Saturday, March 30, 2013

your grandma's favorite drug songs...,


thefix | If you think great songs about the highs or horrors of drugs began in the rock 'n' roll era, think again. The likes of Cab Calloway, the Ink Spots and Fats Waller were way ahead of the game.

For better or worse, drugs and popular culture are irrevocably entangled. Nowhere is the link more pronounced than in popular music, an art form that has an almost symbiotic relationship with substances. Whether drugs influence music or vice versa is a subject for debate—but few would argue that the Beatles would have transformed popular culture as they did without the influence of psychedelics; that house music would have become the behemoth it did without ecstasy culture; or that punk would have been quite the same without the relentless energy of speed and the nihilistic black hole of heroin as the twin engines that drove it.

Many might lazily assume that drug culture started in the 1960s—the era when supposedly everybody started turning on, tuning in and dropping out. But the truth is, just as human beings have been getting high since practically the dawn of time, popular musicians have been recording songs about getting high since they first started pressing 78s. To prove it, here's my selection of amazing pre-rock 'n' roll tracks about shooting smack, snorting coke, getting blitzed on booze and dancing all night on speed. Ladies and gentlemen, we present your grandmothers’ favorite drug songs:

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