Seven classic songs inspired by LSD

In 2021, there isn’t a lot of dynamism in writing a song based on a drug-induced experience. In fact, browsing through the latest releases it might be very easy to identify exactly what drug each artist was on when writing the track, such is the prevalence and wider public acceptance of the art. and narcotics that go together like eggs and bacon. From The Beatles to Drake and everyone else, nothing is off limits when it comes to music.

Writing songs about drugs and drug use used to be a covert operation. To create a track about his addiction to substances today would be a bit vulgar. The censorship is now so loose that writing a song about drugs is almost pointless. In the 1960s, as recreational drugs became part of swing culture, the use of pop music’s secret codes to hidden references became a hallmark of a group’s anti-establishment stance. Illicit songs quickly became commonplace. However, there is something special about songs written when inspired by LSD.

The very nature of LSD, or acidic as it is more familiarly called, is that it transports the user through visual changes and mind-altering experiences, into a whole new plane of thought. Ask anyone with drug experience and they’ll likely tell you how much they’ve changed their life, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad, but a seismic change nonetheless. Below, we select five classic songs that capture the essence of this transformation.

Apple co-founder and one of the brightest minds of the century, Steve Jobs once said, “Taking LSD has been a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. It was this massive shift in mindset that reinvigorated much of music in the 1960s and 1970s as drugs became a prolific influencer on the pop charts. While “acid rock” arrived in the mid-1960s, perpetrated by bands like Jimi Hendrix Experience and Pink Floyd, its presence has been felt in every decade since.

Of course, drugs are quickly becoming fashionable, but there seems to be something sacred about the hallucinogen, LSD. In every decade there is a reference to his power, a nod to the notions he helped forge and an awareness that he provides many artists with the escape from reality they need. to fully realize their creative vision.

Below, we see five of those visions unfold as we choose our favorite acid-inspired songs.

Seven songs inspired by LSD:

“I am the walrus” – The Beatles

Of course, no LSD list would be complete without the addition of The Beatles and their seminal acid anthem. Although they weren’t written directly about drugs, they certainly influenced this article as the words of “I Am The Walrus” sprang from the page. The song was directly inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and sees Lennon use an allegory to create a mystifying point. “Walrus is just saying a dream,” recalls John in his infamous 1980 interview with Playboy.

In the same Playboy interview in 1980, Lennon confirmed, “The first line was written while on an acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next trip on acid the following weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko… I had seen Allen Ginsberg and other people who loved Dylan and Jesus talk about Hare Krishna. It was Ginsberg, in particular, that I was talking about. The words “Element’ry penguin” meant that he was naïve to just chant Hare Krishna or put all his faith in one idol. “

He sees Lennon putting to paper the fuzzy drug-fueled sessions that supported the band’s production during this time and also showed that the songs don’t have to mean anything to be considered great.

“White Rabbit” – Jefferson Plane

Grace Slick was widely known as one of the most prominent voices on the scene that flourished in San Francisco in the 1960s, professing free thought and the greater pursuit of creativity. The track, ‘White Rabbit’, is one of his best and has become a narcotics anthem, but Slick says that beyond drugs, the song “is to follow your curiosity. The White Rabbit is your.” curiousity.

The singer also revealed that the song’s references might have come as a shock to some but felt like a natural progression, suggesting that it may well have been due to the previous generation’s own experiments, “Our parents read us stories like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland. wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, ”Slick recalls.

She added, “They all have a place where kids take drugs and can fly or see an emerald city or see amazing animals and people… And our parents suddenly say, ‘Why are you taking drugs. drug? Well, hello! “

“Yoshimi fights the pink robots” – The Flaming Lips

While we may have noted that the drug spoofing has been so carefully eliminated from pop music that much of the modern graphic is littered with drug references that you simply have missed, that doesn’t mean that every artist is ready to label his track. As such.

Far from the mark of drug praise in the 1960s and beyond, having a song explicitly related to drugs in modern times is just a small step. One of those tracks is The Flaming Lips ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’, which, while clearly peppered with savage images of acid, was never specifically declared as an LSD anthem.

Not only is the story unfolding with Wayne Coyne’s lyricism a bit bizarre, the singer is a known admirer of the drug. Add to that the aerial joy of the trail and it is not difficult to draw a line between the two references.

“She said, she said” – The Beatles

One more addition from the Fab Four and while there are a lot of their songs inspired by drugs, and acid in particular, this one tied into the song so well that we just had to add it. In August 1965, The Beatles were holed up in a rented mansion hidden deep in the mountains above Beverly Hills, California. It was the perfect breeding ground for the newly famous Beatles to turn on their fame taps and head straight for hedonism.

One of those celebrities was Peter Fonda, who broke into the mansion to join the group on a particularly deep acidic trip. For Lennon and Harrison, this acidic trip was not their first rodeo, and while believing in their newfound LSD enlightenment, the duo pushed both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to join them on their journey to the fusion journey. spirit. While Starr agreed, McCartney refused, Macca then shared his maiden voyage with his pal, Lennon.

As Harrison sank into a deep fear of death, Fonda tried to lighten the proceedings by recalling her own near-death experience. He stayed with Lennon and became the base of the Revolver song ‘She Said, She Said’, the song written about Peter Fonda being appropriately “not cool, man”.

‘Black Peter’ – The Grateful Dead

What a list of LSD’s musical effect would be complete without The Grateful Dead. Outwardly and openly honest about their drug use, before, during and after their infamous shows, the group rarely referred to them directly. Instead, Jerry Garcia et al would play their cards close to their chest.

The group’s lyricist Robert Hunter was also a well-known drug lover, but was taken on the wrong side one fateful night when he drank apple juice that contained one gram of crystal LSD, worth apparently over $ 50,000. During his journey, he experienced the deaths of Abraham Lincoln, JFK and many other murdered personalities.

When he recovered, it was enough to send Hunter to the drawing board with his pen and paper ready to write the melody of the dead “Black Peter”. He recalls the deaths of the aforementioned characters as well as his own as he writes: “All my friends came to see me last night / I was lying in my bed and dying / Annie Beauneu de Saint Ange / Say ‘time here -low so well.

‘Lysergic Bliss’ – from Montreal

There is a paisley passion in Montreal that quickly confirms their penchant for drugs. Their addition to the list is one of the most meticulously obvious. Entitled “Lysergic Bliss” in reference to the drug, it leaves no questions for lead singer, Kevin Barnes, as he exposes everything.

“If we were a pair of puzzle pieces / We would connect so perfectly,” sings Barnes, perhaps suggesting that he was seeking not only the drug experience but also the comfort, he provides a new take on the narcotic. While most songwriters focus on mind-altering visuals or cognitive transport behaviors, Barnes seems to write a love song full of the warmth and comfort that escape brings him.

“Acid Tongue” – Jenny Lewis

Released in 2008 as the title track on Jenny Lewis’s album, ‘Acid Togue’ is directly inspired by a fateful evening. Most of the songs on our list have an advantage in their sound, but Lewis is focused on her first acid trip as a teenager and how it shaped her life.

“This resulted in a scene that looks like something from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the scene where Hunter S. Thompson has to lock up the lawyer in the bathroom,” Lewis recalled speaking to Rolling Stone. “I kind of assumed the character of Hunter S. Thompson and my friend – she had taken way too much – decided to pull a butcher’s knife out of the kitchen drawer and chase me around the house.” This is not exactly what you need.

“At the end of this experience,” she continues, “my mother was traveling on her own and she came back to find me about 5 pounds lighter and I had – I was so desperate to get back to normal that I decided to drink a whole gallon of orange juice. I saw it was in the fridge and decided it would somehow remove LSD from my system, but wasn’t sure it did the exact opposite.

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Grace D. Erickson

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