Peter, Paul and Mary released the single, “Puff The Magic Dragon” in 1963. It became a big hit for the folk trio, peaking at number two on the pop charts in spite of its being banned by several radio stations whose management figured that the song was about the illicit joys of smoking marijuana. The group denied this, saying: “It’s about a magic dragon named Puff.” “Puff” was followed by “Blowin’ in the Wind,” a song about trying to smoke pot on a stormy day, and “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” which is obviously a poorly disguised reference to getting high on the substance of your choice.
On this day eight years earlier, in 1955, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” by Bill Hayes, reached the number one spot on the pop music charts and stayed there for five weeks. The smash hit sold more than seven million records by several different artists. Coonskin caps were everywhere, and the words “born on a mountain top in Tennessee” on everyone’s lips – even though the next line “puffed a magic dragon when he was only three” was always bleeped.
Her own mother lived the latter years of her life in the horrible suspicion that electricity was dripping invisibly all over the house. – James Thurber