Mary Travers 1936-2009
Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary Dead From Cancer at 72
9/16/09, 10:11 pm EST
Mary Travers, who with Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow performed some of the most enduring folk anthems of the 1960s as Peter, Paul and Mary, has died at age 72.
Travers was born in Kentucky but attended high school in New York’s West Village, where her family lived in the same building as folk icon Pete Seeger. She became a disciple of the Weavers and performed with Seeger before Yarrow and his manager Albert Grossman (who later steered Bob Dylan’s career) recruited her for the trio.
In 1963, the group famously performed Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “If I Had a Hammer” at the March on Washington, and released the latter on second LP Moving, which also boasted Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and “Puff (The Magic Dragon).”
The trio split up to work on solo projects in 1970, and Travers released five albums between 1971 and 1978. Their reunion disc Reunion came out in 1978, the year the group reformed to play a concert to protest nuclear power.
According to The New York Times, Yarrow released a statement calling Travers’ vocals “honest and completely authentic” like her personality. Stookey said “her charisma was a barely contained nervous energy — occasionally (and then only privately) revealed as stage fright.”