Sing Out! Founder Irwin Silber Dies at 84

Irwin Silber 1925-2010
Irwin Silber, the long-time editor of renowned folk music magazine Sing Out! (from 1950-1977), passed away September 8th at 2:30 pm Pacific Time in in Oakland, California, of complications related with of Alzheimer’s disease.

Silber was one of the leading figures in the Folk Music Revival the 1950s and 1960s. In 1950, Irwin Silber, Pete Seeger and other friends founded Sing Out magazine, which became one of the most influential American roots music magazines.

I didn’t know Irwin well, having come to Sing Out! almost 15 years after he had moved on, but was a big fan of his work for the first 17 years of the magazine, as well as his work as Executive Secretary of People’s Songs from the late 1940s, and his work with Oak Publications during the boom years,” said Mark D. Moss, current editor of Sing Out! “It was an honor to have worked with him several times through my editorship and to have shared kudos with him and other Sing Out! editors when Folk Alliance honored Sing Out! with a lifetime achievement award early this decade. Irwin’s “Folksingers Wordbook” was something of an inspiration for “Rise Up Singing,” and his “Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People” remains one of the essential guides to the music that rose out of the great depression … there’s no question that his impact on the history of our music is immeasurable.”

Irwin Silber founded the Paredon record label in 1970. Paredon recorded protest songs from liberation movements throughout the world. In addition, Silber published folk-song collections, including “Songs of the Civil War” (1960), “The Great Atlantic and Pacific Song Book” (1965), “Songs of the Great American West” (1967) and, with Fred Silber, “Folksinger’s Wordbook.”

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