Local Wire


Below are four of my favorite "smoking songs" — tunes from throughout the decades that capture the experience of filling one's lungs with vice. For a more comprehensive list, Google the words "High Times pot songs."

1. Fraternity of Man, "Don’t Bogart Me" (1968): This song, which begs the listener not to "bogart that joint" and "pass it over to me," appeared on the Easy Rider soundtrack in 1969, providing just one more piece of evidence that some of our parents really were smoking pot before we ever tried it and, therefore, we will never be as rebellious or cool as we'd like.

2. Black Sabbath, "Sweet Leaf" (1971): The hacking cough that opens this track is a classic moment in rock, and a sound that any chronic smoker will recognize as the aftermath of a really good bong hit. Lyrics like "Straight people don't know what you're about/they put you down and shut you out," illustrate how Ozzy and pot were just two misunderstood misfits in the world.

3. Musical Youth, "Pass the Dutchie" (1982): The song is a cover version of The Mighty Diamonds' "Pass the Kouchie," and the chorus can also function as a sort of instruction manual for inexperienced group smokers who fuck up the rotation when passing: "Pass the Dutchie on the left-hand side."

4. Tom Petty, "You Don’t Know How It Feels" (1994): This song feels like you've just been smoking with a friend and complaining about that person you used to see who "don't give a damn" for you anymore — the rhythm is a slow, cloudy-headed shuffle, underlying instrumentation so sparse it sometimes sounds like short-term memory loss has afflicted the musicians.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea