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Let’s take a trip with some mind-expanding songs …
‘La Cuccaracha’ is on my Don’t Bug Me playlist, but it also belongs here. It’s about a cockroach who has run out of marijuana. Perhaps this is the origin of the word ‘roach’ meaning a joint? Now that marijuana has been legalized in some states, the cockroaches should be happy! The song’s origin can’t be traced to an exact date. There have been countless performances by popular artist such as Louis Armstrong, Liberace, and Bill Haley & His Comets. There are many different lyrics written before and after the Mexican Revolution, but the most popular verse is:
La cucaracha, la cucaracha / Ya no puede caminar
Porque no tiene / porque le falta / Marihuana que fumar
The cockroach, the cockroach / Can’t walk anymore
Because it doesn’t have, because it’s lacking Marijuana to smoke.
Here’s a great version by the Gipsy Kings:
Woody Guthrie recorded ‘Cocaine Blues’ in 1944. This was a reworking of a traditional song called ‘Little Sadie’. Johnny Cash performed ‘Cocaine Blues’ during his famous Folsom Prison concert in 1968. It also appeared on his album Now, There Was a song! in 1960 where it was titled ‘Transfusion Blues’. The line “took a shot of cocaine” was replaced by “took a transfusion.” Cash also recorded ‘Cocaine Blues’ for his 1979 album Silver.
A song about an aphrodisiac, ‘Love Potion Number 9’ by Lieber and Stoller was originally by The Clovers in 1959. The Searchers made it a hit in 1964. A drink of the stuff prescribed by a gypsy causes a guy to kiss everything in sight. When he kisses a cop, that’s the end of his romantic night!
Bo Diddley’s 1961 single ‘Pills’ (with risqué lyrics about a “rock n’ roll nurse goin’ right to my head”) was covered by The New York Dolls on their debut solo album in 1973. The Dolls version is much faster, and the harmonica rocks!
Listen – Bo Diddley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWbB_vStX_8
Listen – The New York Dolls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3eZuKF_xgE
The Pretty Things took us on a trip with ‘£.s.d’ (a twist on British coinage; pounds, shillings and pence)in 1965. The riffs on this remind me of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘Heart Full of Soul’. It’s the b-side of their 1966 single ‘Come See Me’.
Bob Dylan’s ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ is sung to the tune of a seemingly drunken marching band. Released in May 1966, it was Dylan’s follow-up to the single ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. The single version (which reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart) was edited to 2:26. On his Blonde On Blonde album, it is the opening track at its full length (4:33). The song’s title allegedly references the King James Bible: “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”
Dylan playfully references the act of being stoned for heroism, protestation or for sins, but his repeated line ‘Everybody must get stoned’ became the anthem of every hippie. Dylan claims to have never written a song about drugs, but this one certainly comes close!
Jackie Wilson recorded the R&B hit ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’ in the summer of 1967.
In The Velvet Underground song ‘Heroin’ (on their debut album in 1967) Lou Reed longs for an escape to another place and time, away from all the evils in the city. He tries to reach ‘the kingdom’ in this epic song on the band’s 1967 debut album. It sonically veers from the drone of depression to the throes of elation – taking us along on the journey of his highs and lows.
I wish that I was born a thousand years ago / I wish that I’d sailed the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship / Going from this land here to that / I put on a sailor’s suit and cap…
“‘Heroin,’ to me, is one of our more perfect American songs because it addresses a very conflicting subject that has so many stigmas attached to it. It addresses the deeply painful and destructive elements of it, and also whatever is precious about it, just with Lou’s beautiful, simple, direct language.”
– Patti Smith
Also on the Velvets’ first album in 1967 is ‘I’m Waiting For the Man’ which paints a picture of a guy waiting for his drug dealer on Lexington Avenue and 125th Street – who is of course always late. $26 could buy you enough drugs back then. Almost all The Velvet Underground band members recorded solo versions of this song; Lou Reed, John Cale, Nico, and Maureen Tucker. David Bowie loved it so much that after hearing an advance acetate of the album, he performed the song live before the Velvets ever did.
The Velvets’ second album took us on an amphetamine rush with ‘White Light/White Heat’. The title track celebrates a methamphetamine rush, healing and also White Magic. Even a straight person could feel the drug rush and release mentally, physically and metaphysically through the steady, pounding beat, glorious dissonance and frantic guitar.
Specifically, ‘White Light/White Heat’ is often assumed to be about the exhilarating effects of crystal methedrine amphetamines, and Reed does say the song ‘is about amphetamines’ in his 1971 interview with Metropolitan Review. But an equally likely, and perhaps more interesting, inspiration is Alice Bailey’s 1934 occult book A Treatise on White Magic. It advises control of the astral body by a “direct method of relaxation, concentration, stillness and flushing the entire personality with pure White Light, including instructions on how to ‘call down a stream of pure White Light.’”
See my story all about the album White Light/White Heat.
Jimi Hendrix declares that ‘Purple Haze’ from his 1967 debut album Are You Experienced? was supposedly not about drugs, but about a dream Jimi had that he was drowning, surrounded by a purple haze. This didn’t stop the song from becoming a classic psychedelic anthem.
‘Journey to the Center of the Mind’ is by the Amboy Dukes. This galloping psychedelic classic is from their formerly blues-based band – on their 2nd studio album of the same name – released in 1968. All of the album’s songs were written by Ted Nugent (melody) and Steve Farmer (lyrics). Cover versions were recorded by Slade (Ambrose Slade) in 1969 and by The Ramones on their 1994 covers album Acid Eaters.
Leave your cares behind / Come with us and find
The pleasures of a journey to the center of the mind
Come along if you care / Come along if you dare
Take a ride to the land inside of your mind
Beyond the seas of thought/ Beyond the realm of what
Across the streams of hopes and dreams where things are really not
Take a ride to the land inside of your mind
But please realise
You’ll probably be surprised
For it’s the land unknown to man
Where fantasy is fact
So if you can, please understand
You might not come back
…How happy life could be
If all of mankind
Would take the time to journey to the center of the mind
Listen – Amboy Dukes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_onagRhKN5E
Listen: Slade: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1_cF76bWck
Listen: The Ramones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t8xIZsgDf0
Brownsville Station had a hit with ‘Smokin’ in the Boys Room’ in late 1973 from their album Yeah! This one is self-explanatory. These days, it is known as ‘Vaping in the Boys Room’. The song was covered by Motley Crue in 1985.
‘The Acid Queen’ is from The Who’ 1969 rock opera Tommy. The song was written and sung by Pete Townshend.
The Acid Queen is portrayed in the 1975 film version of Tommy by Tina Turner who delivers an incredibly powerful performance. Her slightly delayed double-tracked vocal makes her sound purely evil! She emerges from a costume resembling a depraved Metropolis robot laden with syringes. The deaf, dumb and blind boy Tommy is inserted into the robo costume, spun around and shot up in an attempted cure from the isolation of his afflictions. When this cure fails, the fiery queen reappears hungry and twitching, fingering her syringe – insistent that he needs just one more night with her. Tina is scarier than the Wicked Witch of the West! The song was also on Tina’s album titled Acid Queen released in 1976.
Listen – The Who: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbZj7hyqo2c
Watch – Tina Turner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp6CXSZbncw
Bloodstone released their Top 10 R&B single ‘Natural High’ in 1973. It also appears on their second album.
‘White Punks on Dope’ is an epic by The Tubes from San Francisco. It’s on their self-titled debut album released in 1975. It was also released as a single. The lyrics mock the rich, especially those in Hollywood. This outrageous band was fronted by Fee Waybill as the character Quay Lewd. Rollicking on his 2-foot tall platform shoes, he was larger than life in ridiculous glam drag. The shows were wild spectaculars with explosions and a stage full of dancers and performers.
‘Comfortably Numb’ is from Pink Floyd’s 1979 album The Wall. The song contains two iconic guitar solos. The main character of this concept album is a dejected rock star named Pink. This song tells the story of Pink being medicated so that he will be able to perform.
The Doors performed an edited version of their hypnotic 7-minute long track ‘Light My Fire’ from their 1967 debut album on The Ed Sullivan Show. They notoriously refusedto alter the lyric “girl we couldn’t get much higher” as requested by Sullivan’s producer.Jim Morrison wore black leather from head to toe. He certainly set the night on fire! The Doors were then banned from the show forever. Jose Feliciano’s Flamenco version was a big hit as well the following year
Watch The Doors on The Ed Sullivan Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEXlWgMOtqc
Sly & The Family Stone released ‘I Want to Take You Higher’ as the B-side of their single ‘Stand’ in 1969. ‘Higher’ became a big hit on its own. It was also performed at Woodstock.
‘I Get High On You’ is a single from Sly Stone’s first solo album (High On You, 1975) after Sly & the Family Stone disbanded. He retained Cynthia Robinson on trumpet and his brother Freddie on guitar. I love this song!
‘Legalize It’ is the title track of the 1976 solo album by reggae legend Peter Tosh. This was his first album after leaving The Wailers. Tosh had been hassled by Jamaican police when he advocated for legalization of cannabis which inspired him to write this song. In 1978 he prophetically stated, “Herb will become like cigarettes.”
My favorite clip is of Peter with Mick Jagger singing The Temptations’ 1965 hit ‘Don’t Look Back’ (see below). Jagger helped to sign Tosh to The Rolling Stones’ record label (1978 – 1981). Peter opened for the Stones every night of their 1978 U.S. tour. He also appears in the opening of the Rolling Stones’ video for ‘Waiting On A Friend’. Tosh was killed in 1987 after a robbery attempt/hostage situation at his home in Jamaica by an ex-con whom he had once helped to find work in the past. There is a Peter Tosh Museum in New Kingston, Jamaica.
Legalize it – don’t criticize it
Legalize it and I will advertise it
Watch ‘Don’t Look Back’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o4Fgh0KW_4
‘Day Tripper’ was a double single for The Beatles in 1965, paired with ‘We Can Work It Out’. John Lennon, the song’s main writer claims that it was not just about a day’s journey but about an acid tripping girl.
3 from Revolver:
Paul admitted that ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ was “an ode to pot”.
In the book Many Years From Now, Paul confessed: “I’d been a straight working-class lad but when we started to get into pot it seemed to me to be quite uplifting is really a song about that, it’s not to a person, it’s actually about pot. It’s saying, I’m going to do this. This is not a bad idea.”
The Beatles’ pill-dispenser, ‘Dr. Robert’ was most likely Dr. Robert Freymann, a New York physician noted for offering Vitamin B-12 shots laced with amphetamines to wealthy clients. He lost his license in 1975 and died in 1987 after publishing a book called What’s So Bad About Feeling Good?
John Lennon: “Another of mine, mainly about drugs and pills. I was the one that carried all the pills on tour. Later on the roadies did it. We just kept them in our pockets, loose, in case of trouble.”
I’ll include Paul’s ‘Good Day Sunshine’ here just in case it’s about Orange Sunshine!
Also see my story: -The 1970s – Orange Sunshine
The most famous drug song that is not at all about drugs is The Beatles’ ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.
See my story about this and other ‘Lucy songs’:
John Lennon’s ‘Cold Turkey’ was a 1969 single (which he later denied is about heroin withdrawal, claiming it was actually about food poisoning from eating cold turkey!). It is credited to John Lennon & Plastic Ono Band. It was John’s 2nd post-Beatles single. A recording of his first performance of the song appeared on the Live Peace in Toronto album in 1969. Both the live and studio performances feature Eric Clapton on guitar. Surprisingly, this was recorded prior to John & Yoko’s experience with Primal Scream therapy which they began shortly afterwards. They obviously had a significant head start!
You can hear John’s desperation – not only in his screams, but in the misery of these lyrics;
My feet are so heavy
So is my head
I wish I was a baby
I wish I was dead…
Rolling in pain
Praying to someone
Free me again…
Oh I’ll be a good boy
Please make me well
I’ll promise you anything
Get me out of this hell
Cold turkey has got me on the run
Listen – Ultimate Mix 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqVe9UKfSmI
Listen – Ultimate Mix 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqVe9UKfSmI
Paul McCartney & Wings’ ‘Let Me Roll It’ features some Lennon-esque guitar / vocals. Paul claims that it was not meant to be a send-up of John’s style. John was asked at an airport in 1973 where he had been. He replied, ‘I just got back from recording my new album, Band on the Run.’ It was suspected that John Played on Wings’ album – because of the guitar riffs on “Let Me Roll It.”
Paul & John traded lyrical barbs in songs during their solo careers. Although Paul wanted to mend his friendship with John (according to John Blaney’s Lennon and McCartney: Together Alone) “Let Me Roll It” was his own creation, not a tribute to John. Paul said,
‘“Let Me Roll It” was not really a Lennon pastiche, although my use of tape echo did sound more like John than me; but tape echo was not John’s exclusive territory. And you have to remember that, despite the myth, there was a lot of commonality between us in the way we thought and worked.”
About that same riff, Paul told Billboard Magazine in 2001,
“[“Let Me Roll It”] was a riff, originally, a great riff to play, and whenever we play it live, it goes down great. We’d play it on two guitars, and people saw it later as a kind of John pastiche, as Lennon-ish, Lennon-esque. Which I don’t mind… That could have been a Beatles song. Me and John would have sung that good.” Can you imagine, Lennon and McCartney trading lines on a Beatles version of “Let Me Roll It? that would be…legendary!
“’Let Me Roll It’ wasn’t to John. It was just in the style that we did with The Beatles that John was particularly known for. It was really actually the use of the echo. It was one of those: ‘You’re not going to use echo just cos John used it?’ I don’t think so.”
To tell you the truth, that was more [about] rolling a joint. That was the double meaning there: ‘let me roll it to you.’ That was more at the back of mind than anything else.” – Paul to Billboard Magazine, 2001
‘Mother’s Little Helper’ from The Rolling Stones album Aftermath is symptomatic of the pill-popping housewives of 1960s London – the same ones having a ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’.
Listen: Mother’s Little Helper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OusADDs_3ps
Listen: 19th Nervous Breakdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCmxWu2yT8c
‘Sister Morphine’, written by Marianne Faithfull appears on the 1971 Stones album Sticky Fingers with its infamous Warhol designed album cover – first issued with a working zipper. Marianne also lived this and recorded the song herself in 1969.
Listen – The Stones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C39kQoprfP0
Listen – Marianne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqaC_p9km-Q
Also on Sticky Fingers is ‘Brown Sugar’ – which has a dual meaning; a name for heroin, and also for tasty black women, specifically singer Marsha Hunt who fathered Mick Jaggers’ first child Karis.
We all know that the Stones’ ‘Monkey Man’ from their 1969 album Let It Bleed is not about monkeys. This guy has a monkey woman too, and all his friends are junkies.
We could go on forever with Rolling Stones songs about drugs, but I’ll stop here.
John and Yoko’s NYC buddy, New Yorker David Peel (with his band The Lower East Side) has several pot related songs and album titles including Have a Marijuana from 1968, and The Pope Smokes Dope from 1972 produced by John Lennon. And let’s not forget his albums Santa Claus Rooftop Junkie (1974) and Marijuana Christmas (2008).
Listen: ‘I Like Marijuana’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv8AGqR-nco
‘King Heroin’ is a 3-part anti-drug rap, narrated in the first-person by James Brown released in 1972. It is far from funky. It’s a warning against the drug. The lyrics were actually a long poem written by a friend of Brown’s who had lost his daughter due to an OD.
(I’m sure The Grateful Dead have lots of songs about drugs and pot, but I’ll leave that to another ‘DJ’).
Roxy Music recorded ‘Love is the Drug’ in 1975 on their 5th album Siren, and also released it as a single which reached No. 2 in the UK. Grace Jones covered the song on her album Warm Leatherette in 1980.
Listen – Roxy Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE49NdNnBxA
Listen Grace Jones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu8xGqULUtI
Iggy Pop shot himself up in ‘Turn Blue’ from his 1977 album Lust For Life. The song is credited to his producer David Bowie and Warren Peace, but the lyrics are autobiographical for Iggy. Two songs on the album are heroin-themed. ‘Turn Blue’ was written with Bowie in 1975 and was originally titled ‘Moving On’. The lyrics are mysteriously missing from the album sleeve.
‘Tonight’ has a beautiful opening verse, which is omitted on Tina Turner’s version with Bowie on his 1984 album also titled Tonight. Iggy quotes William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch (“No one talks, no one reads, no one walks”) in the chorus.
“I saw my baby she was turning blue
I knew that seen her young life was through
So I got down on my knees beside her bed
And these are the words to her I said
Everything will be alright tonight…”
Listen: ‘Turn Blue’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfpKXo94SVg
Listen: ‘Tonight’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HESKbukiFn8
My story all about Iggy’s album Lust For Life:
The Ramones song ‘Carbona Not Glue’ (the sequel to ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’ from their debut album the same year) was banned from their 2nd album, Leave Home in 1977. It appeared on the first pressings but was later deleted because Carbona was a corporate trademark. It was replaced with the song ‘Babysitter’. In 2001 it was reinstated for their 2nd album Leave Home expanded edition and for the 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of the album with additional mixes. Another great Ramones song is ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ from their 4th album Road to Ruin in 1978.
Listen – Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwJnnf1Ogcw
Listen – Carbona Not Glue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ-9BXi1d2A
Listen – I Wanna Be Sedated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O9P5Us_eVo
Ian Dury released the single ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock N’ Roll’ in 1977. The title speaks for itself.
‘Chinese Rocks’ was released by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers as a single (the B-side was ‘Born To Lose’) and on their 1977 debut album L.A.M.F. (Like a Motherfucker). The title is a street term for super-potent Vietnamese heroin. On The Heartbreakers’ album, the song is credited to Thunders/Jerry Nolan/Richard Hell and Dee Dee Ramone. The song was actually written by Dee Dee and also appears on the Ramones’ 1980 album End of the Century as ‘Chinese Rock’. On the Heartbreakers’ version Johnny sings, “Hey, is Dee Dee home?” On The Ramones version, the lyrics sung by Joey are changed to, “Hey, Is Arty home?” (referring to pal Arturo Vega, designer of The Ramones logo). Johnny Thunders and Dee Dee Ramone were notorious drug buddies.
‘Too Much Junkie Business’ is also by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers from 1994. With lyrics by Walter Lure, it’s a nod to Chuck Berry’s ‘Too Much Monkey Business’ (1956). Walter Lure admitted to stealing the music from The New York Dolls’ version of Bo Diddley’s ‘Pills’ (see above).
‘Drug Stabbing Time’ by The Clash is on their 2nd album Give ‘Em Enough Rope. It features the fabulous skronking sax of Stan Bronstein (formerly of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band / also Elephant’s Memory)!! Also on the album is ‘Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad’.
The final single from The Jam was a beautiful soul ballad rife with strings, ‘The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had to Swallow)’ released in September 1982. It reached No. 2 in The UK. This was extra sad, as the band were breaking up at the time. It was followed by their final single ‘Beat Surrender’ which reached No. 1.
David Bowie’s famous ‘Space Oddity’ character Major Tom is now a junkie in his 1980 song ‘Ashes to Ashes’ from the album Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.
Watch the amazing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyMm4rJemtI
‘White Wedding’ by Billy Idol (formerly of the great band Generation X and later Gen X) is a song in disguise. The veiled references to a wedding (the music video depicts a goth wedding) divert the true storyline about crack cocaine. Crack – a cheaper drug – is known as coke’s ‘little sister’. This is in the lyric ‘Hey little sister’. The term ‘white wedding’ references a crack or coke addict who goes cold turkey and later begins using again. Hence the line, “It’s a nice day to start again”. The term ‘shotgun’ refers to one person inhaling smoke from another person’s mouth. ‘White Wedding’ was on Billy’s 2nd solo album 1982 and reissued as a single in 1983 and yet again in the late 1980s. It was inspired by his favorite Elvis song ‘Little Sister’ from 1961 (written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman).
‘Pass the Dutchie’ is by the Jamaican kids reggae group Musical Youth. It appears on their debut 1982 album The Youth of Today. It was a No. 1 hit single in the UK. A funny thing for hungry kids to be singing about, unless they have the munchies.
An early rap song, ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’by Melle Mel was released in 1983 on Sugar Hill Records. This actually warns against the pitfalls of cocaine. The song was co-written by Melle Mel and Sylvia Robinson who also wrote the hit ‘Shame Shame Shame’ which inspired David Bowie’s song ‘Fame’. Shirley’s career goes back to 1952. She was half of the duo Mickey & Sylvia whose hit ‘Love is Strange’ topped the charts in 1957. In 1972 Robinson wrote the song ‘Pillow Talk’ for (Reverend) Al Green, who rejected it, citing his religious beliefs. Robinson had a No. 1 R&B hit with the song herself, under the name Sylvia. Her whispering, moaning, orgasmic vocals became the precursor to Donna Summer’s ‘Love to Love You Baby’ (produced by Georgio Moroder), which spawned the electronic Eurodisco scene.
Listen: White Lines – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bCdrDhUjPo
Proving that love is in fact a drug, Robert Palmer became ‘Addicted To Love’ on his album Riptide (1985). Released as a single in 1986 along with an iconic video featuring fashion models resembling mannequins, similarly dressed like clones in tight black mini dresses, mock-playing guitars and drums which helped shoot it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Watch the famous video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcATvu5f9vE
‘Lithium’ is on Nirvana’s second album Nevermind in 1991. It was released as a single in 1992. The single’s picture sleeve is a sonogram of Kurt Cobain’s then unborn daughter.
‘The Living Dead’ by Suede was relegated to a b-side of the ‘Stay Together’ single in 1994. It also appears on Sci-Fi Lullabies, a compilation released in 1997.
Where’s all the money gone? – I’m talking to you,
All up the hole in your arm is the needle,
A much better screw.
But oh, what will you do alone? Cos I have to go.
‘Heroin is on Head Music, the fourth album by the band Suede, released in 1999. Singer Brett Anderson was addicted to crack at the time. It’s a beautifully quite piece with Brett’s echoing voice, taking place on a rainy day. It sounds like a love song to the drug but it’s really a statement about feeling vacant.
Listen – ‘Heroin’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BidPUynMjj4
I love Suede so much that I have to mention that they previously had a song called ‘Heroine’ on their third album Dog Man Star (the greatest album title ever) in 1994 about a teenager aching for his heroine, Marilyn Monroe to visit him for just one hour (most likely on heroin). It opens with the line ‘She walks in beauty like the night’ from the Lord Byron poem…
She walks in beauty like the night
Discarding her clothes in the plastic flowers
Pornographic and tragic in black and white
My Marilyn come to my slum for an hour
I’m aching to see my heroine
I’m aching been dying for hours and hours…
Listen – ‘Heroine’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3fdsfCibAA
Watch – ‘Heroine’ live in 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHOQZrpLAI
Kraftwerk released ‘Vitamin’ in 2003 on their 10th studio album Tour de France Soundtracks,. It was re-released in October 2009 under the title Tour de France. ‘Vitamin’ is especially cool to see live, as colorful pills and capsules float and dissolve on-screen, as the names of various nutritional supplements are uttered in monotone amidst blips and bleeps.
(R.I. P. Florian Schneider – May 2020).
Listen: 2009 remaster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmxYMCLDbJg
Watch Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OewTOv40eE
Amy Winehouse released the autobiographical song ‘Rehab’ as a single in 2006. The song appears on her final album Back to Black. The Grammy winning song made the Top 10 in the USA and in the UK. I also like the version by The Jolly Boys. I couldn’t help laughing when my grandma uttered Amy’s exact words after she fell and broke her hip, “I don’t wanna go to rehab – no, no, no!”
Watch – promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUmZp8pR1uc
Watch – Live on David Letterman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psdAdW1g-sQ
Listen: The Jolly Boys
The Sonics, a highly influential 1960s garage band wrote and recorded the original version of ‘Strychtnine’ for their 1965 album Here Are The Sonics. The Cramps did a great cover of The Sonics song on their album Songs the Lord Taught Us (1980). It’s also been covered by The Flaming Lips and others.
‘Strychtnine’ by The Sonics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7Nffq0bOgE
The Cramps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQg_gwY9yiE
‘Drug Train’ is a 1980 single by The Cramps, later appearing on the compilation album Bad Music for Bad People in 1984.
‘Let’s Get Fucked Up’ is on The Cramps’ 6th studio album Flamejob (1994).
“Let’s do some stuff and get fucked up
Tomorrow we’ll feel like we were hit by a truck/ But let’s get fucked up!
Going to the brink of oblivion
Gonna need a shrink to get back again…
A fun trip down memory lane with some street heroin names:
Toilet * Try Me * Puro * Devil’s Bag * D.O.A. * Pink Poison * Psycho! * Fresh 83 * Post-Mortem * Captain Cody · Cody · Schoolboy · Doors & Fours · Pancakes & Syrup · Loads · M · Miss Emma · Monkey · White Stuff · Demmies · Pain killer · Apache · China girl · Dance fever Goodfella · Murder 8 · Tango and Cash · China white · Friend · Jackpot · TNT ·Oxy 80 · Oxycat · Hillbilly
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