Where Have All The Flowers Gone? A Universal Song

My wife is currently reading a book called “Gone To Soldiers” by Marge Piercy, and I found myself gazing at the cover yesterday and wondered why it sounded so familiar to me.

And then it dawned on me why…  it was because of the “folk” song by Pete Seeger that was so popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s of the last century, “Where have all the flowers gone”.

So I sat there, racking my brain trying to remember whose version of it I had loved all those years ago,   Was it the version by Joan Baez?  Or the Peter, Paul and Mary version?   Or whose?

Simply couldn’t remember, so off I shot to my favourite music reference library, Youtube, and was astounded to see how many people from so many countries had recorded this song.  I then went to Wikipedia to see what it had to say about the song.  And it confirmed what I had seen on Youtube, this is a truly international song, as you will see on the list of recordings of this song I shall put lower down in this post.

But first, lets hear the original version by the guy who wrote it, and go from there.

Apparently the words were actually from an Ukrainian Cossack song called  “Koloda-Duda”, which had the phrase “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.”

Here is a rather touching version of that song…..  Though you would probably do best to only watch the first part of this video, as it goes on at some length in Russian and Japanese….  Unless of course you happen to speak one of those languages.

Anyhow, this song became a more or less instant success, and has gone on since its inception in 1955 to become probably the most famous protest song ever…

However, as I said above, this song has now been sung in just about all the more or less mainstream languages, ranging from English, through German,Danish, Dutch, Japanese, Basque, Catalan, Estonian, Hebrew and loads more….    So I thought it might be fun to have a listen to this famous and significant song in some of those versions, so to kick things off, here it is in Hebrew.

I have no idea what these good folk are actually doing, but nonetheless, our song is what they are doing it to.

And now, we have it in Basque….

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