Mary Travers

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Mary Travers
Peter paul and mary publicity photo.JPG
Travers (right) as part of Peter, Paul and Mary.
Background information
Birth name Mary Allin Travers
Born (1936-11-09)November 9, 1936
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died September 16, 2009(2009-09-16) (aged 72)
Danbury, Connecticut, United States
Genres Folk, pop[1]
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1961–2009
Labels Warner Bros. Records
Chrysalis Records
Associated acts Peter, Paul and Mary, Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass
Website marytravers.com
peterpaulandmary.com

Mary Allin Travers (November 9, 1936 – September 16, 2009) was an American singer-songwriter and member of the folk music group Peter, Paul and Mary, along with Peter Yarrow and Noel (Paul) Stookey. Peter, Paul and Mary were one of the most successful folk-singing groups of the 1960s.[2] Unlike most folk musicians who were a part of the early 1960s Greenwich Village music scene, Travers grew up in that New York City neighborhood.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Mary Travers was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Robert Travers and Virginia Coigney, both journalists and active organizers for The Newspaper Guild, a trade union.[3] In 1938, the family moved to Greenwich Village in New York City. Travers attended the Little Red School House there, but left in the 11th grade.[3]

Singing career[edit]

Main article: Peter, Paul & Mary

While in high school, Travers joined the Song Swappers, who sang backup for Pete Seeger when Folkways Records reissued a union song collection, Talking Union, in 1955. The Song Swappers recorded four albums for Folkways in 1955, all with Seeger. Travers regarded her singing as a hobby and was shy about it, but was encouraged by fellow musicians.[2] She also was in the cast of the Broadway show The Next President.[4]

The group Peter, Paul and Mary was formed in 1961, and was an immediate success. There were many rumours surrounding the group. They shared a manager, Albert Grossman, with Bob Dylan. Their success with Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" helped propel Dylan's Freewheelin' album into the Top 30 four months after its release.[5][6]

An Associated press obituary noted:[7]

The group's first album, Peter, Paul and Mary came out in 1962 and immediately scored hits with their versions of "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree". The former won them Grammys for best folk recording and best performance by a vocal group.

Their next album, Moving, included the hit tale of innocence lost, "Puff, The Magic Dragon", which reached No. 2 on the charts.

The trio's third album, In the Wind, featured three songs by the 22-year-old Bob Dylan. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "Blowin' in the Wind" reached the top 10, bringing Dylan's material to a massive audience; the latter shipped 300,000 copies during one two-week period.

...at one point in 1963, three of their albums were in the top six Billboard best-selling LPs as they became the biggest stars of the folk revival movement.

Their version of "If I Had a Hammer" became an anthem for racial equality, as did Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind", which they performed at the August 1963 March on Washington.[7]

The group broke up in 1970, and Travers subsequently pursued a solo career and recorded five albums: Mary (1971), Morning Glory (1972), All My Choices (1973), Circles (1974) and It's in Everyone of Us (1978).[2] The group re-formed in 1978, toured extensively and issued many new albums. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

Personal life[edit]

Travers' first three marriages ended in divorce.[8] She was survived by her fourth husband, restaurateur Ethan Robbins (married 1991); two daughters, Erika Marshall (born 1960) of Naples, Florida, and Alicia Travers (born 1965) of Greenwich, Connecticut; a sister, Ann Gordon, Ph.D., of Oakland, California; and two grandchildren.[2]

Death[edit]

In 2004 Travers was diagnosed with leukemia.[9] She received a bone marrow transplant in April 2005,[9] which apparently slowed the progression of the disease. Travers died on September 16, 2009, at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, from complications arising from chemotherapy.[2] She was 72 years old.

Solo discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harris, Craig; Eder, Bruce. "Biography of Mary Travers". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Grimes, William (September 16, 2009). "Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary Dies at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Harris, Kathryn (September 17, 2009). "Mary Travers of Folk Music Trio Peter, Paul & Mary Dies at 72". Bloomberg News. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ Lindsay, Jay (September 16, 2009). "Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary Dead at 72". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved September 17, 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Folk singer Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary has died, aged 72". The Times (News International). September 17, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Mary Travers: folk singer". The Times (News International). September 18, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Mary Travers, 72: Singer Helped Launch Folk Revival With Peter, Paul and Mary". The Washington Post. Associated Press. September 17, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  8. ^ Harris, Kathryn (September 17, 2009). "Mary Travers of Folk Music Trio Peter, Paul & Mary Dies at 72". Bloomberg News. Retrieved September 17, 2009. "Marriages: 1. ? (m. 1958–1960); 2. Barry Feinstein (m. 1963–1968); 3. Gerald Taylor (m. 1969–1975)" .
  9. ^ a b Keen, Judy (August 28, 2006). "Travers sings praises of her bone marrow donor". USA Today. Retrieved March 4, 2012. 

External links[edit]