Peter, Paul, and Mary
Synopsis of Pop Music
"Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea,
and frolicked in the autumn mist,
In a land called Honah-Lee..."
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, folk music was just as popular with pop music fans as rock and roll. Although rock would eventually come to dominate the pop music scene, Peter, Paul, and Mary helped keep the spirit of folk music alive on the pop music scene throughout the 1960’s. This gifted trio of musicians helped the shape the direction of popular music with their traditionalist folk sounds and their willingness to use their music as a tool for social change. They are also important for helping introduce the world to the work of gifted songwriters like Bob Dylan and John Denver.
Manager Albert Goldman, who also managed Bob Dylan, assembled Peter, Paul, and Mary to capitalize on the folk music trend popularized by groups like the Kingston Trio. Each of the group’s members had several years’ worth of experience as musicians, and all three were united by the idea of using folk music as a social tool to improve society. They released their self-titled album in 1962 and scored an instant #1 hit with it. It won the group two Grammy Awards and also spawned hit singles with the Top-40 “Lemon Tree” and a Top-10 cover of the Weavers’ classic “If I Had A Hammer.”
Peter, Paul, and Mary released their next album, Moving, in 1963. This album gave them their first self-penned hit with “Puff The Magic Dragon,” a fanciful story of a boy and his imaginary friend that was written by Yarrow. It became a children’s music standard and would inspire an equally popular animated television special several years later. The group quickly followed this success with In The Wind. On this album, Peter, Paul, and Mary introduced the world to the talents of Bob Dylan by covering two of his songs: “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” went Top-10 and “Blowin’ In The Wind” sailed to #1.
The inclusion of the Dylan songs on In The Wind showed off Peter, Paul, and Mary’s commitment to social consciousness. The group also began to appear at political-oriented rallies on a regular basis around this time. Most notably, they appeared with Dylan at the 1963 March on Washington where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his famous “I have a dream” speech. Meanwhile, In The Wind continued to spin off Top-40 hits like “Tell It On The Mountain” well into 1964. A double-live set entitled Peter, Paul, and Mary In Concert was also a success that year.
Peter, Paul, and Mary continued their hit album streak throughout the mid-1960’s with outings like See What Tomorrow Brings. On these albums, they would mix their original songs with tunes by up-and-coming songwriters like Gordon Lightfoot. In 1967, they expanded their sound from their initial acoustic-based style to more polished sound using a full band on Album 1700. This led to a Top-10 pop hit with “I Dig Rock And Roll Music,” a sly satire of the pop sounds of the day. In 1969, they scored another #1 hit with “Leaving On A Jet Plane,” a song penned by a young John Denver.
In 1970, Peter, Paul, and Mary disbanded to pursue solo work. All three found success on their own but public demand inspired them to reunite by the decade’s end. Since 1980, Peter, Paul, and Mary have continued to record and tour on a steady basis. One of their most popular recent recordings was Lifelines, a duets album that paired the group up with folk legends like the Weavers and Judy Collins. Their timeless folk sound continues to appeal to the hearts and minds of listeners of all ages, ensuring that Peter, Paul, and Mary will always be an important part of pop music’s folk heritage.
Artist Release History1962 - Peter, Paul & Mary
1963 - Moving
1963 - In the Wind
1964 - In Concert (live)
1965 - See What Tomorrow Brings
1965 - A Song Will Rise
1966 - The Peter, Paul & Mary Album
1967 - Album 1700
1968 - Late Again
1969 - Peter, Paul and Mommy
1970 - Ten Years Together (compilation)
1978 - Reunion
1988 - No Easy Walk to Freedom
1988 - A Holiday Celebration
1992 - Flowers and Stones
1993 - Peter, Paul & Mommy, Too (live)
1995 - Lifelines
1996 - Lifelines Live
1998 - Such Is Love
1999 - Songs of Conscience & Concern
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsAround The Campfire (Warner Bros.)
Band MembersPeter Yarrow vocals, guitar
Mary Travers vocals
Noel 'Paul' Stookey vocals, guitar