- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

Joe Glazer, a singer-songwriter who rallied union loyalists and sympathizers, died Sept. 19 at his home in Chevy Chase of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 88.

Mr. Glazer, often called Labor’s Troubadour, sang songs of solidarity on picket lines and union halls in almost every state. He also performed for many liberal politicians; in 1980, President Carter invited him to play at the White House.

He recorded more than 30 albums, wrote a book about labor music, recorded songs of others and helped recruit a new generation of protest singers.

Mr. Glazer wrote his best-known song, “The Mill Was Made of Marble,” in 1947. It tells of a millworker’s dream of a happy heaven where “nobody ever got tired and nobody ever grew old.”

Mr. Glazer, who called himself “an agitator for all good causes,” joined the textile workers as an assistant education director and seized upon his boss’ suggestion to use a guitar to rally workers. He moved on to the rubber workers union in Akron, Ohio, where he was education director.

In 1950, Mr. Glazer and the Elm City Four recorded a version of the anthem of the civil rights movement, “We Shall Overcome.” His version of the song began “I Will Overcome,” his wife, Mildred Glazer, said.

Mr. Glazer joined the Kennedy administration in 1961 as a labor information officer for the United States Information Agency, partly because he admired its director, Edward R. Murrow.

Besides explaining America’s current events to foreigners, Mr. Glazer was sent overseas regularly to sing protest songs.

Mr. Glazer resigned from the agency after President Reagan was inaugurated and soon began composing songs, such as “Jellybean Blues,” that satirized the president.

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