10 Best Rock Songs About Drugs

The 10 best rock songs about drugs span at least half a century. While jazz musicians of the 1920s and 1930s were known to use drugs that are popular today, it wasn’t until the 1960s that rock and roll popularized the illegal drug scene. From the 1960s to the present day, the best rock songs about drugs cover the highs, the lows and the pits of despair.

  1. “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. The introductory bassline to this classic song will get you in the mood right away. The song compares the many drug references in "Alice in Wonderland" to the drug culture of the 1960s. With references to everything from magic mushrooms to the hookah-smoking caterpillar, this is one of the all time greatest rock songs about drugs.

  2. “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix. One of the many rock stars from the 1960s to die of a drug overdose, Hendrix was a rock pioneer. “Purple Haze” may reference smoking marijuana, while there also seem to be hints of one of Hendrix’s favorite drugs: LSD. The guitar work is some of the best in his storied career.

  3. “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground. The title says it all. The Velvet Underground were rock and roll innovators, often cited as fathers of the punk movement. With lyrics like “when I put a spike in my vein” and “I feel just like Jesus’ son,” The Velvet Underground paint a vivid, painful yet accurate picture of 1960s rock drug culture.

  4. “The Pusher” by Steppenwolf. "The Pusher" is the opening song for the classic film, "Easy Rider."  Any song from "Easy Rider" would make the list of best rock songs about drugs, and this one is unabashed in its drug references.

  5. “Junkies Running Dry” by Operation Ivy. Rock and roll and drug use are almost synonymous, and Operation Ivy’s Tim Armstrong knows that all too well. This song profiles the downs of a junkie craving a high. An upbeat ska/punk beat makes this one of the 10 best rock songs about drugs.

  6. “Smoke Two Joints” by Sublime. While Sublime’s frontman, Bradley Nowell, eventually passed away from a heroin overdose, this song profiles his other favorite vice: smoking pot. This song was an instant classic, and is still in heavy rotation both on casual stoners’ playlists and on alternative rock radio stations.

  7. “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth” by The Dandy Warhols. The Dandy Warhols take a more sarcastic look at drug use in rock and roll. The sing along line, “heroin is so passé,” seems to take a shot at rock stars who still succumb to addiction.

  8. “Prozac vs. Heroin” by Brian Jonestown Massacre. While many of Brian Jonestown Massacre’s songs reference drugs, or seem to have been recorded while the band was on drugs, this is one of the few that directly references drug use. Frontman Anton Newcombe has been described in the movie "DiG!" as someone who not only loves 1960s rock and roll, but creates the most accurate modern interpretation of it. It is unsurprising his song makes it onto the list of the 10 best rock songs about drugs.

  9. “Under the Bridge” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis has openly talked about the meaning of this classic alternative rock song. The numerous accolades and awards this song and its video received clearly make this one of the 10 best rock songs about drugs.

  10. “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” by Queens of the Stone Age. It’s unclear exactly what The Queens of the Stone Age are saying about drugs in this song, but they certainly name a lot of them. This is one of the heaviest rock songs on the list. If nothing else, this serves as a great shopping list for your next party.

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