Right on the heels of the death of Patrick Swayze another icon dies. Mary Travers of the folk trio Peter Paul & Mary died on Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at the age of 72. Mary had battled Leukemia since 2004 but went into remission for several years after a bone marrow transplant. Mary succumbed to complications from her chemotherapy.
The trio was Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. Alongside other folk singers Pete Seeger (who Mary had actually sung backup for), Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan Peter, Paul and Mary rose to fame during the 1960’s when folk music was widely popular with a generation of youth that started the sexual revolution; hippies, who wanted to buck the establishment. This generation that was immersed in social activism. Peter, Paul and Mary’s music reflected this new social awareness with such songs as “Puff The Magic Dragon” a song about innocence lost and “If I had a Hammer” which became an anthem for racial equality.
The trio didn’t just sing about personal, social and political change they lived it and participated in the March on Washingtonin 1963 where they performed the song Blowin’ in the Wind written by Bob Dylan. They were involved in the anti-Vietnam Warmovement and performed at numerous demonstrations. Peter, Paul and Mary were true to their music and all three were actively involved in bringing about social and political change. They have continued through the years to sing songs about personal, social and political activism. Their music became linked to causes because their songs held messages of hope and humanity. Their songs instilled inspiration in us for a better self and a better, kinder world. They believed in and sang of the social issues of equality, justice and freedom. Issues relevant then, relevant now and no doubt will remain relevant into the future.
The trio would receive five Grammy Awards before they disbanded in the 1970’s to pursue their individual interest. They came together again 1978 when Peter organized Survival Sunday an anti-nuclear benefit. It wouldn’t be until 1992 that the trio would resign with Warner Brothers Records and record Peter, Paul & Mommy.
Below is a partial list of songs performed and or written by the trio. You can get the lyrics by clicking on the song.
500 Miles , 75 Septembers , And when I Die , Blowin’ in The Wind , Day is Done , Dodi Li , House of The Rising Sun , If I Had a Hammer , Kisses Sweeter Than Wine , Mockingbird , Puff the Magic Dragon , Tell It on The Mountain , We Shall Overcome , and Where Have All The Flowers Gone .
The music of Peter Paul & Maryinspired a whole generation, it caused us to not only look inward but to look next to us and around us. It made use question the status quo and speak out against injustice. It made us think and feel. While the generation that bucked the system grew up left their idealism behind, Peter, Paul and Mary remained true to their beliefs and continued to carry their social and political messages to the public. Peter and Paul remain to carry on the trio’s legacy. Mary will now sing with the angels. If we listen really hard with our hearts and minds we may be able to hear her voice Blowin’ in The Wind .