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Father of the US protest movement, (formerly Hillstrom, a Swedish immigrant to the US), who became a political activist after about 1910 having been in contact with ‘the underbelly of the labour market’, where the poor worked for a pittance. To buttress the Independent Workers of the World Movement he wrote songs repeated over and over and learned by heart, as many workers couldn’t read campaign literature.
The Expression ‘Pie in the Sky’ became absorbed into the language, after his song about food poverty: ‘you’ll get it when you die, pie in the sky’. He was executed by firing squad in 1915 by the State of Utah on what many thought was a trumped-up murder charge.
One of the former incarnations of The Band, Bob Dylan’s backing outfit in the mid ‘60s. They are interesting because they had worked from a rock ‘n’ roll and R&B background, and they collaborated with Dylan, who had become something of a colossus on the music scene. He had them playing electric adaptations of folk music, basically.
What it did, quite unintentionally, and being managed by Al Grossman too, was to enable The Band to evolve their own unique often raw sound that absorbed past and current atmospheres to make them big in their own right, with The Weight (1968) becoming a major hitsingle with some acclaimed albums too.