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Paul Stookey

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Noel Paul Stookey
Stookey (left) in the trio Peter, Paul and Mary
Stookey (left) in the trio
Peter, Paul and Mary
Background information
Birth nameNoel Paul Stookey
Born (1937-12-30) December 30, 1937 (age 86)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1950s–present
LabelsWarner Brothers-Neworld Multimedia

Noel Paul Stookey (born December 30, 1937) is an American singer-songwriter who was famous for being a member of the 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary; however, he has been known by his first name, Noel, throughout his life. Nowadays, he continues to work as a singer and an activist, performing as a solo artist, and occasionally with former-bandmate Peter Yarrow.[2]

Early life[edit]

Stookey was born in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. His family moved to Birmingham, Michigan, when he was 12 years old, and he graduated from Birmingham High School (now Seaholm High School) in 1955.

Stookey is an alumnus of Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Michigan. While attending MSU, he joined Delta Upsilon fraternity.[3] Though he credits a deep spiritual core for his work, Stookey "dispelled reports that he was born a Buddhist, saying his mother was a Roman Catholic and his dad was an ex-Mormon" and recalling the family's "eclectic attendance at church. I had no real spiritual sense until I was 30.'"[4]

Personal life[edit]

Stookey married Elizabeth "Betty" Bannard in 1963 and they have three daughters.[5] After raising their family in Blue Hill, Maine, the couple lived for several years in Massachusetts while Betty served as the Northfield Mount Hermon School chaplain and they returned to Maine in 2005. Stookey continued recording his solo albums in his private studio—a converted four-story henhouse—on his Maine property.[6] This studio, known as "The Henhouse", was also the origin point of the first broadcasts of WERU upon that station's inception in 1988.[7]

Music career[edit]

Peter, Paul and Mary[edit]

Performing as Paul in the Peter, Paul and Mary trio, he participated in one of the best-known ensembles of the 1960s phase of the American folk music revival, and included some of his solo songs and extended monologues in their performances and recordings.

One of Stookey's songs, "Norman Normal", which appeared on The Peter, Paul and Mary Album (1966), inspired a Warner Bros. animated cartoon also titled Norman Normal (1968). Stookey co-wrote the story for the cartoon[8] and voiced several of the characters.[9]

In addition to his recordings with the trio, he released a number of solo works, several albums with the ensemble Bodyworks, and some anthologies. He was an important artist in the young Jesus music movement, which would later bloom into the Christian music industry, although his generally liberal political views distinguish him from many such artists.

In 1986, Stookey teamed up with Jim Newton, Paul G. Hill, and Denny Bouchard at Celebration Shop in Texas. The company, now known as Kidlinks, uses original musical compositions as music therapy to address the special needs of children.[10][non-primary source needed] The company has produced three award-winning children's CDs used in hospitals, medical camps and homes across the country.

Stookey was awarded the Kate Wolf Memorial Award by the World Folk Music Association in 2000.[11]

Solo career[edit]

During 1971 and 1972 Warner released a debut solo album by each member of the group. Each of these had similarly styled cover art. Stookey's album "Paul, and" was the highest of the three on the music charts, reaching number 42 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States in September 1971.

Stookey's best-known composition "The Wedding Song (There Is Love)" was included on his debut solo album. The song was also released as a single which reached number 24 in the Billboard Hot 100. He wrote the song as a wedding gift for Peter Yarrow, and refused to perform it for the public until Yarrow requested it at a concert where his wife was present.[12] Stookey assigned the copyright of this song to the Public Domain Foundation (PDF), a nonprofit 501(c)3.

After Peter, Paul and Mary[edit]

Paul performed as a member of Peter, Paul and Mary until the death of Mary in September 2009. His work after Peter, Paul and Mary has emphasized his faith, family life and social concerns. He remains active in the music industry, performing as a solo act, and occasionally with Peter Yarrow.

In 2000 Noel and his daughter, Elizabeth Stookey Sunde, founded the nonprofit Music to Life, which builds on the strong historical legacy of social movements' intentional use of music to educate, recruit, and mobilize.[citation needed] M2L revitalizes music to meet the challenges of the modern world and revolutionize the role activist artists can play in accelerating social change. Music to Life understands the complexity of contemporary causes and the diversity of musical genres. They blend this knowledge with multimedia technologies and programming techniques to develop unique musical experiences that amplify an organization's message, spark engagement with a cause, and empower activist artists to stand on the front lines of social change.

In January 2011, centered on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Stookey participated in several events at Dartmouth College that celebrated King's life, including "Music for Social Change with Noel Paul Stookey and Company."[13][14]


He also has production credits on a wide range of albums including jazz saxophonist Paul Winter, comedian Tim Sample and several singer-songwriters, among them Dave Mallett, Michael Kelly Blanchard and Gordon Bok. He was the founder of the Neworld Multimedia record label.



Year Title Record Label
2022 fazz:NOW&THEN Neworld Multimedia
2018 something' special – a noel paul stookey holiday recollection Neworld Multimedia
2017 Summerfallwinterspring (four-song EP) Neworld Multimedia
2015 At Home: The Maine Tour (DVD and CD) Neworld Multimedia
2012 The Cabin Fever Waltz (EP with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra) Neworld Multimedia
2012 One & Many Neworld Multimedia
2012 Cue the Moon (digital download EP) Neworld Multimedia
2012 Capricious Bird (digital download EP) Neworld Multimedia
2012 One Voice and One Guitar (digital download EP) Neworld Multimedia
2007 Facets Neworld Multimedia
2004 Virtual Party Neworld Multimedia
2002 Circuit Rider (A Noel Paul Stookey / Bodyworks compilation) Neworld Multimedia
2001 There Is Love (A Holiday Music Celebration) with Michael Kelly Blanchard Neworld Multimedia
1990 In Love Beyond Our Lives (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Gold Castle
1985 State of the Heart (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Newpax
1984 There Is Love (A Noel Paul Stookey Anthology) Newpax
1982 Wait'll You Hear This (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Newpax
1979 Band & Bodyworks (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Neworld
1977 Something New And Fresh Neworld
1977 Real To Reel Neworld
1973 One Night Stand Warner Bros.
1971 Paul And (Released August 16, 1971)[15] Warner Bros
1954 "The Birds Fly Home (The Birds of Paradise, Stookey's high school band)" Independent release


Release date Title Peak chart positions
July 31, 1971 "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" 24 3


  1. ^ "Noel Paul Stookey". AllMusic. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
  2. ^ "Performances". Noel Paul Stookey. January 19, 2017. Archived from the original on August 6, 2010. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Bao, Robert. "Noel Paul Stookey: One & Many". Michigan State University Alumni Association. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  4. ^ "Stookey to debut song written for POPS". Kingfield, Maine Irregular. June 27, 2012. Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2012.
  5. ^ Paul Stookey. Biography.com Archived July 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Folk icon Paul Stookey records in Gorham". Archived from the original on August 1, 2012.
  7. ^ "WERU History – WERU Community Radio". Weru.org.
  8. ^ McCall, Douglas L. (1998). Film Cartoons: A Guide to 20th Century American Animated Features and Shorts. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. p. 172. ISBN 0786424508. Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  9. ^ Scott, Keith (2022). Cartoon Voices of the Golden Age, Vol. 2. Orlando, Fla.: BearManor Media. ISBN 9798887710105. Retrieved December 10, 2022.
  10. ^ "KidLinks". Kidlinks.org.
  11. ^ Noble, Richard E. (2009). Number No. 1 : the story of the original Highwaymen. Denver: Outskirts Press. pp. 265–267. ISBN 9781432738099. OCLC 426388468.
  12. ^ NPR interview broadcast August 30, 2008
  13. ^ "Music for Social Change with Noel Paul Stookey and Company". Archived from the original on January 17, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011., January 2011 (archived January 2011)
  14. ^ "Peter, Paul & Mary's Noel Paul Stookey Headlines Events January 22". Now.dartmouth.edu. January 20, 2011. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  15. ^ The Honolulu Advertiser (Honolulu, Hawaii)16 Aug 1971, MonPage 21

External links[edit]