Puff the Magic Dragon

Photos: quirkyberkeley.com/ pennyblackmusic.co_.uk
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Puff, the Magic Dragon” is a song written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow, the song was made popular by Yarrow’s group Peter, Paul and Mary.

The lyrics for “Puff, the Magic Dragon” were based on a 1959 poem by Leonard Lipton, a 19-year-old Cornell University student. Furthermore, Lipton was inspired by an Ogden Nash poem titled “Custard the Dragon”, about a “realio, trulio little pet dragon.”

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In 1961, Yarrow joined Paul Stookey and Mary Travers to form Peter, Paul and Mary. The group incorporated the song into their live performances before recording it in 1962; their 1962 recording of “Puff” reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and spent two weeks atop the Billboard easy listening chart in early 1963. It also reached number ten on Billboard’s R&B chart.

After the song’s initial success, speculation arose — as early as a 1964 article in Newsweek — that the song contained veiled references to smoking marijuana.The word “paper” in the name of Puff’s human friend (Jackie Paper) was said to be a reference to rolling papers, and the word “dragon” was interpreted as “draggin’,” i.e. inhaling smoke; similarly, the name “Puff” was alleged to be a reference to taking a “puff” on a joint. The supposition was claimed to be common knowledge in a letter by a member of the public to The New York Times in 1984.

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The authors of the song have repeatedly rejected this urban legend and have strongly and consistently denied that they intended any references to drug use  Furthermore in 1976, Yarrow’s bandmate Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary also upheld the song’s innocence.

credit:wikipedia.com

“Puff the Magic Dragon”

Written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow whene’r they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name. oh!

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Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Dragons live forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant strings make way for other toys.
One sad night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

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