It’s a scene we’re all familiar with. The glitterati of Hollywood, the recording industry, television industry and the like all put on major awards shows each year in which they pat one another on the back and congratulate themselves for how hard they worked for their money during the past year.
Part of the proceedings is to walk the red carpet and pose for the paparazzi in front of a backdrop that tells you that you’re watching the Grammy’s or Oscar’s or Emmy’s or Golden Globes or People’s Choice Awards or Director’s Guild of America Awards or….whew, my fingers are getting tired so I’m stopping with that list! The actors and actresses pose and preen for photos and the next day there will be countless reviews of who wore the hottest and best dresses and who pulled a major fashion faux pas with their wardrobe.
Well, let it be known that I am now a paparazzi, too. We recently took our two youngest grand daughter’s out for frozen yogurt and as we sat there downing our favorite (well, nearly favorite) frozen concoction, I noticed a similar backdrop right next to us, so I naturally had to get the girls to pose for their publicity photo. Today’s photo was the result. I don’t care what you say…I think these two are the real winners!!!!!!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: it was in 1962 that Peter, Paul and Mary signed their first recording contract with Warner Brothers – and they are still part of that label over 50 years later. Though they didn’t revolutionize folk music the way Bob Dylan did, nor did they even write their own songs, they were good-looking, crowd-pleasing performers first and foremost—hand-selected and molded for success by a Greenwich Village impresario named Albert Grossman. Yet in their own way, Peter, Paul and Mary helped make Dylan’s revolution possible, by popularizing his songs and by proving the commercial potential of “serious” folk music in doing so.
Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers ran in the same Greenwich Village circles, but had never performed together before Albert Grossman came along. Grossman recognized commercial potential in the “message songs” he was hearing in famous Village venues like Gerde’s Folk City, if only he could combine the music of brilliant songwriters like Pete Seeger with the non-threatening appeal of singers like the Kingston Trio.
Seeger’s former group, the Weavers, had enjoyed enormous success with hits like “Goodnight Irene,” until their leftist background derailed their career. The downfall of the Weavers led to a split within the fledgling folk revival—a split between political folk that had no chance for commercial success and entertaining folk that was utterly apolitical. Grossman believed that he could span that divide with a group whose good looks and demeanor would make political folk music acceptable within the popular mainstream. Enter Peter, Paul and Mary and songs like “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” both from their debut album in 1962. In 1963, Peter, Paul and Mary would release their biggest hit ever: “Blowin’ in the Wind,” written by a new client of Grossman’s named Bob Dylan. It was the first sample of Dylan’s work that most of the world would ever hear.
Mary Travers passed away in 2009.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: As late as 1940, fewer than 1 in 20 adults held a B.A. degree. From 1945-2000, the number of B.A degrees awarded annually rose almost eightfold, from 157,349 to approximately 1.2 million.