Drugs and music seem to go hand in hand. Ever since the dawn of music as we know it, the creative souls we call musicians have been seeking ways to expand their creativity.
Beethoven and Mozart loved getting sloshed, many blues and jazz pioneers had a fondness for heroin, most of the great pop and rock bands that rose from the 60’s counter-culture openly experimented with weed and LSD, and rappers…. well, if we believe what they like to tell the whole world, are also partial to the odd dabble.
Many a musician credits drugs as being a major influence on their work over the years, here are a selection of songs that may never have happened without a slight alteration of consciousness.
7. Bob Dylan – Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
When Bob Dylan turned electric in the mid 60’s, he seemed to go through a transformation overnight, from folk singing country boy, to drug addled rocker. The public and the fans were in uproar, but the move turned out to be one of the shrewdest in music history. Many reports from the time show Dylan to be seriously uptight, dependent on a concoction of uppers, downers and twisters. In fact Dylan himself has often admitted that memories are a little hazy.
It was during the peak of these excesses that Blonde on Blonde was recorded. Perhaps Dylan’s most celebrated album kicked off with Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, with its barking chorus of ‘Everybody must get stoned!’ The message seems pretty clear, and alongside the fact that 12 multiplied by 35 gives you 420, a number long associated with pot smoking, this seems to be a blatantly marijuana influenced ode.
Dylan has since denied this, stating that he would ‘never, ever make a drug song’, but maybe this is just the great poet feeling a little aggrieved, in hindsight, that the message isn’t a little more cryptic.