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One year ago: Mary Travers

September 16, 2010 |  6:00 am


Mary Travers, who performed in the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1960s, helped create the archetype of the female folk singer that survives today. She died one year ago from the side effects of the chemotherapy she was receiving for leukemia.

Travers, Peter Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey brought a political and socially conscious edge to their music, making Top 10 pop hits out of “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)," written the previous decade by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays of the Weavers, and Bob Dylan's “Blowin’ in the Wind."

The threesome earned numerous gold and platinum records and five Grammy Awards.

They also had a major hit with the children's song “Puff (the Magic Dragon),” which at one time was thought to contain a thinly veiled message about marijuana. Travers insisted that it was innocent, however, and "just a song about growing up."

Peter, Paul and Mary's commercial success dwindled as the '60s rolled on, and the trio disbanded in 1970 to pursue solo projects, then reunited in 1978 and continued touring regularly until Travers became too ill.

For more on the clarion-voiced folk singer, read Mary Travers' full obituary by Times pop music writer Randy Lewis.

--Michael Farr

Photo: Mary Travers performs with Paul Stookey, left, and Peter Yarrow as the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962. Credit: Warner Bros.