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. Her spokeswoman, Heather Lylis, told the AP
the cause was complications from leukemia, and that Travers passed away
at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut today. The singer had undergone a
bone marrow transplant and was "feeling fabulous" in 2006, but her
condition deteriorated this year and she was no longer able to perform.
Mary Travers was outspoken in her support for the civil-rights and antiwar movements, in sharp contrast to clean-cut 60's folk groups like the Kingston Trio, which avoided making political statements. 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. After seven months of
rehearsals, the group made its debut in 1961 performing songs carefully
arranged by Milk Okun. Their self-titled debut came out the following
year and boasted the Grammy-winning "If I Had a Hammer," as well as
"Lemon Tree" and Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." They hit
Number One with "Leaving on Jet Plane" from 1967's Album 1700, but made a large impact off the charts as leading voices of protest.
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)." Their
gentle harmonies and sharp performances became calling cards of pivotal
'60s gatherings, from civil-rights demonstrations to anti-war rallies -
and Travers was a striking onstage figure, flipping back her
stick-straight blonde hair as Yarrow and Stookey strummed alongside
her. Their rendition of "Blowin' in the Wind" shipped 300,000 copies in
two weeks and brought the song newfound attention; Peter, Paul and Mary
went on to do a cover of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" that
hit Number Nine.
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."
PPM brings back memories of my youth. Life seemed so much simpler in the `60's.
The energy young people dedicated to positive change during the 60s was driven by their ability to think critically because TV did not exist to brainwash them when they were children.
Unfortunately today's young people were brainwashed by TV from the day they were born. No matter how hard we middle aged folks try today, we will have limited success challenging corporate control until there is a critical mass of young people pushing in that direction.
Exactly. And Repeat.
The only voices of protest I hear are "where's the effin remote," or, "there's nothing good on," Anti-Arab, raghead bias has prejudiced today's Arab-haters from birth.
I was tripping on the power of this recently.
It absolutely eliminates free-thought except for the rare exceptions.
Political change in America will never again be a function of protest in the streets, there will be none, until one day it is everywhere-when todays middle class has no pick-up or door to close behind them.
Good night, gods bless, and go gently into that good night...
Walk in peace.
Amen to that, Galenwainwright.
What can you add to this beautiful story about the life of a genuine icon from the peace movement. Peter, Paul and Mary prospered by performing together at so many important places that the generation that grew up with them will never forget her or her close friends. I saw them only on television performances throughout my young life and whenever I could read about their appearances, I started to wonder why so many people seemed to take sides at their concerts about political issues. Baffled, I started reading about them and their non-stop political activism for change.
As I grew up, I learned about the family of political activists that they were friends with, helped to promote, performed with and the world of liberal opposition to our government's policies through their campaign to bring public attention to a large amount of civil issues from Equal Rights to the Vietnam War. They always delivered on their musical programs, sometimes performing non gratis and funding peace movement activities with their songs and TV revenues.
Here lies the body of a warrior for peace and change. May god Bless you and make his face to shine upon you. Be at peace Mary Travers. We will carry on the cause for peace and freedom that you fought for all your years.
Goodbye Mary. You will be missed very much.
I always liked PPM.
· Yr Obd't Servant
Recently I organized a stop for Anne Feeney on her West Coast Single Payer Health Care concert tour.
If you want to honor Mary Travers, consider joining with us in the fight for decent health care as a human right.
So what's the hook here? Why do I mention this as we mourn the passing of our dear Mary?
It's because her spirit lives on in Anne. Parenthetically, a good portion of Anne's concert tour expenses were paid by Peter Yarrow, one of the most decent and loving men on the planet.
Our cause lives on.
"We're Nursing As Fast As We Can"
About the song: Featuring Anne Feeney on guitar and vocals, Sheila Liming on accordion and Roger Day on tuba, this fabulous song by Seattle naturopath Joan Hill really says it all about our broken health care system.
Lyrics: Nursing as Fast as We Can - Joan Hill
We're nursing as fast as we can. We're running with bandages and bedpans.
Oh, the patients are sicker, and the discharges quicker & the Reasons are slicker why they can't afford more nurses who are Nursing as fast as we can---- And more cuts in nursing are planned.
Oh the loads don't get lighter, and the staffing is tighter,
and we're nursing as fast as we can.
Your anxiety's legitimate, I'll grant - You've been admitted for a liver transplant.
You see the nurses scurry. Everybody's in a hurry,
And you've just begun to worry that we won't have time for you.
Our time is limited, you understand. We can't do right by you within our budget.
Your insurance plan is tight, so you can't even spend the night.
We'll just send you home to do the best you can.
Meanwhile, we're nursing as fast as we can.
We're running with bandages and bedpans.
Oh, the patients are sicker, and the discharges quicker, and the
Reasons are slicker why they can't afford more nurses who are
Nursing as fast as we can----And more cuts in nursing are planned.
Though the schedule's obnoxious, and the pace is prepost'rous,
and we're nursing as fast as we can.
I feel I must apologize to you. You messed your bed and had to lie in doo-doo.
But I was very busy, I was running in a tizzy,
and I over-optimistically thought I'd get to you.
But I had seven other patients, too, And one of them was bleeding in his pillow.
When priorities were reckoned, it was you who came in second, and
First was all that I had time to do.
Because we're nursing as fast as we can.
We're running with bandages and bedpans.
Oh, the patients are sicker and the discharges quicker, and the
Reasons are slicker why they can't afford more nurses who are
Nursing as fast as we can. And more cuts in nursing are planned,
Though infections are spreading, and mistakes we are dreading,
for we're nursing as fast as we can.
We worry for our patients, yes we do.
They come to us much sicker than they used to.
We know they need trained nurses, but the bosses watch their purses.
When it's patient safety versus profit, we know what they'll do.
Nurses who are registered must go.
They hire nurses' aides because they're cheaper.
They should know, for patients' sake, that this could be a grave mistake,
but it's a chance they'll take to save a little dough.
And we are nursing as fast as we can.
We're running with bandages and bedpans.
And what's in them is stinking, just like management's thinking,
as our standards are sinking, and the risks we take are rising,
Like the salaries for those at the top. This misallocation must stop!
Our superfl'ous superiors sit upon their posteriors in the
Comfy interiors of their offices and lounges, while we're nursing as fast as we can.
We must find a way to demand - (WE DEMAND!!)- that patients won't be dying,
cause some corporation's trying - to cut nursing as fast as they can
SINGLE PAYER, FRIENDS, THE ONLY REAL PLAN!!
Like Mary, Anne and thousands more will carry on the golden message of the Folk.
The Folk Song movement was in Hoover's scope from at least Woody on.
We will carry on.
It wasn't, but it seemed so. Part of it was being young and escaping from that terrible burden of being white, middle class, and sexually repressed.
A sad day for the loss of a great preformer. Im 54 and in 1964 my sister brought home there 1st album from boarding school and I quickly learned the lyrics of there songs. I was surfing for tickets to see PP&M this summer but saw where most were getting cancelled due to Mary's failing health. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this. Thank you Mary so much for your music and passion for humanity.
My heart felt condolences to all who are grieving in her departure.
Mary, may your soul Rest In Peace!
Thank you Mary for your love of peace and joy and may your songs be a reminder to us to work harder to attain them for ourselves.RIP until we see you in the next life eternal
My brothers and sisters if you would like a wonderful reminder of this hero--please go to you tube and find this video at:(April 24th,1971 DC peace rally) See what she has done to change the world through her life and her songs.Enjoy
May she frolic with Puff in heaven. Wow, where did the time go? As it marches on mercilessly, the world turns. The world we have today, I could not have imagined then. Here we are with children of our own wondering what kind of future they will have. The other day I walked into my son's room and heard a growling noise coming from his speakers. This is what passes for music now?? Sure, there was AC-DC, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin, but never quite the rage you feel in this modern stuff. One wonders if the kids resonate with it deep down, or which is worse, heavy metal or misogynistic rap? The world needs more music like that of Peter, Paul, and Mary. Rest in peace, dear lady.
"Here we are with children of our own wondering what kind of future they will have."
Not to mention grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
And I share your fears for their future as well as your distaste for what's being marketed to them as music.
Oh that horrible noise that kids listen to today!! Which is what parents said when kids started turning on to the Beatles, Stones, Who, CCR etc. There is plenty of hip-hop out there that isn't misogynistic and materialistic and is as politically conscious as anything laid down by folkies like Phil Ochs or Peter, Paul, and Mary. Same with metal. I hate when people put down genres of music they know nothing about.
I don't dislike all the music youth listens to, just relaying how I feel when I hear raspy growling 'music' with no decipherable lyrics, and no definable melody. And that goes both ways, no? My son dislikes the 'melodic' jazz I listen to. Some rap stuff is ok, but not my favorite genre as a rule, same with country. A good friend who majored in music at UNC Chapel Hill once told me that he believed that music reflects the state of society. Where more harmonious music is prevalent, so is the social state, and visa verse. One thing I have noted with passing time is the repeating corporate formulas for all genres. Perhaps musical artists have less freedom to express themselves, and the ones that do, do not get heard.
"Same with metal. I hate when people put down genres of music they know nothing about."
Be careful here, metal had its origins with some of those groups our parents hated way back then. Paranoid was one of the fist albums I ever bought :o)
I also love groups that merged rock and classical, like Jethro Tull. Ian Anderson is reputed to be one of the best flute players of all time.
Alice Cooper is still fun too (credited with shaping heavy metal).
I am not a fan of Hip-Hop, but I've listened to some of it and I can see what kids see in it.
I say however many ways revolution can be expressed, it can only be good.
When I was little I would rock out to the sound of the washing machine. I think music is a sampling of the sounds around us, and these days those sounds have gone hi-tech.
I can't criticize someone's music, I have my tastes. But I liked the lyrics of (some)Hip-Hop! It gave me a big smile!
We still sing, whistle and listen to Peter, Paul and Mary, Moody Blues and so many others.....I believe the point is that not all of todays music is bad, I like some myself, but most of it is nothing you will be listening to when you reach our age.
I can't imagine listening to Heavy Metal now. Besides if some of the cars around here are any indicator, most of you will be deaf! (lol)
So sorry. Thank you, Mary, for a lot of great memories. Learned all of PPM on my guitar and will always love their harmonies. Can't think of high school without thinking about their music.
Good-bye Mary. The tears have been flowing...for you and for our lost youth and for the struggle which continues on. May you be at peace, you worked for it your whole life.
Mary was my North Star. She guided me to the knowledge that the hottest, smartest and toughest women were to be found in the peace and justice movement.
My life (and, I suspect, the lives of many other aging hippie dudes) would have been much the poorer without her.
Requiescat in pace, soror.
Mary had been very sick for a long time. She lived a very productive and successful life, never wallowed in obscurity, and was amply recognized and rewarded for her efforts and accomplishments, as were we for her having made and accomplished them. Sickness, age, and death are part of life, and while Mary did not quite reach the average life expectancy, there is nothing tragic about her passing, although our sadness for her loss is as natural as the loss itself. At least I got to see her perform, and my oldest daughter did, too.
What is tragic is that Mary had substantial social movements for which to perform. She could sing at civil rights, anti-war, and anti-nuke rallies because people had them back then. The Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks held sway over much more substantial percentages of the population when Peter, Paul, and Mary broke through -- McCarthyism and Christian morality had controlled the political and social agendas for decades, and Soviet expansionism and the Cuban Missle Crisis was today's terrifying headlines back then. But the leftists forced their way into the mainstream so relentlessly that by just 1964 it was becoming difficult to get signed to a corporate record label if you didn't have some protest angle to your work or image. Soon thereafter Yippies and Panthers were necessary accessories for mainstream social and cultural events, and ordinary people at home were as likely to know the names of at least 3 of the Chicago 7 as much as people today know how much Brad hurt Jennifer. The trials of the Chicago 7 and Huey Newton were the celebrity trials of the day, with the Sunday morning news shows inviting prominent guests who sided with the defendants, and treating them like they were credible.
Here we are today with poverty at record levels, 10% of the population in jail or on parole, another 10% unemployed, hundreds of thousands more losing jobs each month, hundreds of thousands of people being evicted from their homes each month, 47 million people unable to pay for basic medical care, higher education ceasing to be an option for the majority of high school seniors, and, with the blue-collar economy exported to Mexico and China, the life choices for them increasingly cook down to poverty or Afghanistan. Perhaps as many as 100 million Americans living in or close to the state of nothing to lose, yet we are still.
Absurdly, the rallies full of music stars, and radical chic cultural dominance are in full force today, but the rallies are called Rally for America and the radicals are open purveyors of fear, hatred, and violence instead of love, hope, and justice. Yet we are still.
And that's the tragedy of loss I contemplate today. Mary never stopped fighting, but the rest of us did. If you want to honor Mary Travers, go out today and form a community group, so if another Mary Travers comes along, she'll have people to sing to. Get out and do it. The basics of getting started can be found here: www.commonplans.blogspot.com
Oh Mary! You are already much missed. I have such wonderful memories of listening to Peter, Paul, and Mary throughout the years. I consider the live concerts I attended to be some of the highlights of my life. Mary had such a beautiful, strong voice...and it never failed to touch my heart. I will always cherish the memories. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your gift with the world. God and Goddess Bless.
Here is a hero singer who had great depth and scope in trying to change what was wrong in our world--but I venture to guess that there will be far less fanfare than there was for the guy they took two months to bury.
"It's the bell of free...dom!" Mary's rendition of that line always thrilled me to the marrow.
Bye, Mary. I won't forget you.
God bless Mary Travers. She lit up our hearts and stirred our minds. She and her guys lived their ideals, they believed what they said, they went to places they sang about.
Times passes and we slowly lose the best of us, but we were all better for knowing Mary and the boys.
By the way Mary, I had a terrific crush on you all those years ago. I hope you are frolicking with Puff as ole 56 suggested. Bless you.
Henry8 says, "I had a terrific crush on [Mary] all those years ago" Me, too. My first crush. I've been moping around all day. Mary was obviously an exceptional person in many ways and it's a loss for everyone, but beyond that...just looking at that picture with Paul and Peter and her long blond hair and her "look"...sigh...brings it all back. What fools we are (or at least what a fool I am.)
My sincere condolences to her friends and family, and that includes all those of us who are old enough to remember them from the first time around. That was, in looking back, a very special time. We were still free to open our minds and our mouths. We talked TO each other instead of just texting to each other. Yes, we have more things now than we did then, but in many ways we are a much poorer country now than we were then.
Thank you for your time, your life, and your voice. You will be missed.
When I was teenager in the mid 60's, a friend and I took the bus a few hundred miles so we could go to a PP&M concert. After the concert was over, we walked out of the theater and saw the stage door entrance (well labeled of course). Back then, security was non-existant so we just walked in, went backstage, and asked all three for their autographs on the program.
Can you imagine doing that today after a concert? Oh the times, they are a' changing...
What a story about the real difference between then and now. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Its something well worth considering.
Actually you could _easily_ get their autographs - or those of anyone else who would sing anti-war or working-class folk nowadays. They would be ignored by the corporate recording and concert promotion industry, and you find then singing in nothing bigger than bars or Unitarian Church halls.
Mary, the world won't be the same without you. Rest peacefully and thank you for being the gem you are.
On second thought, I don't think Hip-Hop could fill anyone with the emotion I feel when I watched the video above.
I remember about 1963 when my older sister introduced me to PP&M.
PP&M took antiwar stands when it was still risky.
They played at the March on Washington and in the protests in Selma.
R.I.P., Ms. Travers.
These were.... ARE.... the good guys.
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