What rock and roll lyrics are you sure would not exist if it weren't for illegal drugs?
Even people who don’t believe in using drugs usually accept that some of the greatest works in art, literature and music were created under the influence of some sort of mind altering substance. Of course, that alone is not proof positive that it’s the drugs that caused the greatness, but there is a very strong correlation that makes a very persuasive argument, namely that creative people can become even more creative by using drugs.
I’m specifically curious about rock and roll music, because this is where the correlation seems to be the most prevalent. The history of rock and roll is full of examples of artists who put out their best work while they were addicted to something, who once they got “clean” could never again produce anything even close to what they accomplished while high. Further, many of the most promising and influential, even legendary artists, people who are today credited with changing music, died in their 20s due in part or in total because of drug abuse.
So, while I accept that it’s possible that some of the greatest music in rock and roll history which WAS written under the influence maybe would have been just as good, or even better had it been written sober, but it seems far more likely that most of it would have been worse, or at minimum just as good but somehow different. But then there are lyrics which probably wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for drugs.
What I mean is, what lyrics have you heard that you think that no sober person would have ever combined in that fashion? To give you an example, what inspired this question was the song playing on the radio when my alarm clock went off yesterday morning. It was Three Dog Night’s cover of a song written by folk/country artist Hoyt Axton…no, not Joy to the World, the song is called Never Been To Spain. And this song, though written by a country/folk artist, still is basically a rock and roll song, and was certainly covered by a band which had it’s own addiction problems. Axton himself was a cocaine addict and a marijuana user, and I think it shows in this lyric:
Well I never been to heaven
But I been to Oklahoma
Well they tell me I was born there
But I really don’t remember
In Oklahoma, not Arizona
What does it matter?
Now you tell me, would any sober person compare Oklahoma to heaven, or rhyme Oklahoma with remember? I just don’t think those lyrics would exist today if it weren’t for drugs…I can’t imagine any sober person putting that combination of words together intentionally. Not saying it doesn’t work, I dig it, just can’t imagine a clear state of mind producing something like that.
Which leads me back to my question…what other rock and roll lyrics are you sure would not exist if it weren’t for illegal drugs?