Gil Turner

Folk music, Musical Artist

1933 –


Who is Gil Turner?

Gil Turner was an American folk singer-songwriter, magazine editor, Shakespearean actor, political activist, and for a time, a lay Baptist preacher. Turner was a prominent figure in the Greenwich Village scene of the early 1960s, where he was master of ceremonies at New York's leading folk music venue, Gerde's Folk City, as well as co-editor of the protest song magazine Broadside. He also wrote for Sing Out!, the quarterly folk music journal.

Turner was a founding member of The New World Singers in 1963 with Happy Traum and Bob Cohen. His most notable musical credit, however, was his association with Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind". He was both the first person to perform the song - at Gerde's on April 16, 1962, the night Dylan completed it - and with The New World Singers, the first to record it.

Turner wrote more than 100 songs. His best known include "Benny 'Kid' Paret", a protest song about a boxer who died in the ring, and "Carry It On", a Civil Rights anthem recorded by folk artists such as Judy Collins and Joan Baez. The song's title was used as the name of a 1970 documentary starring Baez and her husband at the time, draft resister David Harris.

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May 6, 1933
  • University of Bridgeport
Dec 31, 1969

on July 23, 2013


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