Obituaries: Mary Travers, Jim Carroll, Juanita Brooks, Sam Carr, Pierre Cossette and Bob Greenberg

Mary Travers, one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, died Sept. 16. Travers, who battled leukemia for several years, was 72.

Travers joined forces with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey in the early 1960s. The trio mingled their music with liberal politics, both onstage and off. Their version of “If I Had a Hammer” became an anthem for racial equality. Other hits included “Lemon Tree,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Puff (The Magic Dragon).” The group collected five Grammy Awards over the course of their career.

Rhino Entertainment’s Web site posted statements from Yarrow and Stookey following Travers’ death.

Yarrow said, “In her final months, Mary handled her declining health in the bravest, most generous way imaginable. She never complained. She avoided expressing her emotional and physical distress, trying not to burden those of us who loved her, especially her wonderfully caring and attentive husband, Ethan.

“I have no idea what it will be like to have no Mary in my world, in my life, or on stage to sing with. But I do know there will be a hole in my heart, a place where she will always exist that will never be filled by any other person. However painful her passing is, I am forever grateful for Mary and her place in my life.”

“As a partner … she could be vexing and vulnerable in the same breath,” Stookey said. “As a friend she shared her concerns freely and without reservation. As an activist, she was brave, outspoken and inspiring — especially in her defense of the defenseless. And as a performer, her charisma was a barely contained nervous energy — occasionally (and then only privately) revealed as stage fright.

“Her illness softened her outlook considerably. Her work, her life and friends became more and more precious. I am deadened and heartsick beyond words to consider a life without Mary Travers and honored beyond my wildest dreams to have shared her spirit and her career.”

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Jim Carroll, the poet and punk rocker who wrote “The Basketball Diaries,” died Sept. 11. He was 60.

In the 1970s, Carroll was a fixture of the burgeoning downtown New York art scene, where he mixed with artists such as Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Larry Rivers and Robert Mapplethorpe. His life was shaped by drug use, which he wrote about extensively.

With Smith, who encouraged his music, he formed the Jim Carroll Band. His 1980 album Catholic Boy has been hailed as a landmark punk record, and he became known for one of its songs, “People Who Died.”

• • •

New Orleans blues and jazz singer Juanita Brooks, who performed at popular clubs in her hometown and all over the world, died Sept. 10 at the age of 55.

• • •

Blues drummer Sam Carr died Sept. 21 at age 83.

Carr had a reputation as one of the best blues drummers in the country, but he made his living in the Mississippi Delta where he was raised.

At one time or another, Carr had backed big names like Sonny Boy Williamson II and Buddy Guy. He also formed the Jellyroll Kings in the early ’60s.

• • •


Pierre Cossette
, who founded the modern Grammy Awards and produced the globally televised music awards ceremony for 35 years, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 11. He was 85.

In its early years, the Grammy show was an hour-long compilation of recorded performances, and it was not a commercial success. When the production rights became available in 1971, Cossette had the ambitious idea to turn the show into a grand musical showcase full of live performances and eventually succeeded in convincing the networks to follow his vision.

• • •

Music-industry executive Bob Greenberg died Sept. 11 after suffering a stroke the day before. He was 75.

Greenberg’s career in the music business included posts at Warner Brothers, Atlantic Records, Mirage Records and United Artists Records, where he worked with such artists as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Foreigner, AC/DC and ABBA.

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One thought on “Obituaries: Mary Travers, Jim Carroll, Juanita Brooks, Sam Carr, Pierre Cossette and Bob Greenberg

  1. I may be a few cards short of a full deck, but for the longest time I have been thinking that perhaps the nicest thing we could do for the poor populace in Africa would be to wipe out all the dangerous wild life. Africa is full of lions, elephants, hyenas, hippos, black mambas and many other dangerous animals. All of these animals must force people away from enormous amounts of resources as well as making life excedingly dangerous. How free can poor subsistence farmers become bigger when even moving around the country is inhibited by an open zoo? I would also knock off every crocodile on earth too (two legs good; four legs bad). They are a danger to children (probably not you) and goats that the farmers might own. Think of how much more money you could make if domesticated herds could use the same vast natural resources used by useless to poor people’s wild herds and their natural predators. I am completely serious about this even if I might be crazy, ill informed, or both.

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