GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Noel Paul Stookey, who gained his greatest fame as part of Peter, Paul And Mary, recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Stookey discussed performing at the 1963 March on Washington, co-founding the nonprofit organization Music2Life and his latest 2012 album One & Many, among other topics. Stookey also performed a brief set, including "Jean Claude" from One & Many and his 1971 hit "Wedding Song (There Is Love)."
"Popular music's ability to inform a lot of people at the same time drew half a million [to] a million people to Washington [D.C., in 1963] not only for the civil rights movement but then for the anti-war rallies," said Stookey. "All of us know that music has the capacity to not only to entertain and to inspire, but to inform as well."
Stookey is best known as the "Paul" in Peter, Paul And Mary, the legendary folk trio he formed in 1961 with Mary Travers and Peter Yarrow. In 1962 Peter, Paul And Mary released their self-titled debut, which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the GRAMMY-winning hit "If I Had A Hammer." In 1963 the trio performed the song during the March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. That same year their sophomore effort, In The Wind, topped the charts and featured the Top 10 covers of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "Blowin' In The Wind," the latter of which garnered two GRAMMY Awards and was inducted in the GRAMMY Hall of Fame in 2003. For five decades Peter, Paul And Mary's signature blend of folk and rock spawned several hit albums, including 1993's GRAMMY-nominated children's album Peter, Paul & Mommy, Too. The trio continued to perform together until Travers death in 2009.
In 1971 Stookey released his debut solo album, Paul And. The album's single, "Wedding Song (There Is Love)," which Stookey wrote as wedding gift to Yarrow, peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100. Stookey followed with 1973's One Night Stand and 1980's Band & Body Works, the latter of which garnered a GRAMMY nomination for Best Inspirational Performance. In 2012 Stookey released his latest album One & Many, which features "Jean Claude" and a cover of Sting's "Every Breath You Take."
Stookey currently serves on the executive board of Music2Life, a nonprofit organization he co-founded with his wife Elizabeth. The group uses music and technology to promote positive social change and justice. Stookey is scheduled to perform at a benefit concert in support of the 2014 Downeast Spiritual Life Conference on Aug. 24 in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include An Evening With Ian McLagan (July 19), Homegrown: Run River North (July 23), An Evening With Josh Groban And Rob Cavallo (July 29), and An Evening With Phillip Phillips (July 30).