There are just too many celebrity deaths to keep up with. Today we lost Mary Travers, the “Mary” of Peter, Paul and Mary; she was 72 and died of leukemia. The group, of course, was one of the definitive acts of the ’60s, musically, politically, and in the fact that the group ended when the decade did. (By the end of the ’70s they got back together, and continued to tour together until Travers’ health declined.) Some of their biggest hits, like “Puff the Magic Dragon,” are pure ’60s, but when they sang “If I Had a Hammer” they made it sound like a topical ’60s song, even though it wasn’t. A lot of acts from the ’60s, particularly in the U.S., bridged the cultural gap between the seemingly happy-go-lucky Kennedy era and the “turbulent” mid- ’60s, which in many ways merely brought a lot of late ’50s/early ’60s issues into sharper focus. Peter, Paul and Mary, like Bob Dylan (whose song “Blowin’ in the Wind” was a big hit for them), belong to both versions of the ’60s, though not quite as much to the harder-edged, less folkish late ’60s.
And here they are in 1966 singing “Early Morning Rain” by Gordon Lightfoot.