On this date in 1962, the debut album by Peter Paul and Mary reached the #1 spot on the national charts, a rarity for a folk music album. The album remained at that position for a full month. The lead-off singles “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree” reached numbers 10 and 35 respectively on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. It was the group’s biggest selling studio album, eventually certified Double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for U.S. sales of more than two million copies.
At the Grammy Awards of 1963, their recording of “If I Had a Hammer” won the Best Folk Recording and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Grammies. The above video is from the Newport Folk Festival from that year, shortly after receiving those awards. They are often identified with protest songs, including the Civil Rights Movement. Here is the trio talking about how they became active in the movement.
Following the death of Mary Travers in 2009, Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey continued to perform, both together and as solo acts. Peter will be among the performers at David Amram’s 84th birthday concert at LIU Post on November 20, when folksinger Pete Seeger will be remembered. Other performers include Bethany and Rufus, Garland Jeffries, Guy Davis, Holly Near, Joel Rafael, Kim and Reggie Harris, Kristen Graves, The Amigos, Tom Chapin and The Chapin Sisters. Tickets are available by clicking the poster.
Voting continues in our annual Grooveyard Greats listener poll. You can vote daily for your 10 favorite songs of 1955 and earlier here through Thursday, and select your 10 favorite songs of 1961 here. And join us each Thursday at 9 PM on . . .