Peter, Paul and Mary
(Read about Peter, Paul, & Mary after the video)
Peter, Paul and Mary was an American folk group formed in New York City in 1961, during the American folk music revival phenomenon. The trio was composed of songwriter Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. After the death of Travers in 2009, Yarrow and Stookey continued to perform as a duo under their individual names.
Mary Travers said she was influenced by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and the Weavers. In the documentary Peter, Paul & Mary: Carry It On — A Musical Legacy members of the Weavers discuss how Peter, Paul and Mary took over the torch of the social commentary of folk music in the 1960s.
Early years (1961–1969)
Manager Albert Grossman created Peter, Paul and Mary in 1961, after auditioning several singers in the New York folk scene, including Dave Van Ronk, who was rejected as too idiosyncratic and uncommercial. After rehearsing Yarrow, Stookey and Travers out of town in Boston and Miami, Grossman booked them into The Bitter End, a coffee house, nightclub and popular folk music venue in New York City's Greenwich Village.
They recorded their debut album, Peter, Paul and Mary, the following year. It included "Lemon Tree", "500 Miles", and the Pete Seeger hit tunes "If I Had a Hammer" (subtitled "The Hammer Song") and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?". The album was listed in the Billboard Magazine Top Ten for 10 months, including seven weeks in the No. 1 position. It remained a main catalog-seller for decades to come, eventually selling over two million copies, earning double platinum certification from the RIAA in the United States alone.
In 1963 the group also released "Puff, the Magic Dragon", with music by Yarrow and words based on a poem that had been written by a fellow student at Cornell, Leonard Lipton. Despite urban myths that insist the song is filled with drug references, it is actually about the lost innocence of childhood.
That year the group performed "If I Had a Hammer" and "Blowin' in the Wind" at the 1963 March on Washington, best remembered for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. The Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind" was one of their biggest hit singles. They also sang other Dylan songs, such as "The Times They Are a-Changin'"; "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," and "When the Ship Comes In." Their success with Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" helped Dylan's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album rise into the top 30; it had been released four months earlier.
On January 14, 1964 they performed "Blowin' in the Wind" on the Jack Benny television program.
"Leaving on a Jet Plane" became their only No. 1 single (as well as their final top 40 pop hit), in December 1969, and was written by the group's friend John Denver. It was the group's sixth million-selling gold single. The track first appeared on their million-selling platinum certified Album 1700, in 1967 (which also contained their No. 9 hit "I Dig Rock and Roll Music"). Following Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy's strong showing in the 1968 New Hampshire Primary, the group recorded "Eugene McCarthy For President (If You Love Your Country)" endorsing McCarthy, which was released without a record label.  "Day Is Done", a No. 21 hit in June 1969 from the trio's Grammy-award winning Peter, Paul and Mommy album, was the last hot 100 hit that the trio recorded.
The trio broke up in 1970 to pursue solo careers and after Peter Yarrow's arrest and conviction for making sexual advances toward a 14-year-old girl. Years later, Yarrow received a presidential pardon from Jimmy Carter. Travers recorded five solo LPs and did concerts and lectures across the United States. She also produced, wrote, and starred in a BBC-TV series. Stookey formed a Christian music group called the Body Works Band. Yarrow co-wrote and produced Mary MacGregor's Torn Between Two Lovers (No. 1, 1977) and earned an Emmy for three animated TV specials based on "Puff the Magic Dragon."
Stookey wrote "The Wedding Song (There is Love)" for Yarrow's marriage to Marybeth McCarthy, the niece of Eugene McCarthy, according to Stookey during an interview on the DVD Carry It On, released in 2004 by Rhino Records.
In 1972, they reunited for a concert at Madison Square Garden to support George McGovern's presidential campaign, and again in 1978, for a concert to protest against nuclear energy. This concert was followed by a 1978 summer reunion tour. Included was a September 3 evening performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver, Colorado. The summer tour proved so popular that the group decided to reunite more or less permanently in 1981. They continued to record albums together and tour, playing around 45 shows a year, until the 2009 death of Mary Travers.
The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.
The trio were prolific political activists for their involvement in the peace movement and other causes. They were awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience on September 1, 1990.
In 2004, Travers was diagnosed with leukemia, leading to the cancellation of the remaining tour dates for that year. She received a bone marrow transplant. She and the rest of the trio resumed their concert tour on December 9, 2005 with a holiday performance at Carnegie Hall.
Peter, Paul and Mary received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.
The trio sang in Mitchell, South Dakota, South Dakota, at the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership dedication concert on October 5, 2006.
The trio cancelled several dates of their summer 2007 tour, as Mary took longer than expected to recover from back surgery and later had to undergo a second surgery, further postponing the tour. Travers was unable to perform on the trio's tour in mid-2009 because of leukemia, but Peter and Paul performed the scheduled dates as a duo, calling the show "Peter & Paul Celebrate Mary and 5 Decades of Friendship."
On September 16, 2009, Mary Travers died at the age of 72, of complications from chemotherapy, following treatment for leukemia. It was the same year Peter, Paul and Mary were inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.