The group began its career in 1961, playing in the Bitter End, a coffee shop in New York City's Greenwich Village. They recorded their first album, Peter, Paul and Mary, the following year. The album was listed on Billboard Magazine Top Ten list for ten months and in the top one hundred for over three years.
By 1963, they had recorded three albums, released the now-famous song "Puff the Magic Dragon," which Yarrow originally wrote in 1958, and performed another major hit, their cover of "If I Had a Hammer" at the March on Washington, best remembered for Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr's famous speech, "I Have a Dream." For many years after, the group was at the forefront of the civil rights movement and other causes promoting social justice. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.