Paul Stookey

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Paul Stookey
Stookey (left) as part of Peter, Paul and Mary.
Background information
Birth name Noel Paul Stookey
Also known as Paul Stookey, Noel Stookey
Born (1937-12-30) December 30, 1937 (age 81)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Genres Folk[1]
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Guitar
Years active 1950s–present
Associated acts Peter, Paul and Mary 1961-1970 & 1978-2008, Peter and Noel Paul 2009-present
Notable instruments
"Sebastian", a casket-style twelve-string guitar built by Maine luthier, Nikos Apollonio,[2] "Benjamin", a "bell-style" twelve-string guitar also built by Nikos Apollonio[citation needed]

Noel Paul Stookey (born December 30, 1937) is an American singer-songwriter, known as Paul in the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. He took the stage name "Paul" as part of the trio Peter, Paul and Mary, but he has been known as Noel (his first name) otherwise, throughout his life. Since the death of Mary Travers, he has continued to work as a solo singer and activist.[3]


Early life

Stookey was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His family moved to Birmingham, Michigan when he was about 12. Stookey graduated from Birmingham High School (now Seaholm High School) in 1955.

Stookey is an alumnus of Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Michigan. While attending MSU, he joined Delta Upsilon fraternity.[citation needed] Though he credits a deep spiritual core for his work, Stookey "dispelled reports that he was born a Buddhist, saying his mother was a Roman Catholic and his dad was an ex-Mormon" and recalling the family's "eclectic attendance at church. I had no real spiritual sense until I was 30.'"[4]

Music career

As Paul in the Peter, Paul and Mary trio, he participated in one of the best known mass media ensembles of the 1960s phase of the American folk music revival, and included some of his solo songs and extended monologues in their performances and recordings.

In addition to his recordings with the trio, he released a number of solo works, several albums with the ensemble Bodyworks, and some anthologies. He was an important artist in the young Jesus music movement, which would later bloom into the Christian music industry, although his generally liberal political views distinguish him from many such artists.

In 1986, Stookey teamed up with Jim Newton, Paul G. Hill and Denny Bouchard at Celebration Shop in Texas. The company, now known as Hugworks,[5] uses original musical compositions as music therapy to address the special needs of children. The company has produced three award-winning children's CDs used in hospitals, medical camps and homes across the country.

After Peter, Paul and Mary

Paul performed as a member of Peter, Paul and Mary until the death of Mary in September 2009. His work after Peter, Paul and Mary has emphasized his Christian faith, family life and social concerns. He remains active in the music industry, performing as a solo act.

In January 2011, Stookey participated in several events at Dartmouth College that celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., including "Music for Social Change with Noel Paul Stookey and Company." [6][7]


His best-known composition is "The Wedding Song (There is Love)", which charted in 1971 and remains popular for performance during wedding services. He wrote the song as a wedding gift for Peter Yarrow, and refused to perform it for the public until Yarrow requested it at a concert where his wife was present.[8] Stookey assigned the copyright to this song to the Public Domain Foundation.


He also has production credits on albums by several lesser-known singer-songwriters, including Dave Mallett and Gordon Bok. He was the founder of the Neworld Multimedia record label.

Personal life

Stookey married Elizabeth "Betty" Bannard in 1963; they have three daughters.[9] After raising their family in Blue Hill, Maine, the couple lived for several years in Massachusetts while Betty served as the Northfield Mount Hermon School chaplain. In 2005 they returned to Maine. Stookey records in his private studio—a converted chicken coop—on his Maine property.[10]

Stookey is a born again Christian.[citation needed] He does not sing songs that interfere with his faith.[citation needed]

Charting Single - Billboard (North America)

Release Single Chart Position Chart Position
July 31, 1971 "The Wedding Song (There Is Love)" Pop Singles 24 Adult Contemporary 3


Year Title Record Label
2012 The Cabin Fever Waltz (EP with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra) Neworld Multimedia
2012 One & Many Neworld Multimedia
2012 Cue the Moon (digital download EP) Neworld Multimedia
2012 Capricious Bird (digital download EP) Neworld Multimedia
2012 One Voice and One Guitar (digital download EP) Neworld Multimedia
2007 Facets Neworld Multimedia
2004 Virtual Party Neworld Multimedia
2002 Circuit Rider (A Noel Paul Stookey / Bodyworks compilation) Neworld Multimedia
2001 There Is Love (A Holiday Music Celebration) with Michael Kelly Blanchard Neworld Multimedia
1990 In Love Beyond Our Lives (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Gold Castle
1985 State Of The Heart (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Newpax
1984 There Is Love (A Noel Paul Stookey Anthology) Newpax
1982 Wait'll You Hear This (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Newpax
1979 Band & Bodyworks (Noel Paul Stookey/ Bodyworks) Neworld
1977 Something New And Fresh Neworld
1977 Real To Reel Neworld
1973 One Night Stand Warner Bros.
1971 Paul And Warner Bros
1954 "The Birds Fly Home (The Birds of Paradise, Stookey's high school band)" Independent release


  1. "Noel Paul Stookey". Retrieved 2009-10-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. ca. 1967
  3. "performances". Noel Paul Stookey. Retrieved 2012-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Stookey to debut song written for POPS". Kingfield, Maine Irregular. June 27, 2012. Missing or empty |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Retrieved 7-20-12.
  5. Hugworks website
  6. "Music for Social Change with Noel Paul Stookey and Company." at the Wayback Machine (archived January 17, 2011), January 2011 (archived January 2011)
  7. "Peter, Paul & Mary's Noel Paul Stookey Headlines Events January 22". 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2012-02-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. NPR interview broadcast August 30, 2008
  9. Paul Stookey. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  10. Folk icon Paul Stookey records in Gorham

External links