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Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?

DigiTrad:
PUFF, THE MAGIC DRAGON


Related threads:
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Lyr Req: Puff the Magic Dragon (Vietnam parody) (12)
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Lyr Req: Poof the Magic Barman (7)
Lyr Req: Puff the Magic Dragon (parody) (32)
Lyr Req: Puff the Kosher Dragon (12)
Puff the Dragon on Pot? (68)
Lyr Add: Flush the Magic Toilet (7)


lousi chu 17 Aug 97 - 06:01 AM
Ralph Butts 17 Aug 97 - 08:09 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 17 Aug 97 - 10:58 PM
Gene 18 Aug 97 - 12:09 AM
Bill 18 Aug 97 - 02:36 AM
Joybell 13 Dec 03 - 07:01 AM
Joe Offer 13 Dec 03 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,Penny 10 Dec 06 - 06:50 AM
oldhippie 10 Dec 06 - 08:13 AM
jacqui.c 10 Dec 06 - 08:22 AM
oldhippie 10 Dec 06 - 11:04 AM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 10 Dec 06 - 11:42 AM
M.Ted 10 Dec 06 - 12:05 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 10 Dec 06 - 12:11 PM
rhythmn 06 Sep 09 - 07:35 PM
Barbara 06 Sep 09 - 07:55 PM
Charley Noble 06 Sep 09 - 07:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Sep 09 - 09:33 PM
Bryn Pugh 07 Sep 09 - 04:18 AM
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Subject: the author of the
From: lousi chu
Date: 17 Aug 97 - 06:01 AM

I remember that the author of the "puff magic dragon" was the "brother's four", but i can't find other songs written by them, i want to listen to their songs. anyone who can tell me?


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Subject: RE: the author of the
From: Ralph Butts
Date: 17 Aug 97 - 08:09 AM

"Puff" was written by Leonard Lipton.

I doubt the Brothers Four ever wrote anything. They covered everybody else.....Tiger


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Subject: RE: the author of the
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 17 Aug 97 - 10:58 PM

Wasn't it Peter, Paul and Mary?


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Subject: RE: the author of the
From: Gene
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 12:09 AM

http://www.ascap.com lists the authors as below:

PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON (Tcode: 460094906)

Writer(s) YARROW PETER/ LIPTON LEONARD

http://www.bmi.com lists the author as unknown.


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Subject: RE: the author of the
From: Bill
Date: 18 Aug 97 - 02:36 AM

Howdy Lousi,

I seem to recall Peter Yarrow telling in a concert one time about how he and a college classmate (Leonard Lipton) had written this while at college. I'm probably making things up and adding to folklore, but I thought I remembered him saying that they skipped class (or even missed a test) to do it. He also strongly described it as just a children's song with no other hidden meaning (as he has many times over the years). I am fairly sure that the Brothers Four and others covered it. I can't recall any songs that the Brothers Four did that were written by them, but that doesn't say there weren't any.

Allinkausay,
Bill


Messages from multiple threads combined. Messages below are from a new thread.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: Joybell
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 07:01 AM

Joybell's old man here: Sometime in 1962 i was in bernie krause's apartment in cambridge, mass. he said he had written a song for a children's party. he sang it, and it was "Puff the Magic Dragon", substantially the same as the song copyrighted by Yarrow and Lipton in 1963. any comments?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Dec 03 - 07:25 AM

Hi, Joybell's Old Man - I posted the following in another thread. Since it was a general thread rather than one about Puff himself, maybe it's a good idea to post it here, too. I wish I had documented my sources better back then, but I was just learning. The site where I got the information is dead. This page says the information came from Tom Simon (tsimon@crl.com), but I don't know if Simon was the original source
-Joe Offer-

Thread #2804   Message #12416
Posted By: Joe Offer
17-Sep-97 - 04:23 PM
Thread Name: The Story BEHIND the song!
Subject: The Story BEHIND the song: Puff the Magic Dragon

Here's the basic story of "Puff."

Lenny Lipton grew up in Brooklyn. In 1958 he graduated from high school and headed off to college at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. Lenny came to the realization that he was not a little kid anymore and never would be; that made him sad.

One night in the Spring of 1959 Lenny headed for the Cornell library. He had just turned nineteen. He found a book of poems by Ogden Nash, one of which discussed a Really-o Truly-o Dragon. After he was finished he left the library, walked down the hill from Cornell into the town of Ithaca, and went to visit his friend Lenny Edelstein. The two friends were supposed to have dinner together that night.

No one was at home, but the door was unlocked so Lenny Lipton let himself in; this was not an uncommon practice in Ithaca in the late 50's. Lenny was thinking again about the loss of his carefree childhood days, and he was inspired by the poems he had been reading earlier in the evening. He sat down at the typewriter of Edelstein's roommate, Peter, and decided to write a poem of his own. He wrote for about three minutes and felt somewhat soothed. He left the poem in Peter's typewriter, and then left.

Peter returned and saw the sheet of paper in the typewriter. He was a singer/performer/concert organizer around Ithaca, in addition to being an undergraduate and doing some teaching. He liked what he saw and put some music to it, and later began to use it in some of his performances.

Peter later joined a group and used the song. It became more and more popular, and eventually the group recorded it. Within a few years it had become a top ten pop song. Peter went back and tracked down Lenny Lipton, who was by that time a counselor at a summer camp. Peter added Lenny Lipton's name as a co-writer, and Lipton has done well with the royalties he has received ever since.

Peter was Peter Yarrow, and his group was Peter, Paul and Mary. The song, which reached number 2 on the charts early in 1963, was Puff The Magic Dragon. According to Lenny Lipton, it is a simple, sentimental song about the loss of childhood and nothing more.

For more information, including comments about the allegation this song was about marijuana, check this URL:

http://www.visi.com/~damsel/Puff.html

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: GUEST,Penny
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 06:50 AM

I think it was Paul, Peter and Mary


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: oldhippie
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 08:13 AM

Are there any other parodys to "Puff" or songs using the tune, other than Ethan Daniel Davidson's "GTMDQ" (Gus The Magic Drag Queen)?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 08:22 AM

I've got this one, but would love the one you mentioned, Old Hippie.

FLUSH THE MAGIC TOILET

Flush was a magic toilet the finest in the land with golden bells and cherubs all around his ornate pan

His pipes were made of silver his cistern was the same and down came crystal waters when you pulled that golden chain

Oh Flush the magic toilet lived by the sea and flourished in the autumn mist in a land called Peterlee

Flush the magic toilet flowed into the sea polluting all the beaches for the folks like you and me


Little Suzie Snodgrass used Flush everyday, she'd sit on him for hours just to pass the time away

She'd talk to him of wondrous things and marvelled at his wit and brought him tins of Harpic every time she had a sit

Oh Flush the magic toilet lived by the sea and flourished in the autumn mist in a land called Peterlee

Flush the magic toilet flowed into the sea polluting all the beaches for the folks like you and me


Little Suzie Snodgrass adored that magic loo and Flush loved little Suzie with a passion deep and true

He'd sit there in his little hut and wait for her to come and how his pipes would tremble at the touch of Suzie's bum

Oh Flush the magic toilet lived by the sea and flourished in the autumn mist in a land called Peterlee

Flush the magic toilet flowed into the sea polluting all the beaches for the folks like you and me


Flush lived in this little hut outside Suzie's door but chill November's icy winds they made poor Suzie sore

With chillblanes on her backside and frostbite in her hands she got herself an indoor loo with a centrally heated pan

Oh Flush the magic toilet lived by the sea and flourished in the autumn mist in a land called Peterlee

Flush the magic toilet flowed into the sea polluting all the beaches for the folks like you and me


Flush was so broken hearted when he found he'd lost a friend

Took and overdose of Harpic and went clean around the bend and then one chilly winter's night

Flush it's sad to say climbed into his own sewerage pipe and flushed himself away

Oh Flush the magic toilet lived by the sea and flourished in the autumn mist in a land called Peterlee

Flush the magic toilet flowed into the sea polluting all the beaches for the folks like you and me


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: oldhippie
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 11:04 AM

Cute one, Jacqui!

GUS THE MAGIC DRAG QUEEN
(Modern Love)
Ethan Daniel Davidson

Gus the magic drag queen lived in 5-C
And he frolicked in the local bars in a dress by Versace
Little Jackie Paper was a poor, young, lonely lad
And his skills at attracting the female sex really were quite bad
Jack came from the suburbs, hadn't seen too much
He didn't know from rubber breasts, which felt real to his touch

Oh Gus the magic drag queen lived in 5-C
And he frolicked in the local bars in a dress by Versace

One night Jack was drinking
at the Judy Garland pub
When Gus waltzed in like Joan Crawford
and Jack fell hard in love
When he saw this fair creature,
he thought he'd take a chance
So Jack bought his love a Chardonnay
and asked Gus for a dance

Oh Gus the magic drag queen lived in 5-C
And he always wore Lee Press-On Breasts and his purse was by Gucci

Well I guess you know where this is going
considering what this song's abou
t And well I guess Gus wasn't gussied up enough
and so Jack soon found him ou
t And I guess if there's a moral
it's that love can be confusing in our modern world
So you can imagine Gus's great surprise
when he found out that Jack was really a girl

Yes, Jack the lonely drag king lived by the sea
And she frequented the local bars in a suit by Armani
Jack was born a female and had been so all her life
But she dressed like a man and acted like a man and had been looking for a wife
So it didn't work out between Gus and Jack,
though they have remained as close friends
Jack lives alone by the side of the sea,
and Gus married an Oakland Raiders tight end

Gus the magic drag queen lived in 5-C
And he frequented the local bars in a dress by Versace

Gus the magic drag queen lived in 5-C
And she frequented the local bars in a dress by Versace


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 11:42 AM

When my son began elementary-aged Sunday school (Reform Jewish), the kids had a brief religious service and song session each week which parents could also join. One very popular song was "Puff the Kosher Dragon". I don't remember any of the words except, "Little Rabbi Goldberg loved that rascal, Puff".

The next year our rabbi went on sabbatical, and his substitute was a rabbi from a nearby city: a Rabbi Goldberg, who was about 5 feet tall. The kids didn't ask for the song that year. (this said by a 4'11" person).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 12:05 PM

Here are the lyrics--from the band Ruach--the melody to "Puff" is nearly identical to that of "It's Almost Tomorrow", which had been a number one hit in 1955 --originally by "The Dreamweavers", two members of which, Gene Adkinson and Wade Buff, wrote it. The mood is the same, and, if you play the PP&M recording next to the Dreamweavers recording, it is truly eerie.

PUFF THE KOSHER DRAGON

CHORUS:
Puff the kosher dragon lived in Palestine,
And frolicked in the synagogue and drank Israeli wine.
Little Rabbi Goldberg loved that kosher Puff,
And fed him lox and matzo balls and other kosher stuff.

Then one day it happened Puff was eating pork
So little Rabbi Goldberg took that dragon for a walk.
Gently he explained that dragons don't eat meat
That comes from little piggies who have dirty filthy feet.

CHORUS

Then Puff became Barmitzvah, laid tefillin every day
Wrapped up in his tallit, that's the way he used to pray.
Made brochot before eating, benched after every meal
Imagine how religious it made that dragon feel.

CHORUS

Now Puff the kosher dragon found himself a bride;
Now little kosher dragons are his source of joy and pride.
They'll grow up doing mitzvot, learning Torah, praying too
And little Rabbi Goldberg teaches them what they should do.

CHORUS

Oh, you who may be listening may think I'm making fun
But deep down in this story is a moral for everyone.
If Puff can wear kippah, keep Torah and kosher too,
Then you can learn like Puff did how to be a real Jew.

CHORUS


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 10 Dec 06 - 12:11 PM

Thanks guys. All of those parodies are here in the Forum. Check some of the other threads for some of the other parodies as well. Check the links up at the top, as I think all of the Puff threads are there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: rhythmn
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 07:35 PM

Well done Joe and that is all true....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: Barbara
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 07:55 PM

I didn't know till I read Joe's old post above that one of my favorite favorite childhood poems was part of the inspiration for Puff. So I take this opportunity to refresh my memory and share with you
THE TALE OF CUSTARD THE DRAGON
By Ogden Nash

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pyrate.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 07:57 PM

Great story, Joe.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Sep 09 - 09:33 PM

This just encapsulates briefly the post by Joe Offer, but mis-information continues to appear on the internet.

"Puff the Magic Dragon"
ASCAP Title Code 460094906
Co-authors Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow.

The single issued by Peter, Paul and Mary was first entitled "Puff."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Who REALLY wrote Puff?
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 07 Sep 09 - 04:18 AM

Even if you had, would you admit it ?


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