Folk artist Noel Paul Stookey has a career spanning 60+ years but is best known as Paul as in the legendary folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary who he was a member of from 1961-1969 and again from 1978-2009 when Mary Travers passed. Paul and Peter Yarrow still perform together occasionally. Stookey was interviewed by Grammy Museum Chief Curator and VP of Curatorial Affairs Jasen Emmons in the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater April 22nd. This was Stookey’s first event at the museum in nearly 10 years.
The group was assembled in 1961 by manager Albert Grossman, who also managed Bob Dylan, Odetta, Ian & Sylvia, and later The Band, and Janis Joplin. In 1963, Peter, Paul, and Mary played the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which is where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Stookey talked about that historic day and the march to the Lincoln Memorial. The featured exhibit at the Museum on the 2nd floor where the Clive Davis Theater revolves around music and social justice featuring memorabilia from Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Yoko & John Lennon, and many more artists past & present so it was very fitting for Stookey to do a Q&A. One of the main topics was Stookey’s latest release Fazz Now & Then which was released this year. Following the Q&A, Stookey took questions from the audience before giving a solo acoustic performance. Stookey performed six songs including a song by Pete Seeger “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” “The Winner,” “Love With a Capital L,” ''One Light, Many Candles,” and “America the Beautiful,” in which he did the version everyone knows and his own and he had the audience sing with him.
A few of Peter, Paul, and Mary’s biggest songs were John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Puff (The Magic Dragon),” Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song). Peter, Paul, and Mary were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999 and in 2006 received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the trio’s self-titled debut album which went to 2x platinum. Of their 14 releases two went to number one, and four were certified gold and one platinum on top of their debut album. The trio also had 21 charting singles. They released their final album In These Times in 2003. Stookey has written songs or songs that were covered by Petula Clark, Cher, Joan Baez, The Cowsills, Tom Jones, The Hollies, John Stewart, and more. Stookey has also released a number of solo albums and is expected to release a biography next year.