Mary Travers 1936-2009

Before there was Joan Baez, there was Mary Travers, who died yesterday from complications associated with the chemotherapy she was undergoing for leukemia.

As the visual focus of Peter, Paul and Mary, Travers added beatnik sex appeal to the earnest commitment to good works that characterized early-sixties folk music in the wake of straighter lineups like the Kingston Trio. Travers and her guitar-strumming comrades both politicized folk music and made it accessible to a mass audience. They participated in the 1963 March on Washington (where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech) and marched for voting rights in Alabama. Along with the Byrds, PP&M found great success covering Bob Dylan songs. (They were also managed by Dylan’s future manager, Albert Grossman.) The trio broke up in 1970 and Travers released five solo albums during the decade. And here she is in her prime:

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