Peter, Paul & Mary

"'Puff' never was anything except a song about the innocence of childhod and the sadness of the passing of that kind of innocence we all feel." -- Peter Yarrow
Robert Grossman was a club owner and manager who wanted to put together a vocal trio in 1961 that would take advantage of the growing public enthusiasm for folk music. One of his clients was Peter Yarrow who was then appearing at the Cafe Wha in Greenwich Village. Grossman introduced him to Paul Stookey who was working as a stand-up comedian at the Gas Light near the Cafe Wa. Initially, Stookey declined the opportunity to join a folk trio. Grossman thought the group would benefit from a female voice and when Yarrow heard Mary Travers who had performed with Pete Seeger, he asked her to join him. He called their singing "nothing special." But then the two of them went to Paul Stookey's apartment to again try and recruit him. When they started singing together, Peter Yarrow called it "magical." They rehearsed for several months and then Grossman booked them into the Bitter End. This led to a recording contract with Warner Brothers and in 1962 they released their first album, "Peter, Paul & Mary." It was Billboard's #1 album for seven weeks and yielded two charting singles, "Lemon Tree" (#35) and "If I Had a Hammer" (#10). In 1963 the group released two Bob Dylan songs, "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" (#9) and "Blowin' In the Wind" (#2). They performed the latter at the March on Washington rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial in August. Their other 1963 hit, "Puff, the Magic Dragon" (#2), generated some controversy. Although many have claimed it to be a song about marijuana use, Yarrow who wrote the music, and Leonard Lipton who wrote the poem the song used, have always denied it. The trio achieved their only number one record in 1969 when they recorded the John Denver song, "Leaving on a Jet Plane."
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Lemon Tree 6/9/1962 35 2
If I Had A Hammer 9/8/1962 10 8
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright 2/28/1963 9 8
Puff, The Magic Dragon 3/30/1963 2 11
Blowing in the Wind 7/12/1963 2 12