Peter Yarrow and Puff the Magic Dragon: Full Circle - Page 4
So he didn’t look upon my choice of going to Greenwich Village rather than getting a job in market research as a career perspective. Peter looked upon it from the beginning as a vehicle to helping to assert and to unify the spirit of what was potentially a different culture that they would embrace. That’s what happened! Folk music became a very significant part of the greening of America, the changing of the perspective of a society that was steeped in what he would call serious misinformation about what life could be about in terms of bringing happiness. It was not about wealth, it was not about fame, it was not about money. It was about heart.
In 1959, Peter’s journey into becoming an indelible part of the American pop culture begins.
“My manager was very famous. He was quite important; he had incredible, highly respected taste. He was actually feared because he had a sense of what was authentic and real and wonderful. As opposed to what was superficial and not heartfelt. It wasn’t about the style for him; it was about the feeling and the talent. His name was Albert Grossman. “
Albert Grossman was a legendary producer. He had worked with wonderful people, wonderful artists including Odetta, Bob Gibson, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan. He would be responsible for bringing together the legendary folk music trio.
Peter, Paul and Mary.
Grossman made the suggestion that became history.
“Peter, I think you’re very talented. I think if you make a group with two or three other people like the Weavers it could be enormously successful.”
The search commenced.
Noel Paul Stookey was an extraordinary comedian and Jazz performer that they saw performing in New York. Mary Travers was also seen by Peter and Grossman performing in the village, they were hopeful they could get her. Now came the meeting. Magic?
“We met at Paul’s place in Lower Manhattan. The first time we sang together, I knew it was magic.”
The very first song they ever sang together was Mary Had A Little Lamb. The group was more than magic and they were using the art of folk music to unify and to speak to people, just in the same manner that Peter’s class had done at Cornell.
In 1963, Peter, Paul and Mary performed their hit song “If I Had a Hammer” at the march for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C.
“Harry Belafonte called us up; Dick Gregory, Anthony Perkins, Nina Simone and we were there. The world was changing.” Peter recollected the event.Continued on the next page