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 band Peter, Paul, and Mary, and as an independent musician who passionately believes in bringing the spiritual into the practice of daily life.
Stookey grew up in the Midwest and moved to New York City when he was 20. That’s where he found “Peter” and “Mary,” and a career that took on a life of its own. Their first album topped the charts, where it stayed for two years. Since then, Stookey has 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 songs “If I Had a Hammer” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
After a profound spiritual experience in the late ’60s, Noel Paul Stookey realized the hectic performance schedule of the trio left neither space in which to explore the depths of conscience that tugged at him, nor time with his family. In 1970, the group took a sabbatical, before reuniting almost a decade later with a markedly more reasonable schedule.
By then, Noel Paul Stookey’s solo voice was firmly established, writing and performing music that addresses social change while speaking of and to the soul; fusing jazz improvisation and insightful folk lyrics. The political, sociopolitical, spiritual, and cultural dynamics of life’s stories continue to drive his songs.
Noel Paul Stookey has recorded more than 45 albums, both as part of the legendary trio and as a soloist. In addition to his performance life, Stookey oversees Neworld Multimedia, presenting new artists and creating children’s TV shows and music. The royalties from his classic “Wedding Song” go to the Public Domain Foundation, where nearly $2 million has been put to work for charitable causes.