Drugs have played an important part in music, both positively and negatively. They’ve inspired songs, affected careers and taken great artists before their time. This is the third part of a continuing saga which identifies the individual chemicals that stimulated some of the best known recordings.
Eric Clapton – Cocaine (1977)
Written by JJ Cale
Influenced by – Cocaine
Clapton’s cover of a little known song originally recorded by country artist JJ Cale in 1976 has become one of the most enduring tracks in “slowhand’s” long and illustrious career. The singer/guitarist vehemently denies that it has a positive message even though the lines are relatively ambiguous.
Pulp – Sorted For E’s And Wizz (1995)
Written by Pulp
Influenced by – Ecstasy/Amphetamines
Jarvis Cocker’s apparent inspiration for “Sorted For E’s And Wizz” was a meeting with a female friend in Sheffield who had attended a Stone Roses concert. Asked for her recollections, the only memory she had of the event was, “Well there were all these blokes walking around saying ‘Is everybody sorted for E’s and wizz?'”. Neither condemning or condoning drug use, the Daily Mirror took issue with the sentiment and published a front page broadside at Jarvis Cocker, the band, and the record company.
Guns N’ Roses – Mr Brownstone (1987)
Written by Guns N’ Roses
Influenced by – Heroin
Written mainly by Slash and Izzy Stradlin, “Mr Brownstone” drew a distinct portrayal of the daily lives of two heroin addled wannabe rock stars. The daily routine would be to crash at Izzy’s girlfriend’s apartment, and complain about their increased requirement for a greater quantity of the drug. It’s summed up in the lyric, “I used to do a little, but a little wouldn’t do, so the little got more and more. I just keep trying to get a little better, said a little better than before”.
The Rolling Stones – Mother’s Little Helper (1966)
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Influenced by – Valium/Diazapam
During the mid 60s Valium had become a popular over the counter and prescription drug for the treatment of depression. Many housewives were prescribed without any fears of their addictive or side effect consequences. Ironically, there’s a certain amount of hypocrisy in the final verse as Jagger warns of the potential dangers. “And if you take more of those you will get an overdose. No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper. They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day”.