Mary Travers, member of the hippie-folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary, died yesterday after a battle with leukemia. She was 72.
Along with Paul Stookey and Peter Yarrow, Travers formed Peter, Paul & Mary at the height of folk-era in the early 1960s. In its early days, the group was conceived and managed by Albert Grossman and played Greenwich Village, NY coffee houses and clubs like the Bitter End. The trio’s first, self-titled album introduced them to the world with sing-alongs like “Have All the Flowers Gone?” and Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer.” The band also recorded classic versions of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and Leonard Lipton’s “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Along with Dylan and Joan Baez, Travers performed at the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic speech.
The trio’s final hit was a cover of John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane” in 1969 and the three musicians parted ways a year later. The group reunited in 1978 and has toured with regularity over the past three decades. Travers was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and her health problems led to the cancellation of several shows. She is survived by both her former bandmates.