Mary Travers, 1936-2009, of Peter, Paul & Mary

Posted on September 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

One of my favorite folk singers passed away yesterday, Mary Travers of the group Peter, Paul and Mary died of leukemia in Danbury Hospital, Connecticut. Peter Yarrow was among those with her in her closing moments.

Mary and the other members of the group were leaders in the folk music boom of the the 1960’s. The growth of folk music, largely due to Mary’s serene vocals, was not just a musical movement, but was wedded to the social activism and political liberalism of the turbulent 1960’s. Opposing the Viet Nam War and racism, their music not only entertained, it affected change in society. The protest songs helped motivate and encourage the protestors.

Although even as a young child I opposed much of the liberal agenda, except the Civil Rights movement, I still loved the music of the protestors. One of my earliest childhood musical memories is of “Puff the Magic Dragon”. I first heard the song on the children’s TV show, “Captain Kangaroo”. I have no idea if the version I heard was the one recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, but I have always associated that song with them. I even had a children’s record player and one of the very few 45rpm records I owned was of that song. I can truthfully say it is in my top ten all time favorite pop songs and is the first pop song I remember from my childhood.

But there are so many songs from P,P&M: “If I Had a Hammer”, “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane”, “500 Miles”, “Blowin’ in the Wind”.

Mary was a beautiful lady as well as talented.

I am just greatly saddened here and words fail me.

P,P&M gave another folk singer some help along the way, Gordon Lightfoot, another one of my favorites.

I have no idea of where Mary was in her spiritual life, whether she was a Christian or not.

Not many famous people who die affect me like this. Sadness.


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