Anne Feeney has died aged 69 (PIcture: AP)
Influential US folk singer and activist Anne Feeney has died from Covid-19 complications aged 69.
Feeney’s daughter confirmed the news on Wednesday in a Facebook post, as Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine paid tribute to the singer, who was known for her song Have You Been to Jail for Justice.
Her daughter, Amy Sue Berlin, wrote: ‘It is with a very heavy heart that we must announce the passing of our courageous, brilliant, beautiful mother, Anne Feeney.
‘We were very lucky that she fought hard enough to open up her eyes, and give us a couple days to be with her before she finally decided it was time to let go.’
Feeney released 12 albums over her career and regularly collaborated with Pete Seeger, John Prine (who died from coronavirus in 2020) and Peter, Paul and Mary, who recorded her song, Have You Been To Jail for Justice.
The Pennsylvania-born singer’s iconic music was often sung on the picket line and became an anthem for activism.
After Feeney, an avid activist for workers and women’s rights, gave her first performance at a rally against the Vietnam war in 1969, her activism culminated in the release of her debut album Look to the Left in 1992 after she left her job as an attorney in the 80s.
She would go on to play more than 4,000 shows across North America and Europe and was arrested in 1972 at the Republican National Convention as she objected to Richard Nixon’s second nomination for president.
Throughout her career, she shared the stage with the likes of Loretta Lynn, Toshi Reagon, The Mammals, Dan Bern, Indigo Girls and Billy Bragg.
Feeney raised tens of thousands of dollars for strike funds and causes through her tours, while also serving as the first female president of a musicians’ union in the United States.
Tributes for Feeney came in as Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary said in a statement: ‘Anne Feeney was a deeply committed songwriter/activist in the grand tradition of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.
‘She was joyous and fiery in her determination to use her music to elevate those who are most marginalized and to move towards greater justice in the land.
‘For Annie, it was a way of life. Her song Have You Been to Jail for Justice, that our trio recorded, was an anthem for all of us who joined with Annie in “the good fight”.’
Killing In The Name Of musician Morello wrote: ‘The great folk musician Anne Feeney was a fearless and formidable force for justice and workers’ rights onstage, in the studio, and on the picket line.
‘Through her art and through her example our I.W.W. comrade will continue to be a beacon of hope and solidarity for future generations.’
Feeney married Ron Berlin in 1977, and shares daughter Amy and son Dan with him. After their divorce in 1995, she later married Swedish artist Julie Leonardsson in 2002.