Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

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"Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"
Pete Seeger 45 Hall Of Fame.jpg
Columbia Hall of Fame 45 rpm single release as 13-33088 featuring the November 1962 version.
ReleasedMarch 14, 1955 (1955-03-14)
Composer(s)Pete Seeger
Lyricist(s)Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson

"Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" is a modern folk-style song. Inspired lyrically by the traditional Cossack folk song "Koloda-Duda", Pete Seeger borrowed an Irish melody[1] and the first three verses in 1955 and published it in Sing Out! magazine.[2] Additional verses were added in May 1960 by Joe Hickerson, who turned it into a circular song.[3] Its rhetorical "where?" and meditation on death place the song in the ubi sunt tradition.[4] In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the "Top 20 Political Songs".[5]

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


Seeger found inspiration for the song in October 1955 while he was on a plane bound for a concert at Oberlin College, one of the few venues which would hire him during the McCarthy era.[6] 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."[7] These lines were taken from the traditional Cossack 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". In a 2013 interview, Seeger explained that he borrowed the melody from an Irish lumberjack song with the words 'Johnson says he'll load more hay.' He simply slowed the tune and incorporated the lines into it.[8][9]

Seeger created a song which was subsequently published in Sing Out in 1962. He recorded a version with three verses on The Rainbow Quest album (Folkways LP FA 2454) released in July 1960. Later, Joe Hickerson added two more verses with a recapitulation of the first[8] in May 1960 in Bloomington, Indiana.[10]

In 2010, the New Statesman listed it as one of the "Top 20 Political Songs".[5]

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

Pete Seeger's recording from the Columbia album The Bitter and the Sweet (November 1962), CL 1916, produced by John H. Hammond was also released as a Columbia Hall of Fame 45 single as 13-33088 backed by "Little Boxes" in August, 1965.[11][12]


  • The Kingston Trio recorded the song in 1961.[13][14] 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.[10] Seeger acknowledged their success with this song.[15] Their single, with "O Ken Karanga" as the A-side and the hit "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" the B-side, reached No. 21 in the 1962 Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 4 on the Easy Listening chart.[16]
  • Peter, Paul and Mary included the song on their eponymous debut album (which spent five weeks as the No. 1 album in the country) in 1962.
  • Marlene Dietrich performed the song in English, French, and German. The song was first performed in French (as "Qui peut dire où vont les fleurs?") by Dietrich 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 performer to break the taboo of using German publicly in Israel since WWII.[8][17] Her version peaked No. 20 in German charts.[18]
  • 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).
  • Conny van den Bos recorded the song in Dutch "Waar zijn al die bloemen toch?", released 1963.
  • The Searchers released their version on the album Meet The Searchers, released June 1963.
  • The Springfields featuring Dusty Springfield released a version in German in 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[19] with Swedish lyrics Inga blommor finns det mer, translated in 1962[20] 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 No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100[8] and No. 9 in Canada.
  • Grady Martin released an instrumental version in 1965 on his Instrumentally Yours album.[21]
  • 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
  • The Chambers Brothers recorded the song for their 1968 album A New Time – A New Day.
  • The Peddlers recorded a studio version of the song for their 1969 album Birthday.
  • 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.
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra recorded the song in 1980 and released it in the 1999 compilation album "YMO GO HOME!"
  • 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.
  • Bernie Sanders covered the song on his 1987 album We Shall Overcome.
  • Nicolette covered the song on her 1996 album Let No-One Live Rent Free in Your Head.
  • A Russian version of the song was recorded 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.
  • Green Day thematically and lyrically mimic the song on the track Letterbomb from the 2004 album American Idiot.
  • 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 version which is featured on his 2008 album Footsteps.[22]
  • 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-language version was sung by Sława Przybylska (Polish title: "Gdzie są kwiaty z tamtych lat?")
  • A Czech-language version of the song ("Řekni, kde ty kytky jsou") was also created and recorded by several popular artists, such as Judita Čeřovská, Marie Rottrová [cz], or Marta Kubišová. Čeřovská's version was one of the OST songs of Czech film Rebelové.
  • Croatian folk band Zlatni Dukati performed a version of the song entitled "Iznad polja makova" ("Above the fields of poppy") during the Croatian War of Independence.
  • A piano version of the song by Scottish pop singer and songwriter Jimmy Somerville appears 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."
  • Erzsi Kovács, Hungarian pop singer recorded a version in Hungarian
  • 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.
  • Irish folk band The Fureys recorded it for their album 'The Times They Are a Changing'
  • 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 voice of Pete Seeger is heard in the recording along with that of his half-sister Peggy Seeger.
  • The Hi-Marks, a popular 1970s group in New Zealand, recorded a version on their first album Showtime Spectacular.
  • Serbian actor Dragan Maksimović performed a part of this song in the movie Mi nismo anđeli ("We are not Angels") recorded in 1992 in Yugoslavia.
  • Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias included a version on their 1978 album Skite.
  • Adhunik Bengali singer Anjan Dutt covered the song in his 2001 album Rawng Pencil.
  • Kabir Suman translated the song to Bengali (Kothaye Gelo Tara). Suman and Seeger performed the English and Bengali versions one after the other twice during Suman and Seeger's Tour of Kolkata in 1996.
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Pierre Lapointe recorded the German version (Sag mir wo die Blumen sind) for his 2022 album L'heure mauve.
  • Russian actress and director Renata Litvinova performed a recitative on Russian (Когда же Вы наконец поймёте?) over Marlene Dietrich's singing as a background which can be an act against the Russian invasion of Ukraine (2022).[23]
Version Title Artist
Basque Loreak non dira? Lou Topet, Harkaitz Cano
Belarusian Дзе кветкі ўсе? Bar Akaryna
Bengali কোথায় গেল তারা? (Kothay Gelo Tara) Kabir Suman
Catalan Què se n'ha fet d'aquelles flors? Roslyn Smith, La Marta (Club Super3)
Chinese 花兒怎麼不見了? Poon Sow Keng (潘秀瓊)
Croatian Kamo je cvijeće otišlo? Monia Verardi
Czech Řekni, kde ty kytky jsou Judita Čeřovská, Marie Rottrová, Marta Kubišová
Danish Where Have All the Flowers Gone Savage Rose
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, Johnny Rivers, many others
Esperanto Ĉiuj floroj estas for Duo Espera
Estonian Kuhu küll kõik lilled jäid Heli Lääts
Finnish Minne kukat kadonneet Kukonpojat
French Qui peut dire où vont les fleurs? Eva [de], Marlene Dietrich, Francis Lemarque, Dalida
German Sag mir, wo die Blumen sind
Sagt mir, wo die Blumen sind (Joan Baez)
Marlene Dietrich, Hannes Wader, Juliane Werding, Nana Mouskouri, Joan Baez, Lolita, Hildegard Knef, Einstürzende Neubauten
Hebrew איפה הפרחים כולם (eifo haprachim kulam) שלישיית גשר הירקון (Yarkon Bridge Trio)
Hungarian Hova tűnt a sok virág? Mária Mezei, Péter Gerendás, Erzsi Kovács, Éva Csepregi
Icelandic Hvert er farið blómið blátt? Elly Vilhjálms & Ragnar Bjarnason
Irish Cá bhfuil siad uainn, scoth na mbláth? Feargal Ó Béarra
Italian Dove andranno i nostri fiori? Patty Pravo
Japanese Hana wa doko e itta? 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 Где цветы, дай мне ответ? (Gde cvety, day mne otvet?) Oleg Nesterov, Masha Makarova
Russian Ты скажи мне, где цветы (Ty skazhi mne, gde tsvety) Zhanna Bichevskaya
Slovenian Kam so šle vse rožice Tomaž Domicelj
Spanish ¿Dónde están las flores? Rolando Alarcón, Bárbara y Dick [es], Los Holiday's, Jorge Hernan
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? 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[24]
Year recorded Title Genre Label Year inducted
1964 "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Folk (single) Columbia 2002

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ""Where have all the Flowers gone," connecting Ukraine and Ireland, a chat with Pete Seeger". YouTube.
  2. ^ Seeger, Pete. "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". Sing Out!. 11 (5).
  3. ^ Hickerson, Joe (2009–2010). "The Songfinder". Sing Out!. 53 (2): 76.
  4. ^ Jones, Chris (February 11, 2014). "'Where have all the flowers gone?' and the ubi sunt motif". University of St Andrews. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Smith, Ian K (March 25, 2010). "Top 20 Political Songs: Where Have All the Flowers Gone". New Statesman. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  6. ^ "Oberlin Alumni Magazine – Summer 2014". 2.oberlin.edu. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  7. ^ Notes from: Where Have All the Flowers Gone – The Songs of Pete Seeger
  8. ^ a b c d 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 October 20, 2009.
  9. ^ "Pete Seeger Interview – Pando Populus". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Pete Seeger – Little Boxes / Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  12. ^ The Bitter and the Sweet – Pete Seeger | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 2020-07-25
  13. ^ "Original versions of Where Have All the Flowers Gone by Savage Rose". Secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  14. ^ "The Kingston Trio time line. The single was released on December 18, 1961 by the group 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)". Lazyka.com. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  15. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 18 – Blowin' in the Wind: Pop discovers folk music. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries. Track 5.
  16. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 137.
  17. ^ "Marlene Dietrich, Actor / Singer". Answers.com. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  18. ^ "Marlene Dietrich – Sag mir wo die Blumen sind". Offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 21 Aug 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Inga blommor finns det mer, blog post by Enn Kokk, without date, read January 20, 2014.
  21. ^ "Instrumentally Yours – Grady Martin | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Chris de Burgh –". chris-de-burgh.co.uk. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  23. ^ "Когда же Вы наконец поймёте?/ When will you ever learn? (2022)". YouTube.com. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  24. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame Database. Grammy.org