Pure Prairie League’s rich history goes back to 1969 in the Southern Ohio area where a group of young musicians initially played cover tunes at local bars.
THE MUSIC WE KNOW AND LOVE
We all know and love the music of the folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Their classic folk songs written in the 1960s are a reflection of the feelings of the era with some of their hit recordings “Blowin in the Wind” which helped introduce fellow songwriter Bob Dylan and “If I Had a Hammer” becoming an anthem of social movements during the decade. During its now legendary career, the trio won five Grammy’s, produced 13 Top 40 hits, of which 6 ascended into the Top 10 as well as eight gold and five platinum albums.
Peter Yarrow, an American singer and songwriter, was born in New York City in 1938. He learned to play both guitar and violin at a young age, and attended New York City’s High School of Music and Art. His singing career began after receiving a psychology degree from Cornell University. Upon graduating, he went to Greenwich Village, where he met up with Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. The trio’s manager, assembled and encouraged the group after a rousing success in New York’s Greenwich Village, the group began a national tour which lasted almost ten years before they pursued solo careers and interests.
Yarrow co-wrote (with Leonard Lipton) one of the group’s greatest hits, “Puff, the Magic Dragon” which went on to become a beloved children’s classic. “‘Puff (The Magic Dragon)’ became metaphorical for a certain spirit because of its proximity to the era or idealism and hope in the ’60s,” says Yarrow. “If it had been written in a time of cynicism and selfishness such as this one, perhaps ‘Puff’ might not have resonated in the same way, save for those who were bemoaning the loss of innocence of their own time.”
“If I Had a Hammer” went straight to #1, remaining in the Billboard Top 10 for 10 months and in the Top 20 for two years on the way to a remarkable three-and-a-half year run on the album chart. “If I had a Hammer” garnered two Grammy Awards in 1962
“Leaving on a Jet Plane” became Peter, Paul and Mary’s only No. 1 single (as well as their final top 40 pop hit), in December 1969, and was written by the group’s friend John Denver. It was the group’s sixth million-selling gold single. The track first appeared on their million-selling platinum certified Album 1700, in 1967.
Yarrow also co-wrote the song “Torn Between Two Lovers” which became a hit for Mary MacGregor in 1976.
Peter Yarrow’s ability to write songs that have sparked the imagination and the passion of a generation intent on social change have made him an internationally recognized singer and songwriter.