News today that John Stewart of the Kingston Trio passed away yesterday at the age of 68 from a stroke or brain aneurysm.
While most well known for being the lead singer and Banjo player of the Kingston Trio, Stewart penned one of the greatest 60’s tune ever in Daydream Believer, recorded by The Monkees.
I was introduced to the Kingston Trio by my father. A quiet and introspective man, my Dad had really eclectic musical taste. In the early 60’s, he was big into Calypso-type music like Harry Belafonte and went on a Kingston Trio tangent for a while. I am truly amazed by this as I look back at my father listening to folk music and realize just how out of character it was.
But I digress….the original Kingston Trio, sans John Stewart, broke into the music industry their first unlikely hit of Tom Dooley. John Stewart joined The Kingston Trio in 1961 and played with them until they broke up in 1968, when the British Invasion began to take over the popular music space. From The Andy Williams Show in 1966:
Where Have All the Flowers Gone? AND Early Morning Rain
In the never ending merry-go-round that is music, Gordon Lightfoot actually wrote Early Morning Rain.
Final TV appearance
The Kingston Trio was a little bit of everything. Some Bluegrass, some Country, some Folk and some early Rock. Their rich harmonies and string instruments helped to set the foundations of the folk “scene” of the 60s and role models for folk and pop artists like Jim Croce, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and countless others.
It’s important to recognize these musical pioneers and to honor their memory when one passes. Perhaps the most fitting tribute to John Stewart can be found in The Kingston Trio’s own recording of Try To Remember: