It was 45 years ago this past Friday... that Bob Dylan met the Beatles for the first time and, more importantly for Rocks Off's purposes, introduced them to marijuana. While this meeting of musical titans would never lead to any actual musical collaboration or "Monsters of Hippie Rock" series of concerts, the Fab Four's induction into the 420 Club undeniably steered them away from making songs about holding hands and on to writing tunes about living in a yellow submarine and "elementary penguins singing 'Hare Krishna.'" So we're very grateful to Dylan for his public service. And while it might be easier to commemorate this occasion by making a list of artistsnot
associated with drug use, we thought we'd take a stab at identifying those for which drugs have provided significant creative benefits.Pink Floyd:
Floyd's career can be divided into two fairly distinct phases. The first was their "Psychedelic Phase," begun under doomed former frontman Syd Barrett and continuing through the mid-1970s. This experiemental period is best represented byUmmagumma
and the bazillion-sellingDark Side of the Moon
. After that, we get into the "Roger Waters Is Still Pissed Off About His Father Dying in WWII Period," which will be examined in greater detail in a future entry about artists' emotional problems.
Branded Stones ripoffs for a number of years, "Toxic Twins" Steven Tyler and Joe Perry nevertheless produced some of the most memorable rock music of the 1970s, including "Dream On," "Same Old Song and Dance" and "Sweet Emotion." Then they sobered up. Yes, their recent output has been much more commercially successful than their early releases, but anyone who doubts the truism that the best rock music is fueled by intoxicants need only listen to "Lightning Strikes" and "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" back to back.
Hey, alcohol's a drug, and Shane MacGowan's consumption is legendary even by Irish standards. And if his boozy vocals serve to bring authenticity to songs like "The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn" and "Dirty Old Town," surely that's worth the possibility of gettinga little vomit
Less recognizable than Eazy-E and Ice Cube during their N.W.A. days, Dre changed all that with the release ofThe Chronic
in 1992. The album not only glorified the smoking of high-grade weed, it reinvented West Coast hip hop and provided nearly half the soundtrack forGrand Theft Auto: San Andreas
. Talk about influential.
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With songs like "Heroin" and "I'm Waiting for the Man" highlighting debut albumThe Velvet Underground and Nico
, the Velvets are forever linked with the drug subculture. And if you had to spend that much time hanging out with Andy Warhol, you'd probably want to shoot up, too.