Songs About Drugs

Posted in: Rock by Brenda Nelson on February 16th, 2008 | 21 Comments

A lot of songs have references to drugs or drug-use but not all of them are actually about drugs. Many songs are mistakenly referred to as drug songs.

Some are about fighting it, or dealing with it, or dealing with a person struggling with their additions. It should be noted that many songs have drug references in them, but may not actually be about drugs….

I want to note as well that many songs about drugs, are actually anti drug.

  1. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane.
  2. Jane Says – Janes’ Additicion
  3. Bad – U2
  4. The Needle and the Damage Done – Neil Young
  5. Running to Stand Still – U2
  6. Heroin – The Velvet Underground
  7. Space Oddity – David Bowie
  8. Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie
  9. You Were on My Mind – The We Five
  10. White Wedding – Billy Idol
  11. Are you Experienced – Jimi Hendrix
  12. Mothers Little Helper – Rolling Stones
  13. Knock me Down – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  14. Legalize It – Peter Tosh
  15. Mr. Brownstone – Guns N Roses
  16. Cocaine – Eric Clapton
  17. Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  18. Golden Brown – The Stranglers
  19. Waiting for my Man – Velvet Underground
  20. Last Dance for Mary Jane – Tom Petty

The Doors. I am not even going to list songs, but the name, “The Doors” is a reference to a book by Aldous Huxley named “The Doors of Perception” about his experiences with LSD-25.

Songs Often Mistakenly Referred to as “Drug” Songs

All too often perfectly innocent songs are said to be about drugs, sometimes drugs are not even referenced in the song. Here are some songs commonly misinterpreted as drug songs.

  1. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – The Beatles. People said the initials spell out LSD but in fact John says it was about a picture his son drew and had nothing to do with Drugs.
  2. Drugs Don’t Work – The Verve. Thought to be an anti-drug song, it was written about the songwriters father who had cancer.
  3. Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Simon and Garfunkel. Was a song Paul Simon wrote for his wife when she was sad about getting older. It is also about friendship but was mistaken as a heroin song.
  4. Horse with no Name – America. It is said that because the word “Horse” is slang for Heroin, it is a drug song, but this is probably a mistake, its about losing your identity.
  5. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zepplin. About a cult and mystical things.
  6. Hotel California – The Eagles. It may have some references to drugs but the band has not been completely clear about the true meaning of this song but it may not be about drugs. The explanations are possibly more confusing than the song itself.
  7. Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones. Despite the fact that many people think it is a drug song, it probably really is about Mick Jaggers passion for black women.
  8. Puff the Magic Dragon – Peter, Paul, and Mary. It REALLY is a children’s song and is NOT a song about Marijuana.
  9. Instant Karma – John Lennon. I think this song is what it says its about, if you do something bad, something bad will happen in return. Why people think this song is about drugs is beyond me.
  10. Mellow Yellow – Donovan. This song is apparently about smoking banana peels, which are not actually drugs, so this song is not a drug song.
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21 Responses to “Songs About Drugs”
  • borhap June 1st, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Just wanted to point out that The Doors of Perception wasn’t about Huxley on LSD, it was him on mescaline; there’s a difference. Please correct this error

  • B Nelson June 1st, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Thank you borhap, from different sources there are different takes on this, I will look further into it.

  • john June 16th, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Let me just open the book and look just as far as i need: its about mescaline.

  • Mike June 17th, 2008 at 8:06 am

    I’m sorry, but someone didn’t do their homework here… Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is ABSOLUTELY about LSD.

  • crispeater June 26th, 2008 at 7:57 am

    I read somewhere that the phrase “electrical banana” refers to an adult toy.

  • crispeater June 26th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    John Lennon himself said numerous times that Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was the title of a picture that his son Julian drew. I’ve actually seen the original drawing in a Beatles book.
    So I guess whether you think it’s a drug song or not comes down to who you believe; the man that actually wrote the song or “music experts”.

  • crispeater June 26th, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Here’s a page that contains the original drawing of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds

  • KeeJay September 3rd, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    I have my doubts that many of the songs in the first list are anti-drug. Who but the artists themselves can say whether a song is for or against? Also keep in mind that just because a writer or artist says something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.

  • Dicktar November 19th, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Richard Ashcroft wrote “The Drugs Don’t Work” while he was trying to quit heroin AND his father was dying–so the refrain is a double entendre. On the acoustic version, he sings “the drugs don’t work/they just make you worse” the first verse, and then “they just make me worse” for the other verses.

  • urdad February 23rd, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    k im soooo gay that its not even funy

  • Jessica March 24th, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Another song that I always thought was about drugs but come to find out it isn’t. It’s about lying. If it makes you happy- Sheryl Crow…. “if it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad- if it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad”

  • belvin May 7th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    wack peeps

  • smiley June 15th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    anybody no the name of the that goes windowpane and a bottle of wine mama

  • gydders June 27th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    @ smiley

    Ian Thomas, “Painted Ladies”

  • cnelson2307 August 7th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is about LSD, just like how the nirvana song Heart – Shape Box is about how Kurt wanted Courtney to have an abortion. They say these things in interviews to, in Kurt’s case, not have his daughter think she was unwanted, and in John Lennon’s case to make his son feel special.

  • DERPDERPDERPDERPDERP November 25th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – The Beatles. People said the initials spell out LSD but in fact John says it was about a picture his son drew and had nothing to do with Drugs.”

    –You’re pretty retarded if you actually believe that.

  • anton December 20th, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Puff the magic dragon a child song, Lucy in the sky with dimonds a picture – are u high man

  • Kyle Obergfell February 13th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Lucy in the sky with diamonds is not an LSD song.
    “She said she said” was about an LSD trip with Peter Fonda
    and “Tomorrow never knows” has drug overtones

    John Lennon was a genius, but human. He was often lazy.
    The crayon drawing by Julian was one example,
    “Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite” is another.

  • Eddie June 8th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    Snowblind by the legendary Black Sabbath is about Cocaine and it is a great frickin Song

  • youtuber August 10th, 2011 at 9:37 am

    A lesser known artist, the Terry Sutton Conspiracy wrote the song, “Chemical Friends”. It’s got good anti-drug/alcohol message.

  • Blake June 21st, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Richard Ashcroft\’s dad died when Richard was 11.

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