Peter Yarrow lauds '60s, thrills Old Cabell

news-peteryarrowYarrow told the audience that Old Cabell's acoustics were "really phenomenal."

Peter Yarrow kicked off a decade-long celebration of the 1960s by asserting that they're still relevant–- now more than ever.

"This nation doesn't examine its conscience," the 71-year-old singer/activist told a near-capacity crowd at the kick-off event for what organizer Larry Sabato hopes will be a 10-year assemblage of speakers and events throughout this decade taking note of the seminal '60s that have begun turning 50.

Yarrow regaled the mostly gray-haired crowd in UVA's premiere concert hall with as many stories as songs, like the one about being on stage as part of chart-topping folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary with Martin Luther King Jr. for King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

"Mary took my hand and said, 'We are living history, Peter,'" the performer said. "And she was so right."

A moment earlier, Yarrow stopped himself mid-song to feign amazement as a large orb of light–- someone's idea of restrained '60s special effects–- panned across the ceiling of the neoclassical concert hall.

Yarrow noted that Old Cabell's acoustics were so good–- "really phenomenal"–- that he didn't really need the microphone. Yet he didn't sing his greatest hit, "Puff, the Magic Dragon," at least not until afterward, when a 10-year old girl appeared backstage bearing her dad's 45rpm record, and he sang a few lines for her.

During the concert, Yarrow debunks the legend that he embedded secret marijuana meanings in the "Puff" lyrics (e.g. "little Jackie Paper"), which falls flat on the reality of his own square upbringing. He said he was just 22 when he co-wrote "Puff."

"Later, I could have written the song," he told the crowd, "but at the time I didn't have the information."

Read more on: larry sabatoPeter Yarrow


Yarrow really needs a handler who is willing to tell him when to stop. He went on and on in an embarrassing way until this child of the 60's had to bolt. He turned what could have been an enjoyable evening into a painful one.

Run this lib out of town

I submit that the proper subject is not nostalgia, nor decades as metaphors but instead whether, indeed, the teetering Republic will once again, by led to examine itself. Deeply. Stop and move beyond immediate salvation and infantile protest grok feel goods - into some form of days, or even weeks of truly resting, desisting, and contemplating as a Sabaath, holy day, or Jubilee was originally intended. Contemplating and in contrition -- ablutions, abolitions, reconciliations, and forms of debt forgiveness and alleviation.

I will again state that something is deeply wrong and that we might do well to intend to end our consent to violence and the culture of depravity, each in our own way. And even consider a collective praying and spiritual working to clear the malevolence that has overtaken the Republic with its embrace of fear-based rule, inhumane, even inelegant national security state power at the expense of self interest rightly understood and doing good for its own sake.

It was a wonderful evening! People were tearing up, becoming emotional for "Blowing in the Wind" and the medley of freedom songs and spirituals.
If this is "addled thinking" maybe we could use a lot more of it, of the message of peace and love and caring for one another. Maybe then tragedies like the one that has just occurred in the University community would not be happening.
The 60s had its good, and its bad . The unfortunate thing is that the best of it got thwarted and forgotten. People forgot their dreams of bringing about a better world, of loving the "things they stood for" as expressed in another anthem of the time "Abraham, Martin, and John."

What I loved most about the evening was Peter's message, still as positive and upbeat as ever, that by marrying an opening of the heart to a change of policy - we can change the world for the better. To that end, he is now touring with his campaign against bullying; teaching tolerance and understanding to school children all over the world.

Below is the link to his heart opening, mind altering new song, "Don't Laugh At Me", and the curricula, for what he compares, to a movement equal in importance to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's.


I appreciated the evening. I am happy to see that someone continues to believe the world can live in peace and prosperity with justice, when the evidence continues to point to the otherwise. Puff the Magic Dragon may mean marijuana to many people, but it represents a helicopter gunship to me; Vietnam
66-67. I continue to believe that someone has to say enough is enough.

I lived through the '60s as an idealistic liberal college student. The truth is that aside from the civil rights victories the decade sucked big time. The addled thinking of people like Yarrow, who have not yet grown up to live in the real world, has done damage to this country that can never be calculated.

Glad he set folks straight on Puff.

Should be on the Sex Offender list too................