Heroin is a devastating, deadly drug, and addiction to it is usually described as absolutely Hellish. However, it has inspired some great music, and the following are five excellent odes to smack.
1. Velvet Underground- “Heroin”
One of the most frank songs ever written about drugs. The Velvet Underground recorded songs about other topics, but heroin was a notable muse. It alternates from a charging gallop to a spaced out drone, and it contains some awesome spastic guitar freakouts.
2. Iggy Pop- “Lust for Life”
“Lust for Life” was recorded in Berlin with a major assist from Iggy Pop’s former drug mule, David Bowie.
Although it’s now used to hock cruises, “Lust for Life” is one of the biggest, wildest songs recorded by one of rock’n’roll’s wildest personalities. Addiction, euphoria and general debauchery are the song’s principal lyrical themes.
3. Jay Z- “I Know”
Rapping about drugs is nothing new to Shawn Carter, but this is probably his most inventive drug track. It’s a tale of addiction told from heroin’s point of view under the guise of a gentle R&B track.
4. John Lennon- “Cold Turkey”
OK, so technically this is a song about quitting heroin and not the drug itself. Still, it’s one of Lennon’s best solo tracks. Filthy guitar licks and primal shouting always make for an excellent John Lennon track.
5. Spiritualized- “Cop Shoot Cop”
With an opening couplet, “There’s a hole in my arm where the money goes/ Jesus Christ died for nothing I suppose”, the song’s subject matter is laid bare from the beginning. Clocking in at more than 17-minutes long “Cop Shoot Cop” is a shambling musical journey in all the right ways. Of course there are some psychotic breaks from reality completely drowned out in noise along the way, but anyone with some free time should check out this amazing, drug-inspired track.
Dishonorable mention: Guns N Roses- “Mr. Brownstone”
Some of Axl Rose’s least appealing vocals and an opening guitar lick completely derivative of Bo Diddley are just two of the reasons this song is utterly devoid of redemption. Who knew members of GNR did drugs?