Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mary Travers 1936-2009

Mary Travers of the 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary passed away this past week from leukemia at age 72. Regular readers of this blog know that I am a huge Bob Dylan fan. However, my first taste of Bobby D. was actually from PP&M. Dylan and PP&M shared a manager, and while PP&M already had a hit with their 1962 rendition of Pete Seeger's "If I had a Hammer," Dylan was still relatively unknown outside of New York City. To quote AllMusic:
"The era of public activism over civil rights, directed at the administration of President Kennedy, was rising to new heights, and "Blowin' in the Wind" embodied the spirit of the time. In one fell swoop, it established Bob Dylan as the new conscience of a generation, and PP&M as the voice of that conscience, culminating with their performance of the song at the same August 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have A Dream speech."
I distinctly remember hearing this song as a child and being struck by Travers's beautiful soaring voice.

Peter, Paul, and Mary - Blowin' in the Wind.mp3
Buy: The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary (2005)

Bob Dylan - Blowin' in the Wind.mp3
Buy: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963, reissued 2004)

Another PP&M song that I remember hearing in my 1970s childhood home is the John Denver-penned "Leaving on a Jet Plane." This song was written by Denver in 1967, and recorded by the trio on their 1967 release Album 1700. Warner Brothers records released this song as a single in 1969 when they heard that radio DJs around the country were playing the track. "Leaving on a Jet Plane" went on to sell over a million copies and was PP&M's only #1 hit, as well as their last Top-40 hit.

Peter, Paul, and Mary - Leaving on a Jet Plane.mp3
Buy: The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary (2005)

John Denver - Leaving on a Jet Plane.mp3
Buy: John Denver's Greatest Hits (2005)

NPR has a nice summary on Travers's life and PP&M's career.

1 comment:

MB77 said...

Thanks for posting. This didn't get much publicity.