The most popular folk team of the 1960s, Peter, Paul and Mary in later decades have likewise proved us to be amongst the most long lasting music acts in history. Your longevity dwarfs the of the Weavers, if the truth that the trio proceeds to be associated with a major record brand (Warner Bros.) after decades in the company sets them except rivals favor the Kingston Trio and the brothers Four. Climate again, possibly it isn"t so surprising -- Peter, Paul and also Mary"s roots operation deeper than virtually any other folk act one might treatment to name, while your appeal crosses audience currently that other acts couldn"t (and can"t) also approach. Peter, Paul and also Mary were component of the 1960s people revival, yet they can trace your roots and also inspiration ago to music and events indigenous the late "40s, and the founding of the Weavers. In 1948, the musical and ... Read full Biography
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Artist Biographyby Bruce Eder
The most renowned folk team of the 1960s, Peter, Paul and also Mary in later years have additionally proved us to be amongst the most long lasting music action in history. Your longevity dwarfs that of the Weavers, if the truth that the trio continues to be associated with a significant record brand (Warner Bros.) after years in the organization sets them apart from rivals like the Kingston Trio and the brothers Four. Then again, probably it isn"t so surprising -- Peter, Paul and also Mary"s roots operation deeper than nearly any other people act one might treatment to name, while their appeal crosses audience lines that other acts couldn"t (and can"t) even approach.
Peter, Paul and Mary were part of the 1960s individual revival, however they deserve to trace their roots and inspiration earlier to music and events indigenous the late "40s, and the founding of the Weavers. In 1948, the musical and political left had actually been galvanized behind the presidential campaign of previous Vice president Henry Wallace and his to run mate, Senator glen Taylor. In the wake up of the ticket"s defeat the year, in the course of do the efforts to pick up the pieces, singer/composers Lee Hays and also Pete Seeger (whose history together went back to the early "40s, and also a group referred to as the Almanac Singers) joined v Fred Hellerman and also Ronnie Gilbert in creating the Weavers. Lock subsequently uncovered themselves through the top-selling document in the country, Goodnight Irene, and for the following two years, the Weavers entertained millions and also brought folk music to the public consciousness in a new and critical way through recordings such together "Kisses Sweeter than Wine." Then, together word of the members" an individual leftist politics histories started circulating, your bookings came to a halt -- ironically enough, the Weavers together a performing team were virtually apolitical in their songs and also presentation, yet that didn"t conserve them from being blacklisted by the entertainment industry.
They damaged up in so late 1952, yet they left behind 2 seeds planted in American popular culture. One, deriving from their success, was a modest folk song revival, in some tiny clubs and especially on university campuses, mainly as entertainment; and also the other, a byproduct of your blacklisting, was the coalescing of newly vital, an extremely politically concentrated branch of individual music. The last existed as an secret phenomenon, "apart" indigenous a couple of relatively friendly locales such as new York City"s Greenwich Village; it was invisible to many Americans, but it detailed a usually living because that older performers, and also drew and also nurtured new, younger talent.
The entertain branch materialized itself in the guise that acts favor the straightforward Riders and also their younger followers the Kingston Trio, the Limeliters, the brothers Four, and the Highwaymen, trios and quartets of masculine singers who brought a smooth veneer come the music. Every of them had their moment -- and sometimes much more than a moment -- in the sun and also on the charts start in the so late "50s. Enlarge performers such as Pete Seeger that the Weavers (as well as the reunited group itself), Ed McCurdy, and Oscar Brand were also around, offering fewer records however making more serious, purposeful records aimed at smaller audiences. And also younger, grittier performers such as Eric Von Schmidt, Dave valve Ronk, and also Ramblin" Jack Elliott were also working and also recording. In 1962 and also 1963 came the big-band people outfits the brand-new Christy Minstrels and the Serendipity Singers, who applied elaborate arrangements, utilizing up to nine singers, to people melodies.
the was against this backdrop, indigenous the late "40s onward, that mar Travers (born November 9, 1936, in Louisville, Kentucky; passed away September 16, 2009, Danbury, Connecticut), Peter Yarrow (born might 31, 1938, in new York, brand-new York), and also Paul Stookey (born December 30, 1937, in Baltimore, Maryland), all came of age. Travers, the daughter of journalists, was increased in Greenwich Village, and also was both politically and musically aware; she"d make her first recordings while quiet in high school, during 1954, in a chorus backing Pete Seeger for Folkways Records. She became a member of the song Swappers, act albums the international people songs and also camp songs, and additionally participated in a stage production, The following President, written by and starring subject comedian Mort Sahl. As a singer, she was greatly influenced by Ronnie Gilbert the the Weavers and additionally by Jo Mapes, a bluesy white folksinger native Los Angeles who"d arised in the mid-"50s.
Paul Stookey, born Noel Paul Stookey, had come to be a huge fan that jazz and what to be later called R&B in the middle to so late "40s, take it up guitar, and had formed his very first band, the birds of Paradise, in high school during the at an early stage "50s. He ongoing singing in college, and likewise discovered two added talents, as a raconteur and as a standup comic, with a unique knack for improvising sound effects. The gravitated to Greenwich Village, whereby he began to learn about folk music. He and Travers became friends and also occasionally performed and also composed music together. Mostly, however, he did his comedy at local clubs and she made her living functioning at Elaine Starkman"s boutique on Bleecker Street. (Starkman, later on a pioneering art gallery owner in new York"s SoHo, to be a well-known village designer that made the gown Travers wore because that her very first wedding. In 1961, part of Stookey"s comedy act was recorded in Jack O"Connell"s film Greenwich village Story, another component of i beg your pardon was also shot at the Starkman boutique, though Travers was never ever glimpsed).
Peter Yarrow was a graduate the Cornell college who dropped into music while serving as a to teach assistant. By the finish of 1959, he was play in Greenwich village and, the complying with year, was booked top top a CBS network tv show around folk music, throughout which the met Albert Grossman. Grossman, who went top top to regulate Bob Dylan and also the Band, suggest the idea to Yarrow of developing a trio the would market serious people songs, however utilize the very same kind of blended male/female voices as the Weavers, and also the humor of the Limeliters, and also the overall spirit the fun found in acts prefer the Kingston Trio. Yarrow and also Grossman approached Travers, and Stookey come aboard last, dropping his an initial name in donate of his better-sounding center name Paul, and Peter, Paul and also Mary were born. With the indict of arranger Milt Okun, that had worked with harry Belafonte and the Chad Mitchell Trio, they put together a three-part vocal sound the was distinctive and, after 7 months of mindful preparation, the group arised to instant acclaim in Greenwich Village.
They to be signed come Warner Bros., and also their first, self-titled LP to be released in march 1962. It was accompanied by a single, "Lemon Tree," that increased to number 35 ~ above the charts late that spring. This was a good beginning, yet it was their second single, "If I had a Hammer," that significant their breakthrough. The song, written by Seeger and Hays in the work of the Weavers, was a rousing number with good hooks and also a memorable chorus, and also a identify (yet no threatening) philosophical and political edge. As topical songs go, its timing to be perfect -- in late 1962, the civil rights motion was becoming a issue to a growing variety of middle-class onlookers; "If I had actually a Hammer" embodied this zeitgeist in its many idealistic kind and, through its upbeat, soulful power -- which made the seductive also to those listeners that cared little about the political debate of the times -- the single hit number ten ~ above the charts. It additionally won the trio their an initial two Grammy Awards, for ideal Performance by a Vocal Group and Best individual Recording.
In their first six month of existence, Peter, Paul and Mary, working in a somewhat more favorable politics climate, had regulated to execute what the Weavers never had a possibility to do, pass political comes to to the general public through song. And also it to be a substantial public, fan to the truth that PP&M likewise had a foot in the entertainment side of the people revival -- their music had actually a decidedly serious edge, however it and the team were also as lot fun to listen to as anything the Limeliters or the Highwaymen were doing. Their stage act, as captured on the In Concert album, poked funny at what they did and also at themselves, and also one couldn"t assist but laugh at Stookey"s comedy, which attracted on music, self-generated sound effects, and also a self-deprecating manner second only come Woody Allen (then a standup comic himself). The overall effect, in between the entertainment and the songs, was as though the Kingston Trio had suddenly began doing the arsenal of the Almanac Singers, and people to be listening.
with "If I had actually a Hammer" wafting end the am airwaves, the Peter, Paul and also Mary LP climbed to number one and also subsequently spent years ~ above the charts. Their second album, Moving, released in January 1963, gained off come a slightly slow start, yet it discovered its method to number two and also a 99-week run with aid from "Puff (The Magic Dragon)," a track that Peter Yarrow had actually written in college. The solitary rose come number 2 that spring and also became one of the most beloved children"s song of every time, as well as the trio"s passport through any kind of potential controversy.
It was on the heels of the year"s success the Bob Dylan gotten in the group"s orbit. The young folksinger and also songwriter -- who came under Grossman"s administration in 1963 -- hadn"t do much impact with his own recordings top top Columbia Records; his lyrics were too piercing and his voice as well bluesy, in an environment dominated by much smoother people sounds. PP&M, however, had no trouble with public acceptance, and they took Dylan"s tune "Blowin" in the Wind" to the public in a means that he never can have. Their recording, exit in June 1963, to be an prompt hit, shipping over 300,000 copies in much less than 2 weeks -- many times the number of records that Dylan himself had actually sold up that point -- and eventually climbing to number 2 on the charts. As soon as more, the trio appeared to grab the moment in history, politics, and art through a song. The era of public activism over civil rights, command at the management of president Kennedy, was rising to brand-new heights, and "Blowin" in the Wind" embodied the soul of the time. In one dropped swoop, it created Bob Dylan together the brand-new conscience the a generation, and PP&M together the voice of the conscience, culminating with their performance the the track at the very same August 1963 in march on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. Offered his "I have actually a Dream" speech.
The trio"s third album, In the Wind, which to be released in October 1963, not only hit number one ~ above the charts yet pulled their 2 previous albums earlier into the peak Ten with it. Up to this point, all of the trio"s successes took place during a relatively quiet time in famous music, in which over there was tiny distraction from rock & roll. V the exception of Elvis Presley and a handful of more recent acts such as the coast Boys and also Del Shannon, the music to be going through among its periodic level periods, which had left the field open to folk acts like Peter, Paul and also Mary. Every one of that adjusted as 1964 dawned.
Suddenly, PP&M found themselves competing with the Beatles and also other teams out the England, playing a new, forceful, and relatively sophisticated brand of rock & roll. Peter, Paul and Mary were the just folk-revival group to make it through the brothers Invasion and also the taking place folk-rock boom with their audience and visibility largely intact. Their record sales slackened somewhat, particularly their singles, which had a tough time competing on am radio v the sound of the british Invasion, and it was three years before they would enjoy one more Top Ten hit. Their albums, however, continued selling well, and their bookings never ever dropped off.
one of the factors for their continued success, popularity, and also relevance to be a series of political and also historical occasions separate from the music. The polite rights movement was quiet going strong as the battleground shifted from the Lincoln Memorial to the earlier roads the Mississippi -- where 3 college students who had actually come to aid register black color voters to be murdered in 1964 -- to the halls the Congress. The killing of president Kennedy in November 1963 and also Lyndon Johnson"s climb to the presidency began a collection of events that finally forced coherent civil rights regulation out of Congress, even as that battle continued raging in the streets, from Birmingham, Alabama, to Cicero, Illinois, and other point out north. As soon as the regulations were ~ above the books, however, Johnson"s presidency also opened up a new political wound on the American landscape through his escalation the the Vietnam War. In that uneasy environment, Peter, Paul and Mary had actually the background of involvement, the credentials, and also the credibility to resolve this brand-new issue in methods that, say, the Kingston Trio never might have, even if they"d want to. Moreover, their records had a method of not only staying relevant -- "If I had actually a Hammer" was as topical in 1965 together it had remained in 1962, and it to be still funny to sing about a campfire -- yet evolving in your relevancy. Together the Vietnam war ran on, and also draft notices and departures because that the military and also service abroad became much more commonplace, cuts prefer the beautiful "500 Miles," off their debut album, took on deeply personal resonances because that tens, and then numerous thousands the people.
because that the remainder that the decade, the trio walked a fine line, appeal to liberals and also antiwar activists, and also raising the awareness of the interested, but also entertaining middle-of-the-road listeners, and especially come parents that felt your music was safe for younger children. They to be accomplishing exactly what the Weavers had set out to execute a decade and a half earlier (and, not coincidentally, likewise exactly what the Weavers" political opponents had fear the latter group would do, spreading liberal ideas and also politics ~ above the renowned landscape through pretty music).
your commercial fortunes and mass appeal remained undamaged into the second half of the decade. The album In Concert, an extraordinary (for a people group) dual LP, fight number four throughout the summer and also fall the 1964, and the group"s following studio LP, A track Will Rise, acquired to number eight in the feather of 1965. At the very same time, however, its highest-charting single, "For Lovin" Me," just reached number 30. Check out What tomorrow Brings peaked in ~ number 11 in late 1965, their very first placement outside of the peak Ten v an LP, however hardly unrespectable. By 1966, PP&M were emotion the press to embellish their music, however, and also began adding far-ranging numbers of backup musicians to your records, and also exploring more rock-oriented sounds, ~ above The Peter, Paul and also Mary Album and, later, Album 1700. Those records were considered solidly compete in the musical environment of 1966 and also 1967, amid the sound of folk-rock and also psychedelic rock of the era, and both have held up better than those by most of the competition, largely owing to the quality of the music and the songs.
native the start of their history, the trio displayed an uncanny ear for good songs and songwriters -- Stookey had actually steered Grossman to Bob Dylan prior to many human being in Greenwich village had also heard of him. And also in early on 1962, before their debut album had even been released, the Kingston Trio had picked up a then-new Pete Seeger song, "Where have All the flowers Gone," from among the group"s live performances and also had a hit v it. Throughout the year 1965-1966, Peter, Paul and Mary gave the very first serious airings come the music of Gordon Lightfoot ("For Lovin" Me"), Laura Nyro ("And when I Die"), and John Denver ("For infant
once they recorded the moment again v a song, the trio verified that they can sell records with the finest of them. "I destruction Rock "n" roll Music," written by Paul Stookey, brought PP&M ago to the upper reaches of the charts and also heavy to be radio play v a number nine solitary in the loss of 1967, ideal in the center of the psychedelic boom. The song, which parodied the formats of the Beatles, the Mamas & the Papas, and Donovan, to be not only catchy and memorable but likewise a reminder to the general public that, for all of their devotion come causes and issues, Peter, Paul and also Mary to be a really funny team as well. For lot of the year that followed this commercial comeback, the group were associated in politics, in the kind of councilor Eugene McCarthy"s antiwar project for the White House. They showed up on instead of of McCarthy, and even exit a document supporting him. McCarthy"s candidacy eventually failed, in a year that additionally saw the murders of boy name Luther King, Jr. And also Robert Kennedy, though one personal, positive byproduct that the peace campaign was that Peter Yarrow finished up marrying the senator"s daughter.
In 1969, they returned to the center of the charts again v Yarrow"s "Day Is Done," a surprisingly autumnal work. They also chalked up one more Grammy Award the year because that Peter, Paul and Mommy, an album that children"s song that became a mainstay of their catalog, getting to generation ~ generation the parents and children. During the summer that 1969, Warner Bros. Obtained word the DJs roughly the country had begun playing among the tracks turn off of the then-two-year-old Album 1700, "Leaving on a Jet Plane," authored by man Denver. Released the September, the single "Leaving ~ above a Jet Plane" peaked at number one, the trio"s only chart-topping single, and likewise pulled Album 1700 earlier onto the list of top-selling LPs.
by 1970, PP&M had played numerous hundreds of concerts together and had invested nine years in harness to each other. The was unpreventable that there would certainly be a break-up at some point, provided their different, evolving lives. Mar Travers was currently the mom of two daughters, Yarrow was recently married, and Stookey, in enhancement to wanting to work with new and different musical sounds, had developed a serious id in Christianity. Between a flurry that sales behind "Leaving top top a Jet Plane," and also the release in the feather of Ten year Together: The finest of Peter, Paul and Mary (which increased to number 15), the trio completed your concert obligations and announced in the fall of 1970 that they were acquisition a year"s sabbatical indigenous Peter, Paul and also Mary.
The following eight years saw the 3 musicians release assorted solo recordings the failed to capture the public"s fist in anything the same, similar thing PP&M"s impact. Mary Travers continued working in a folk-pop vein for a time, when Peter Yarrow created topical songs managing the national politics of the time, and Paul Stookey verified the many adventurous of the three musically, exploring harder absent sounds as well as jazz, and delving into Christian-oriented music. Lock moved roughly each other"s orbits, showing up on every other"s albums occasionally and also even reuniting on behalf of George McGovern"s 1972 presidential campaign, however it was clear through the so late "70s that none had sufficient of one audience on his own to sustain a full time performing career. Travers moved from Warner Bros. To Chrysalis Records, and to a very brief remain with the Arista label, all without any kind of hits, while Yarrow enjoyed a hit together a songwriter with "Torn in between Two Lovers," and additionally saw one of his "70s compositions, "River the Jordan," rotate up in the 1980 comedy film Airplane!, sung by Lorna Patterson in an excruciatingly funny scene.
This was every a long way from your 1960s heyday, and also a 1978 reunion album also proved a false start, selling an ext poorly than any kind of LP in their history. The concerts neighboring that album, however, significant the beginning of a progressive re-forming the the trio. Travers, a solitary mother through two daughters and a menagerie the pets come look after, was nonetheless pertained to with the antinuclear movement, with which Yarrow had actually long been involved. Stookey rejoined after part hesitation, and also by the at an early stage "80s Peter, Paul and also Mary were a to work trio again, playing concerts occasionally and also trying come record, consisting of their yearly Christmas concerts at Carnegie room in new York. Without skipping a beat, they picked up from their early-"60s beginnings, only the civil civil liberties anthems had new meaning in one era when the legislations protecting those civil liberties were under attack by the Reagan administration. And also they were interspersed with songs around the political strife in El Salvador and the nuclear arms race. As long as they included "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" in their repertoire, however, the trio to be still mainly immune from strike by the right. The real challenge was acquiring their work-related heard by a bigger public in the music atmosphere of the 1980s.
By the late date, nobody of the significant labels to be interested in the work of people groups of their vintage so they did that themselves, at first releasing the live reunion album such Is Love on their very own Peter, Paul and also Mary label. Castle were linked with Gold castle Records, a promising independent label, for much of the late "80s, till its failure, however they did acquire to record a handful of LPs that they ended up owning outright. They retained great relations with Warner Bros., adequate for Peter Yarrow come personally supervise the digital remastering and also transfer the their classic 1960s catalog to compact disc at the finish of the 1980s. Finally, in 1992, part 30 years after the trio signed through them, Warner Bros. Records ended up being interested in law a follow-up come Peter, Paul and Mommy, which had actually been a perennially good seller in the catalog. The resulting album, Peter, Paul & Mommy, Too and also an accompanying tv special heralded a return of PP&M come Warner Bros., which ultimately reissued their entire Gold Castle brochure on CD.
~ the 1980s, the team had to be moving right into the role of elder statesmen that the folk neighborhood -- mary Travers also hosted a tv special that carried together the entire present and former membership of the Kingston Trio on-stage -- and also this standing was borne out in 1995 through the Lifelines album. One all-star concept record special the trio performing through colleagues, older and also younger -- consisting of ex-Weaver Ronnie Gilbert and blues legend B.B. King -- it to be sufficiently successful to generate a concert follow-up, Lifelines Live, the next year. In 1998, they brought the same all-star singalong ide a action further, in a slightly different direction, with approximately the Campfire, and in 1999, Warner Bros. Approve its 2nd PP&M best-of compilation, songs of Conscience & Concern. In 2004, Travers to be diagnosed through leukemia and also eventually underwent a bone-marrow transplant, yet the trio resumed performing by the adhering to year. Successive tours followed throughout the 2000s until news showed up in 2009 the Travers" leukemia had actually re-emerged. She started chemotherapy, but died of symptom on September 16th of that year. Yarrow and also Stookey, as a tribute to Travers, turned beside a project the trio had actually been discussing prior to her death -- including fresh symphonic orchestrations to live tracks of the group from number of 1980s and also "90s concerts.
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The resulting album, The Prague Sessions, appeared early in 2010.