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Peace Will Come

Tom Paxton was born in Chicago in1937. After a six months stint in the US Army reserves, when he started to write songs using his army typewriter, he became a regular in New York’s Greenwich Village music scene in the early 60s. His music career has spanned 55 years and a huge range of artists including Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Pete Seeger have recorded his songs.

Seeger said about his friend: ‘Tom’s songs have a way of sneaking up on you. You find yourself humming them, whistling them, and singing a verse to a friend. Like the songs of Woody Guthrie, they’re becoming part of America.’
When Seeger died early last year, Paxton sang and dedicated one of his early songs, Peace Will Come, to the memory of his friend, and folk singer and peace activist, Pete Seeger.

Peace Will Come

Peace will
Peace will come
And let it begin with me
We need
We need peace
And let it begin with me
Oh, my own life is all I can hope to control.
Oh, let my life be lived for the good,
Good of my soul.
Let it bring peace
Sweet peace
Peace will come
And let it begin with me

Paxton said the song was: ‘Written while on tour with Mary Hopkin in Australia/New Zealand in the 70s. … I had been noodling the guitar riff for a few weeks when suddenly, in the cab ride from the airport to the hotel in Dunedin, N.Z., I wrote out the lyric. When we reached the hotel and I was able to get out the guitar I realized that the riff was not to be the tune, but the accompaniment, so I wrote another tune to carry the lyric – and it worked. [Notes ‘The Very Best of Tom Paxton’]

One of the Tom Paxton songs that Pete Seeger regularly sang was What Did You Learn in School Today, which mocks the way school children are often told lies, or selected versions of events – especially about wars and conflicts. This version was recorded in black and white, because Seeger was singing the song in 1964 – yet the content could easily relate to the present-day.

Veterans For Peace UK have a number of veterans who are able to visit schools and universities. The focus of the visits is to give an insight into military life and the true nature of warfare. We are able to give workshops, assemblies and presentations to pupils, students, teachers and parents. We are in the process of expanding this program to enable more veterans to visit more schools. For more information and to book a visit email veteransforpeaceuk@gmail.com