Comment: Hanalei Bay, Hawaii, 1959? 1962?

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Hanalei Bay, Hawaii, 1959? 1962?

No Hanalei link for folk song ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’

The 1960s being what they were, however, any song based on oblique or allegorical lyrics was subject to reinterpretation as a "drug song," and so it was with "Puff." (For Peter, Paul & Mary, at least, the revelation that their song was "really" about marijuana came after the song had finished its chart run; other groups were not so fortunate, and accusations of "drug lyrics" caused some radio stations to ban songs such as the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" from their playlists.) "Puff" was an obvious name for a song about smoking pot; little Jackie Paper's surname referred to rolling papers; "autumn mist" was either clouds of marijuana smoke or a drug-induced state; the land of "Hanah Lee" was really the Hawaiian village of Hanalei, known for its particularly potent marijuana plants; and so on.

Leonard Lipton wrote the poem, "Puff the Magic Dragon, 1959:

["Puff" is about] loss of innocence, and having to face an adult world. It's surely not about drugs. I can tell you that at Cornell in 1959, no one smoked grass. I find the fact that people interpret it as a drug song annoying. It would be insidious to propagandize about drugs in a song for little kids.

Peter Yarrow (Leonard Lipton's college friend):

As the principal writer of the song, I can assure you it's a song about innocence lost. It's easier to interpret "The Star-Spangled Banner" as a drug song than "Puff, the Magic Dragon." This is just a funny rumor that was promulgated by Newsweek magazine [who ran a cover story about covert drug messages in pop music]. There is no basis for it. It's inane at this point and really unfortunate, because even in Hong Kong it's not played because of the allegation it's about drugs. But I assure you it's not.

When 'Puff' was written, I was too innocent to know about drugs. What kind of a mean spirited SOB would write a children's song with a covert drug message?

Mary Trebuchet "Peter, Paul & Mary" singers.

Peter wrote the song in 1958 [it was a poem written in 1959], and it is not about marijuana. Believe me, if he wanted to write a song about marijuana, he would have written a song about marijuana.

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul