Peter Yarrow Biography


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Birth Place: New York City, New York, U.S.
Years Active: 1960–present
Genres: Folk


Peter Yarrow (born May 31, 1938) is an American singer who found fame with the 1960s folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Yarrow co-wrote (with Leonard Lipton) one of the group's most famous songs, "Puff, the Magic Dragon". He is also a political activist and lends his support to causes that range from opposition to the Vietnam war to the creation of Operation Respect.

Peter Yarrow was born in New York City, New York. He graduated from New York City's High School of Music and Art, which is now called LaGuardia High School. His singing career began after he graduated from Cornell University, in 1959. Soon, Yarrow met Noel "Paul" Stookey and Mary Travers in New York City's Greenwich Village, center of the mid-20th century American folk music revival. By 1962, Warner Bros. Records released the trio's first album, the eponymous ''Peter, Paul & Mary''. The album remained in the Top Ten for ten months, in the Top Twenty for two years and sold more than two million copies. The group has toured extensively and recorded numerous albums, both live and in the studio. In October 1969, Yarrow married Mary Beth McCarthy. He has two adult children. In 2000, he founded Operation Respect.

On behalf of Operation Respect, Yarrow has appeared, ''pro bono'', in areas as diverse as Hong Kong, Vietnam, Bermuda, Croatia, South Africa, Egypt, Argentina and Canada. In all, the program has been presented to many educational leaders and more than 10 million children. In some form, the project has reached nearly 1/3 of all elementary and middle schools in America; at least 20,000 schools, in all.

In 2003, a Congressional resolution recognized Yarrow's achievements and those of Operation Respect. The Congressional Caucus gave him a standing ovation. In August, 2006, he met with representatives of 35 organizations, including the League of Cities, the Academy of Education, Americans for the Arts, and Newspapers in Education, to unite them in a commitment to “...shifting the American educational paradigm, to educating the whole child; not just in academics but in character, heart, social-emotional development. As we Jews say, `let him be a mensch first; everything else will work out'".

Yarrow has appeared as a performer on 61 various albums, including his daughter Bethany Yarrow's 2003 CD, ''Rock Island''.