Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"
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 folk song written by American singer-songwriter Pete Seeger in 1955. Inspired lyrically by the traditional Cossack folk song "Koloda-Duda", Seeger borrowed an Irish melody for the music,[1] and published the first three verses 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" (Ukrainian: Колода-дуда), 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 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]

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]
  • The Landsmen released the song in 1961 as a 45 rpm single on Arvee.[17]
  • Peter, Paul and Mary included the song on their eponymous debut album (which spent five weeks as the No. 1 album in the United States) 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 publicly using the German language in Israel since WWII.[8][18] Her version peaked No. 20 in German charts.[19]
  • Dalida (1933−1987), an Italian-French singer, also recorded the song in French as "Que sont devenues les fleurs?", adapted by Guy Béart in 1962 (Les Années Barclay, vol. 5, 1962).
  • The Folkswingers recorded an instrumental version of the song for their second album 12 String Guitar! Vol. 2 (1963).
  • 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 (1937−2002) 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 in June 1963.
  • The Springfields featuring Dusty Springfield released a version in German in 1963.
  • Bobby Darin (1936−1973) recorded the song on the Golden Folk Hits album on Capitol, 2007, which was released in November 1963.
  • 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.
  • Erzsi Kovács (1928−2014), a Hungarian pop singer, recorded a version in Hungarian in 1964.[20]
  • Heli Lääts (1932−2018), an Estonian concert singer, recorded a version in Estonian in 1964, with the title "Kuhu küll kõik lilled jäid?"[21]
  • Vera Lynn (1917−2020) 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[22] with Swedish lyrics Inga blommor finns det mer, translated in 1962[23] by Beppe Wolgers.







  • Danish-German songwriter and entrepreneur 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" (2012).[28]
  • Lara Veronin, a Russian-Taiwanese-American singer, recorded a version for the 2012 Taiwanese drama Alice in Wonder City.
  • German Avant-garde group Einstürzende Neubauten recorded a German version of the song for their 2014 album Lament.
  • 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.


  • 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).[29]
  • Greek singer-songwriter Vasiliki Nika recorded the Greek version (Τα λουλούδια χάθηκαν). The video directed by Alexandros N. V. refers to the Kalavryta massacre.[30]
  • Belarusian singer-songwriter and artist Lavon Volski recorded the version in Belarusian "Dzie kvietki?" ("Дзе Кветкі?") in 2022. The video directed by Ihar Nazaranka contains on drawnings made by Lavon Volski himself.[31]

Foreign-language titles[edit]

Version Title Artist
Basque Loreak non dira? Lou Topet, Harkaitz Cano
Belarusian Дзе кветкі ўсе? Bar Akaryna
Belarusian Дзе кветкі? (Dzie kvietki?) Lavon Volski
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, 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
Greece Τα λουλούδια χάθηκαν
The flowers were lost
Βασιλική Νίκα (Vasiliki Nika)
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, 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[32]
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. ^ 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. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. 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. ^ The Landsmen (1961). "In Concert at Pepperdine College 1961". Spotify. Los Angeles, California. Retrieved 2022-12-06.
  18. ^ "Marlene Dietrich, Actor / Singer". Answers.com. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  19. ^ "Marlene Dietrich – Sag mir wo die Blumen sind". Offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 21 Aug 2021.
  20. ^ Kovács, Erzsi (1964). "Hová Tűnt A Sok Virág? / Ki Emlékszik Rá". Discogs (music database). Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  21. ^ "Kontsertpalad - ERR-KP-0188 Laulab Heli Lääts. Kuhu küll kõik lilled jäid: 191". ERR Arhiiv. Eesti Rahvusringhääling. 1964. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Inga blommor finns det mer, blog post by Enn Kokk, without date, read January 20, 2014.
  24. ^ "Instrumentally Yours – Grady Martin". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  25. ^ "The Connnoisseur's Orbison". Discogs (music database). 1970.
  26. ^ "Showtime Spectacular With The Hi-Marks". Discogs (music database). 1979. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  27. ^ "Chris de Burgh". chris-de-burgh.co.uk. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  28. ^ Kuhn, Björn-Lars (2012-08-31). "Musik zur Energiewende: Kirsten Hasberg bringt das Thema musikalisch unters Volk" [Music for Change in Energy: Kirsten Hasberg Musically Brings the Topic to the People] (in German). Archived from the original (The site uses spam protection and may block the display of the page) on 2021-07-27. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  29. ^ "Когда же Вы наконец поймёте?/ When will you ever learn? (2022)". YouTube.com. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Τα λουλούδια χάθηκαν/ Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (2022)". YouTube.com. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  31. ^ "Lavon Volski - Dzie kvietki". YouTube.com. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  32. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame Database Archived 2011-02-19 at the Wayback Machine. Grammy.org