Last night, Mary Travers, one-third of the iconic folk-rock group Peter, Paul & Mary, passed away from leukemia at 72. The singer's death prompted widespread mourning and reminiscing among baby boomers, while younger bloggers offered praise and recognition of her legacy.
- More than a Musician Blogger Joan Garry offers a broad appraisal of Mary's enduring ability to inspire: "The remarkable legacy of Mary Travers and a lesson for our kids is the idea that one can be patriotic, authentic, wholesome AND radical. You can stand up for what you believe in and reach people of all ages if you use every one of your talents and use them in a way that is authentically you. The stage can be small - a classroom or a neighborhood. Or it can be big. Doesn't matter." Garry says it's unnerving for baby
boomers to see more and more of their beloved pop-icons pass
- 'They Were My People' Anne Stockwell vividly recalls her first experience hearing a Peter, Paul and Mary record as a 10 year old girl, unaware of just how much the group would affect her life. "They were too cool for me, of course, not to mention older by 15 or 20 years, but I felt they were my people. Why not? I could play all their songs, except for a couple of the bar chords." In adulthood, as editor of The Advocate, Stockwell's fondness for group intensified when they agreed to make a statement for the magazine denouncing the Federal Marriage Amendment.
- The Face of Folk The Guardian breaks with the pack slightly to acknowledge the folk trio's status as an easy target for parody, but maintains that it was Travers's "integrity and political commitment that underpinned and guided her pop success," thereby solidifying the group's enduring credibility. The article also praises Mary's beauty, anointing her "the ideal public face for New York's beatnik scene."
- Grace Under Pressure Admitting he was never "a fan" of the group, Mark Daniels of the Moderate Voice was still irrevocably touched by Mary Travers the radio show host, back when she was syndicated on Album Oriented Rock stations during the 70's. In particular, he recalls a painfully awkward interview she conducted with the notoriously difficult Bob Dylan: "'Do you write songs?' Dylan asked, reversing roles on Travers, once more adding to her discomfort. She explained that she wrote poetry and discussed it at some length. Dylan’s response: 'Uh huh.' I couldn't help thinking of that interview when, some years later, it was announced that Dylan would host his own satellite radio show. But you can bet he would never leave himself in the position of being as vulnearble as Travers did thirty-five years ago."
- Universal Appeal Writing for the conservative blog Political Byline, Patrick describes his mother's love of Peter, Paul and Mary, who enjoyed them for their music, not their liberal politics. He explains how Mary's passing reflects a dramatic national shift in political ideology: "I believe that the liberalism of this woman’s era was not the same stripe of the liberalism of today... It was the Kennedy Liberalism and not the kind of Liberalism of Barack Obama."
- End of an Era Expressing a similar "non-fan" perspective, Jeffery Weiss largely agrees that modern American political activity pales in comparison to the kind espoused by Mary and her group's music: "For all the real turmoil of the politics of the Vietnam War, there was a gentleness in the politics of these songs and their singing that are about as far from current political discourse as one can imagine. They were a model for civil action that did not require violence."
- American Icon Finally, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Michael Yaki says that Travers's image remains the inspiration for a popular children's television show character: "And, oh, by the way, the muppet "Janice" was not Janice Joplin, was not Joni Mitchell. Janice's blonde mop, heavy lidded eyes, and wide lips and loosely goosey personality could only have the one, the only, the irrepressible and irreplaceable Mary Travers."
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