5 Things You May Not Know About Peter Yarrow

Thursday, May 31, 2018
peter yarrow

Today we celebrate the birthday of the man who put the… Actually, let’s go a different way with that and say that this man is a folk legend, one who teamed with a guy named Paul and a gal named Mary, resulting in all three of them becoming superstars. In honor of the day, we’ve put together a list of 5 things about Peter Yarrow that you may not have known before. Here’s hoping you walk away having learned a little something!

1.    He made his TV debut well before Peter, Paul & Mary made a name for themselves.

Yarrow was already making waves as a solo singer before becoming part of a trio with Paul Stookey and Mary Travers, which is how he came to make an appearance on the CBS series Folk Sound USA. It’s hard to say that the appearance served to further his career significantly, but it’s okay: he managed to get a major boost in profile when he played the Newport Folk Festival the following summer and met Albert Grossman, from whom Peter, Paul and Mary’s blessings began to flow.


2.    He co-wrote and produced a song which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977.

With the assistance of co-writer Phillip Jarrell, Yarrow helped bring into existence Mary MacGregor’s hit single “Torn Between Two Lovers,” which is surely one of the best love-triangle songs ever penned. 

3.    He contributed vocals to a Burt Bacharach album.

Yes, ’77 was a pretty good year for Yarrow, as it was also the year that Bacharach invited him to participate in the sessions for his FUTURES album. Other who contributed vocals to the LP included Jamie Anders, Joshie Armstead, Melissa Mackay, Marti McCall, and Sally Stevens. 

4.    He helped organize the Festival for Peace in 1970.

For as many momentous concerts took place in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, you’d think that there’d be documentation of all of them, but that’s not the case with the Festival for Peace, which Yarrow helped organize and produce. There’s virtually no audio or video available from the Madison Square Garden event, and that’s damned near a tragedy, because it means we don’t have a duet of “What The World Needs Now” by Dionne Warwick and Janis Joplin, which you just know was worth the price of admission all by itself. Other who performed at the event include Paul Simon, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, Miles Davis, The Rascals, Johnny Winter, Herbie Hancock, The James Gang, John Sebastian, and even the cast of Hair. Oh, well, at least there’s some audio from the January 1970 Festival for Peace…

5.    He had way too much fun writing a song to inspire folks to get their colons checked.

Not that keeping track of your colon isn’t very serious business, because it absolutely is, but in an appearance on CBS This Morning, Yarrow couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he delivered the very important but still very amusing “Colonoscopy Song.” If you haven’t heard, then we’d advice you to check it out. And then get your colon checked, too, just for good measure.

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