Peter, Paul and Mary's self-titled 1962 debut on Warner Bros. Records, a stunning oasis of content in a sea of musical fluff, brought folk music of consciousness and concern to the top of the charts. Fueled by the enormous hits "Lemon Tree" and "If I Had a Hammer" (which enjoyed a second life as an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement), the album went straight to #1, remaining in the Billboard Top 10 for 10 months and in the Top 20 for two years on the way to a remarkable three-and-a-half year run on the album chart. This success marked the beginning of an incredibly fertile and influential time for the group, and for the contemporary urban folk tradition they personified.
This was the group's biggest selling studio album, eventually certified Double Platinum by the RIAA for US sales of more than 2 million copies. At the Grammy Awards of 1963, their recording of "If I Had a Hammer" won the Best Folk Recording and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Grammies.