Monday, 31 December 2007

Lyric & their meanings Part 3 Puff the magic Dragon

This continuing story of song lyrics and there meaning in some of the worlds best loved songs.
Are they really as important as you make them out to be?

Puff the Magic Dragon- Peter, Paul & Mary (1963)

This song Puff The Magic Dragon has (unfairly) had a reputation ,built over the years, concerning its relationship with smoking dope, but if anyone looked hard enough they would discover it is just an innocent children’s song.
Back in 1958 Peter Yarrow before he was the Peter from Peter, Paul & Mary , while waiting in a friends room happened upon a short poem left on said friends typewriter The poem was left there by one Leonard Lipton while sitting in the mutual friends room earlier, Leonard as the story goes was feeling vulnerable and depressed now that he was at College and was missing his friends and the less responsible ways of his child hood and wasn’t coping with the pressures of growing up.
He just typed out some verse about the wonders of the imagination of young Yarrow was impressed by what he saw and the sentiment expressed within. He took the note added some extra lyrics and wrote a tune around it.
5 years later Yarrow was on a roll having become huge in folk music circles also becoming instrumental in kick starting Bob Dylan’s career when Peter, Paul & Mary successfully recorded his “Blowin’ In the Wind”
Yarrow tracked down Leonard Lipton and told him that he found his poem and even though he had embellished it and could have gotten away with it he gave Lipton song writing credit. A very honourable thing to do which made Lipton some serious cash.
The marijuana links are probably the same stoner crap that linked H.R Puff’n’stuff with smoking dope gaining popular myth status in the late 60’s and early to mid 70’s.
The song was a very popular children’s song from the start and is still popular with pre school children today, though as a folk standard it is not that popular.

© Shidot Prod. 2005

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