The legendary troubadour, pacifist, folk icon and composer has died at 94. He left a huge imprint on American music; is there anyone living in America today who hasn’t heard “We Shall Overcome” or “Turn, Turn, Turn”? Read more of his life and work here.
Of religion, he once said to an interviewer:
I feel most spiritual when I’m out in the woods. I feel part of nature. Or looking up at the stars. [I used to say] I was an atheist. Now I say, it’s all according to your definition of God. According to my definition of God, I’m not an atheist. Because I think God is everything. Whenever I open my eyes I’m looking at God. Whenever I’m listening to something I’m listening to GodI’ve had preachers of the gospel, Presbyterians and Methodists, saying, “Pete, I feel that you are a very spiritual person.” And maybe I am. I feel strongly that I’m trying to raise people’s spirits to get together.
Do you think creativity is spiritual?
I’m sure some people would call it that. And if there is anything such as spiritual, maybe that is it. Arlo Guthrie thinks there’s a stream of songs flowing past you all the time, and you just have to know when to stick out your hand and get one. Then he adds, “I’m lucky that I don’t live downstream from Bob Dylan.
Crank up the volume and watch this poignant performance from 20 years ago when, at the tender age of 74, he sang this bittersweet anthem to love and loss—and you could see he’d lived every word.