Mary Travers, Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey, are the famed vocal trio known as Peter, Paul and Mary. Mary Travers died of Leukemia complications the 16th of September. The trio continued making a mark long past the heyday of the 60s and early 70’s and they have touched so many with their music and their performances.
Peter, Paul and Mary often thought of as not only folk singers but peaceful activists used their music to comment on the human condition and attempt to make people think, to make a change. Their songs appeal to people of all generations and races.
With long ranging songs like Blowing in the Wind, If I Had a Hammer, Light One Candle, the heart tugging Leaving on Jet Plane, Cruel War and 500 Miles,Where Have All the Flowers Gone, and fantastical songs like Puff the Magic Dragon and Autumn to May, to name only a few, their music appealed and continues to appeal to all generations, all people.
Their style was simple and clean, no fanfare, high tech on stage or huge budget videos, no racy clothes or outrageous behavior to garner audiences, just a crisp and wholesome performance. Years after the initial hits made the charts and airwaves; some of their music still has the capability to bring tears to the eyes of their audiences and a kind of beautiful, uplifting and innocent joy at the listening.
There was a magic in their fresh performances. Their harmonies taught many young people how to sing, how to harmonize with the music. Their music was and is easy to sing along with. It was not uncommon to see audiences join in singing some of the most treasured songs that Peter, Paul and Mary contributed to the music world, when they performed.
Mary Travers was a gently elegant woman, maintaining a special beauty of her own well past the so-called prime. She never lost it. She spoke up for the defenseless and downtrodden. Her beauty was more than skin deep. She had strength, focus and humanity.
Folk music does not always receive the press that more popular and visual styles of music receive but it still makes its mark, at times without the recipients even realizing the original sources of the songs or the subtle ways they weave themselves into society.
Peter, Paul and Mary performed with humour and with humanity. Activists do not always have to be violent or obnoxiously abrasive to make a point and make a mark. Sometimes a beautiful song or carefully chosen words can reach across the globe and make a difference.
In 1999, Peter, Paul and Mary were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
“Now the time has come to leave you
One more time
Let me kiss you
“Then close your eyes
Ill be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I wont have to leave alone
About the times, I wont have to say
Oh, kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that youll wait for me
Hold me like youll never let me go
cause Im leaving on a jet plane
Dont know when Ill be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go”
from “Leaving on A Jet Plane”
I hate for you to go too, Mary. I hope that jet plane has taken you on wings up with the angels where your voice and forthcoming spirit will fit right in. Mary Travers, you will be missed but not forgotten.