NOEL PAUL STOOKEY
IF I HAD A HAMMER
THE WEDDING SONG ('THERE IS LOVE')
Singer/songwriter Noel Paul Stookey has been altering both the musical and ethical landscape of this country and the world for decades—both as the “Paul” of the legendary Peter, Paul and Mary and as an independent musician who passionately believes in bringing the spiritual into the practice of daily life. Funny, irreverently reverent, thoughtful, compassionately passionate, Stookey’s voice is known all across this land: from the 'Wedding Song' to 'In These Times'.
While acknowledging his history and meaningful association with Peter and Mary, Stookey has stepped beyond the nostalgia of the folk era. Whether judged by the subject matter of his current concerts and recorded repertoire or by virtue of his active involvement with the Music2Life initiative (www.music2life.org) linking music fans to the expression of contemporary concerns via different artists and musical genres, Stookey's current musical outlook continues to be fresh, optimistic and encouraging.
Born December 30, 1937, Stookey grew up in the Midwest where he played electric guitar in his high school rock ’n’ roll band (the Birds of Paradise) and hung out at an R&B record shop listening to groups like the Drifters, the Platters, and Cadillacs. When he moved to New York City at 20, he was looking for independence but found Peter and Mary and a career that took on a life of its own when their first album shot to the top of the charts and stayed on the charts for two years. He's performed in intimate coffeehouses, at the White House, and in massive stadiums. At the 1963 March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, Peter, Paul and Mary delivered the compelling “If I Had a Hammer” and “Blowin’ in the Wind”.
Stookey’s sound has been shaped by huge cities,the smallest hamlets of the Heartland, housing projects, coastal Maine villages, towns up and down the Mississippi, and by his search for a common language that enables everyone no matter their origins and experiences to communicate with each other and celebrate the mystery of life.
Noel Paul Stookey has recorded nearly 50 albums, both as part of the legendary trio and as a soloist, with royalties from his classic 'Wedding Song' donated to the Public Domain Foundation, where nearly $2 million has been put to work for charitable causes.