube Tomaž Domicelj
Spanish ¿Dónde están las flores? Rolando Alarcón
Swedish Inga blommor finns det mer Lars Lönndahl
Turkish Söyle Çiçekler nerde? Oğuz Tarihmen
Ukrainian Де всі квіти, розкажи De vsi kvity, rozkazhy Maria Burmaka
Ukrainian Квіти де? Kvity De? on YouTube Yana Zavarzina

Grammy Hall of Fame[edit]

Pete Seeger's recording of his composition was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance."

Pete Seeger: Grammy Hall of Fame Awards[17]
Year recorded Title Genre Label Year inducted
1964 "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Folk (single) Columbia 2002

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Seeger, Pete. "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". Sing Out! 11 (5). 
  2. ^ Hickerson, Joe (2009–2010). "The Songfinder". Sing Out! 53 (2): 76. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Joe Hickerson. "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?". presentation to SEM (Society for Ethnomusicology), 50th Annual Meeting in Atlanta (quoted in thread). Mudcat.org. Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Smith, Ian K (25 March 2010). "Top 20 Political Songs: Where Have All the Flowers Gone". New Statesman. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Notes from: Where Have All the Flowers Gone - The Songs of Pete Seeger
  6. ^ a b Dunaway, David King (2008). How Can I Keep From Singing? The Ballad of Pete Seeger, pp. 228-30. Random House, Inc. ISBN 0-345-50608-1.
  7. ^ Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Second Hand Songs.
  8. ^ The Kingston Trio time line. The single was released on December 18, 1961 by The Kingston Trio on Capitol Records as a 45 single, 4671. Source: Liner notes for The Kingston Trio: The Capital Years (Capitol Records CD7243 8 28498 2 7).
  9. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 18 - Blowin' in the Wind: Pop discovers folk music. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.  Track 5.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 137. 
  11. ^ "Marlene Dietrich, Actor / Singer". Answers.com. Retrieved 7 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Album title En kväll med Towa och Lasse, track 8, record label Teldec, Hamburg, cataloged in the Swedish Media Database (SMDb) of the Royal Library in Stockholm.
  13. ^ Inga blommor finns det mer, blog post by Enn Kokk, without date, read January 20, 2014.
  14. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/mw0001443273
  15. ^ Где цветы? - "Where have all the flowers gone?", Russian clip on YouTube
  16. ^ Rekni kde ty kytky jsou on YouTube - "Where have all the flowers gone?", Czech clip on YouTube
  17. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame Database.

Bibliography[edit]