From the Associated Press:
Mary Travers, one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, has died. The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, says Travers died at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut on Wednesday.
She was 72 and had battled leukemia for several years. Travers joined forces with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey in the early 1960s.
The trio mingled their music with liberal politics, both onstage and off. Their version of "If I Had a Hammer" became an anthem for racial equality. Other hits included "Lemon Tree," "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and "Puff (The Magic Dragon.)" T
hey were early champions of Bob Dylan and performed his "Blowin' in the Wind" at the August 1963 March on Washington. And they were vehement in their opposition to the Vietnam War, managing to stay true to their liberal beliefs while creating music that resonated in the American mainstream.
The group collected five Grammy Awards for their three-part harmony on enduring songs like "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" and "Blowin' in the Wind."
At one point in 1963, three of their albums were in the top six Billboard best-selling LPs as they became the biggest stars of the folk revival movement. It was heady stuff for a trio that had formed in the early 1960s in Greenwich Village, running through simple tunes like "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
They debuted at the Bitter End in 1961, and their beatnik look — a tall blonde flanked by a pair of goateed guitarists — was a part of their initial appeal. As The New York Times critic Robert Shelton put it not long afterward, "Sex appeal as a keystone for a folk-song group was the idea of the group's manager, Albert B. Grossman, who searched for months for `the girl' until he decided on Miss Travers."
Their debut album came out in 1962, and immediately scored a pair of hits with their versions of "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree." The former won them Grammys for best folk recording, and best performance by a vocal group.