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Where Have All the Flowers Gone

DigiTrad:
SAGT MIR WO DIE BLUMEN SIND (Where have all the flowers gone?)
WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE


Related threads:
Tune Req: where have all the flowers gone (4)
Origins: 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone?' (59)
Dietrich sings Seeger-Sagt Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind (10)
Where Have All the Flowers Gone-on Seeger tribute (23)
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (10)
(origins) Who wrote Where have all the flowers gone? (20)


JedMarum 27 Aug 99 - 11:48 AM
Wolfgang 27 Aug 99 - 11:58 AM
Peter T. 27 Aug 99 - 12:00 PM
JedMarum 27 Aug 99 - 12:11 PM
Daviebabe@AOL.com 27 Aug 99 - 12:12 PM
JedMarum 27 Aug 99 - 12:22 PM
annamill 27 Aug 99 - 12:36 PM
Cara 27 Aug 99 - 12:37 PM
katlaughing 27 Aug 99 - 12:46 PM
Daviebabe@AOL.com 27 Aug 99 - 12:56 PM
Jerry Friedman 27 Aug 99 - 12:57 PM
LaurJ 27 Aug 99 - 01:35 PM
JedMarum 27 Aug 99 - 02:05 PM
Wolfgang 27 Aug 99 - 03:11 PM
Charlie Baum 27 Aug 99 - 03:16 PM
Peter T. 27 Aug 99 - 04:48 PM
Charlie Baum 27 Aug 99 - 04:57 PM
Frank Hamilton 27 Aug 99 - 05:20 PM
Peter T. 27 Aug 99 - 05:46 PM
Wolfgang 01 Sep 99 - 10:21 AM
annamill 01 Sep 99 - 01:02 PM
kendall morse (don't use) 01 Sep 99 - 02:46 PM
KathWestra 01 Sep 99 - 04:28 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 01 Sep 99 - 04:59 PM
Peter T. 02 Sep 99 - 05:09 PM
Steve M. 03 Sep 99 - 11:45 AM
The Shambles 11 Nov 01 - 01:38 PM
Joe_F 11 Nov 01 - 06:40 PM
GUEST 06 Aug 03 - 12:14 PM
Gulliver 07 Jul 08 - 06:56 PM
Susanne (skw) 08 Jul 08 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,MBush 10 Dec 08 - 03:25 AM
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Subject: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 11:48 AM

Just a brief tangent off another thread, if you will allow, regarding Pete Seeger's Where have all the Flowers Gone? ...

I have always loved this melody, and enjoyed hearing many versions of the song over the years. It lends itself beautifully to a finger picked guitar - try playing it with key of D based chords, fingering the bass lines with your index, fourth and thumb, while holding the chords in place - Very pretty accompaniment!

But I must admit I used to have one objection to Pete's original words ... and maybe it was simply an over reaction to my aversion to the "Saturday Night Live" attitude that bases its humor on the attitude "I'm OK, it's everyone else that screwed up!" ... and by the way, I don't think that was ever Pete's attitude in the song.

I found that simply saying "When will we ever learn?" as opposed to "When will they ever learn?" made all the difference. I suspect Mr Seeger would have been OK with my subtle change, but I never had the chance to ask him!


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Wolfgang
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 11:58 AM

A German translation has kind of used your idea, Liam. It has "they" in all verses but the last one, where it is replaced by "we". I also like to see/hear the "we" at least once in that song.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:00 PM

I am going to get into even bigger trouble -- I have never understood why this is such an antiwar song. It can only be because images of girls and flowers fog up the mind before the song gets rolling. The original folk tradition out of which this song comes is about the great unchanging cycle of life, and the way the song works it seems as if soldiering is just part of the natural cycle of things -- men go and soldier, they die, and the flowers come again. So? "When will they (or we) ever learn?" What? That things go in cycles? That wars are never justified? That things are long time passing? That flowers, and girls, and wars, are all passing, so what does anything matter? Why not go and fight? People fight, other people write protest songs, people die, flowers come up, girls go to folk festivals, and the cycle goes on. Never made any sense to me.
yours, Peter T. (RUNNING FOR COVER!!!)


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:11 PM

Peter T -

No need to run for cover. I agree that the song's sentiment seems portrays the cyclical nature of life, and to scorn the ways 'we' humans expend our beauty and youth foolishly, at times, on things like war.

I also agree with you; wars do happen, and sometimes must happen ... but their human cost is always dear ... and this song laments that human cost.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Daviebabe@AOL.com
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:12 PM

You say "we" as a people.... mankind.

Of course, when it was written, wasn't the they the older, adult, in charge, establishment; I could still say they referring to the deciscion makers.

I have seen Peter, Paul and Mary do the song, and after they had done it on their original albums, they started to ad something that I don't care for at at:

"Oh" when will they ever learn

Listen, can you save me a lot of time? I am simply looking for lyrics to lots of popular sing-a-long songs, everywhere from "Where have all the flowers gone" to "whaddya do with a drunken sailor", "Charlie on the MTA", etc. Can you help direct me? I though that the I found the site and thought this was it, but guess not.

enjoyed your comments.

best

Dave


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:22 PM

daviebabe - your comments on we vs they are exactly my point, and the reason I prefer we; to me this song makes a comment on human nature, not on my parents!

Sing along songs??? There may be cleverer ways to do this, but you may do what I did, write down a list of every sing along song you can think of and search the list - cut and paste them into your word.docs and you'll build a huge library very quickly. By the way, you'll also find more song you'd fogotten you knew, if you just browse each of the listing by letter ... admittedly, this approach demands a lot of your time ... but it is fun!


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: annamill
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:36 PM

Daviebabe, Are you aware of the Digital Tradition database we have here at Mudcat? I'm not being sarcastic. I didn't realize the extent of our database when I first got here either. I think the lyrics and chords and even the tune can be gotten for all those songs you mentioned right in the DT. Use the thing at the top called the DigiTrade. Hitting the help key should get you through it.

If I misunderstand, I'm sorry.

Love, annap


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Cara
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:37 PM

Dave,

This is it. What you need to do is go up to the top of these pages and type in info about the songs you're seeking in the Digitrad box. For example, if you're looking for "What would you do with a drunken sailor" then you would type [drunken sailor] and all of the songs containing that phrase would be displayed. There are also categories, such as @irish, @drinking, @child, etc. that will give you a list of songs of a certain genre.

I don't know how time saving this will be, because I know that for myself I get distracted when I'm looking for something and spend ages looking at songs that are totally unrelated to my search.

If you're not sure what titles you're looking for, come back to the Forum and post a thread with some more specific info as to what you want to find. We'll be glad to make suggestions and help you out. Or just come back and look around the threads some more. Some of us did that once and never left our computers again...not that that's necessarily a bad thing I guess...Fair warning: Mudcatting is addictive. Good luck and welcome to the Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:46 PM

Also, if you are looking for any popular songs from all decades of this century that might not be in the DT, you could check at Lyrics World

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Daviebabe@AOL.com
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:56 PM

You say "we" as a people.... mankind.

Of course, when it was written, wasn't the they the older, adult, in charge, establishment; I could still say they referring to the deciscion makers.

I have seen Peter, Paul and Mary do the song, and after they had done it on their original albums, they started to ad something that I don't care for at at:

"Oh" when will they ever learn

Listen, can you save me a lot of time? I am simply looking for lyrics to lots of popular sing-a-long songs, everywhere from "Where have all the flowers gone" to "whaddya do with a drunken sailor", "Charlie on the MTA", etc. Can you help direct me? I though that the I found the site and thought this was it, but guess not.

enjoyed your comments.

best

Dave


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 12:57 PM

Peter, I think the main anti-war point is that if young men go to war they get killed "every one" (a bit of an exaggeration). When will they ever learn not to go? Although as you say the cyclic-ness (cyclicity?) is independent of the anti-war message, it underlines the message by reminding us of how often this has happened.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: LaurJ
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 01:35 PM

Also, during the 60's the "women's movement" was growing. One interpretation is that the girls & women are left alone, without boys and men. When will "they" ever learn can also be taken as a sexist comment to the violent solutions of male-based establishment - especially when sung by women such as Joan Baez. The they points a finger or possibly blames.

I personally like the we, especially in the last verse. It is so easy to blame others. To change this in the last verse says to everyone, singler included, that we (be we human or other living organizism) are on this planet together. Yes, we go through cycles: some are immutable, but others can be changed.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 02:05 PM

LaurJ -

I love your comments re: "It is so easy to blame others" hence the use of 'we' vs. 'they' - in my mind, saying 'we' and accepting ownership for the human failings described in the song, also gives hope for partcipating in their resolve.

Saying 'we' as opposed to 'they' strengthens the message of the song.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Wolfgang
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 03:11 PM

In the other thread („Pete Seeger on CNN") in Kat's post Seeger says:
„Once I had an idea for a line: "Long time passing." Later in the year I'm reading a book describing the Cossack soldiers galloping off to join the Czar's
army, like 150 years ago, singing, "Where are the flowers? The girls have plucked them. Where are the girls? They're all married. Where are the men? They're all in
the army." Within 20 minutes, I had a song."

This motif is well known in the East European folklore. Here's a German translation (with my English translation) of an old song from one of the Baltic countries. Read it and you'll see that it's a quite old precursor of Seeger's fairly new song. It has a great melody too. You'll find it where I copied this song from: http://ingeb.org/Lieder/zogenein.html.



ZOGEN EINST FÜNF WILDE SCHWÄNE



1. |: Zogen einst fünf wilde Schwäne,
Schwäne leuchtend weiß und schön. :|
"Sing, sing, was geschah?"
Keiner ward mehr gesehn.
"Ja, sing, sing, was geschah?"
Keiner ward mehr gesehn.

(There once flew five wild swans,
swans white and beautiful.
Sing of what happened then:
None of them was seen anymore)

2. |: Wuchsen einst fünf junge Birkchen
Grün und frisch an Bachesrand. - :|
"Sing, sing, was geschah!" -
Keins in Blüten stand. -
"Ja, sing, sing, was geschah? "
Keins in Blüten stand.

(There once grew five young birch trees,
green and fresh at the banks of a stream.
Sing of what happened then:
None of them came into bloom.)

3. |: Zogen einst fünf junge Burschen
Stolz und kühn zum Kampf hinaus. - :|
"Sing, sing, was geschah? " -
Keiner kehrt nach Haus. -
"Ja, sing, sing, was geschah? "
Keiner kehrt nach Haus.

(There once marched five young lads
proudly and boldly into the fight.
Sing of what happened then:
None of them returned home.)

4. |: Wuchsen einst fünf junge Mädchen
Schlank und schön am Memelstrand. - :|
"Sing, sing, was geschah?" -
Keins den Brautkranz wand. -
"Ja, sing, sing, was geschah? "
Keins den Brautkranz wand.

(There once grew five young girls,
slender and beautiful at the banks of the river Memel.
Sing of what happened then:
None of them wore the wedding dress.
[bad translation, but I don't know what 'Brautkranz' is and whether this custom is known in the Anglo... etc. Culture])

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 03:16 PM

Actually, Pete's original song carries the flowers to young girls to young men to graveyards. End of song. That much has antiwar implications. It was Joe Hickerson who added the verses to complete the cycle, which, I just realized, possibly diminishes the antiwar impact of the song. But the completion of the cycle isn't in Pete's original.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 04:48 PM

Actually, Wolfgang, your song is really haunting, probably because of the influence of the "riddle" motif. I would love to hear what it sounds like -- any versions you know?
I am not sure that your story, Charlie, if it is true, solves much of the problem. The song seems to imply that if you don't go soldiering, you won't end up in a graveyard, out of which flowers won't grow and girls won't come and pluck them. This bulletin just in: Not true!!! Non-soldiers end up in graveyards! The "When will they ever learn?" or we, whatever, is still locked into this sort of God's eye view of human life, which gives it a kind of sentimental shrug....humankind will never learn, oh, they should, but....It is not exactly a call to action. I have always liked the song, but when I start to think about it, it makes me feel like a self-indulgent antiwar sentimentalist. Which I am anyway, but I don't need reinforcement!!!
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 04:57 PM

Peter--

Of course non-soldiers end up in graveyards. It's just that in time of war, soldiers tend to end up in graveyards at early ages, ages when they ought to be courting young girls with flowers.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 05:20 PM

Pete got the idea for the song from the reading of Russian Novelist, Mihail Sholokov, "Quiet Flows the Don"(spelling? A river). The last chapter has the motif of the song. I think the word "they" turns up there but someone can research that easilly.

I think Pete sings "we" now.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Aug 99 - 05:46 PM

Couldn't agree more Charlie -- its not anywhere in the song though!
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Wolfgang
Date: 01 Sep 99 - 10:21 AM

Peter, follow the link in my post and you can hear the basic tune. The song has been recorded by many German groups, surely by Hannes Wader.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: annamill
Date: 01 Sep 99 - 01:02 PM

Hello my friends,

I'm sorry to have to accuse you all of over-analyzing this song. I remember the feelings it brought and brings to me, and the tears it brought and brings to my eyes. Not an anti-war song?? Thousands of our beautiful young men went to graveyards everyone. "When will they ever learn" with a kind of sentimental shrug. No Peter, that is a sad, sad pain. Only the kind that can be shown when there is no hope.

I only personally knew a couple of beautiful men who died, and I only knew a couple of people who lost brothers, or sons to that war. This song made each and every one of the soldiers that died personal to me.

I cannot hear the phrase "Where have all the flowers gone" without tears rising up. Even now.

Love, annap


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: kendall morse (don't use)
Date: 01 Sep 99 - 02:46 PM

the stupidity of war (the ultimate failure) is enough to make anyone well up.. except maybe the people who make bullets.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: KathWestra
Date: 01 Sep 99 - 04:28 PM

Peter T. -- and all you other 'Catters who want to learn some Ancient Folk History. Yup, Charlie's story is true. I was married to Joe Hickerson for many years, and he has been fond of telling the story of how the cyclical "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" came to be.

Chapter 1: Joe learned the abbreviated song from Pete Seeger when Pete came to Oberlin College to do a concert in 1954 (or maybe '55). The verses Pete sang were written by Pete, who adapted them from a Russian poem that was printed as the epigraph in a book called "And Quiet Flows the Don."

Chapter 2: Joe then went to be a folk-music counselor at Camp Woodland in the NY Catskills the summer after learning the song. He sang "Flowers" to the kids, who loved it. To make the song last longer, he added verses to complete the circle.

Chapter 3: Pete Seeger came to Camp Woodland that summer, heard the kids singing his song -- with new verses by Joe -- and loved it. He re-copyrighted the song with Joe as co-author.

Chapter 4: The Kingston Trio was the first big pop group to record the longer version of "Flowers." PP&M came a little later, and hordes of other recordings.

The tune (particularly its rhythm)that Joe still sings (which he says is how Pete sang it in 19-ought-54) is a little different than the one popularized by the Kingston Trio and PP&M. If you go to one of Joe's concerts, get him to sing it for you. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 01 Sep 99 - 04:59 PM

Where have all the Flowers Gone
Charley on the MTA
Drunken Sailor

Those are the titles you need to use to search the database. Go to the top of the main page and you will find them, Dave


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Peter T.
Date: 02 Sep 99 - 05:09 PM

Thanks all! guilty on all charges, but it is an interesting discussion.....
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Steve M.
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 11:45 AM

Didn't know there could be this much discussion on "Flowers" Still love the song but it was one of many at the time. How about "Morning Dew" or the "Civil War Trilogy" ?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 01:38 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 06:40 PM

In Pete Seeger's original version, as I recall it, the last line was "Oh, when will *you* ever learn?" until the last stanza, which ran

Where have all the young men gone?
They're all in uniform.
Oh, when will we ever learn?

The tune was different for the second line from what it was in the other stanzas -- just a downward scale starting on mi. It comes across (to me) as an agonized exclamation.

The song as I understand it is a stylized dialog between child and adult. The changes in the last stanza drive home the point: grownups can be orders of magnitude more foolish than children.

The point of Hickerson's version, if any, is: life is one damn thing after another. That, also, is an important truth, but in a song I would prefer to have Seeger's.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 12:14 PM

And just in case anyone is inrerested or can play the guitar - here is the chords...... It is one of the few songs that actually sounds better in german than in english - and I am english (although a resident of berlin)

Hope this helps someone play it......

E                   C#m             A          B7
1.6. Where have all the flowers    gone long time passin'?
2.                     young girls
3.                     young men
4.                     soldiers
5.                     graveyards

    E                   C#m                A               B7
1.6. Where have all the flowers    gone a long long time ago?
2.                   young girls
3.                   young men
4.                   soldiers
5.                   graveyards

    E                   C#m                A                      B7
1.6. Where have all the flowers    gone? Young girls pick them, every one
2.                   young girls       Takin' husbands
3.                   young men          Gone to soldiers
4.                   soldiers          Gone to graveyards
5.                   graveyards         Gone to flowers

A               F#m         A               B7   E
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

Smiles

Joe

joe_amsterdam@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Gulliver
Date: 07 Jul 08 - 06:56 PM

Has anyone ever done an English version of Es zogen einst fünf wilde Schwäne? It's a lovely song, a great version was by Hannes Vader, and is found on YouTube, at, among other places, here.

Don


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 04:51 PM

Hi Don, of course Where Have All ... is not an English version, but it seems fairly likely that both songs can be traced back to the same cossack song (mentioned by Sholokhov in 'Queit Flows the Don'). Wilde Schwäne is one of my favourite songs, and one of the few I can remember all the lyrics of (more or less ...).


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Subject: RE: Where Have All the Flowers Gone
From: GUEST,MBush
Date: 10 Dec 08 - 03:25 AM

Where Have All the Flowers Gone is a melancholy song that reveals to its listeners, the dark truth behind wars. I've listened to it many times tonight and am captured by Pete Seeger's words. The words are so simple, yet so meaningful and strong.

Everything is hidden and then found. The flowers are gone because of the flowers, the young girls gone because of their husbands, the young men are gone because of the war, the soldiers in the war are gone because they are in the graveyards, and the graveyards are gone because of the flowers covering them.

This is one of the most heartfelt songs I've heard in a while.

Wahoo, Lee!!!!


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