Jimmy Hendrix – Purple Haze (1967, Are You Experienced, Psychedelic Rock)
Have you tried listening to Country while getting high? If not, give it a chance. Illegal Smile, written and performed by John Prine, is a very good example for a country song describing the everyday life of a full-time cannabis connoisseur: “Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down. and won; And it was twelve o’clock before I realized That I was havin’. no fun”.
Peter Tosh – Legalize it (1976, Legalize It, Reggae)
“If you continue to burn up the herbs, we gonna burn down the cane fields” You are a militant guerilla grower and not a big fan of police helicopters? Here is your Reggae anthem! The lyrics speak directly from the heart of a passionate outdoor grower. “We don’t trouble your banana, we don’t trouble your corn; We don’t trouble your pimento, we don’t trouble you at all.”
Most of us given the chance to time travel would most likely set the date to 1969, to see Jimmy Hendrix perform Purple Haze, along with his interpretation of the American national anthem at Woodstock. There is nobody on this planet who knows how to play the guitar he did.
Rick James – Mary Jane (1978, Come Get It!, Funk)
This is one of the best protest anthems written in the 1960’s. This song has the potential to take us back in time, when protesting for civil rights and against war was common sense among a whole generation of cannabis enthusiasts. Great choice for listeners with a rebellious soul!
Ray Charles – Let’s Go Get Stoned (1966, Crying Time, Rhythm and Blues)
Let’s go get stoned was shortly released after Ray Charles got out of rehab. It’s a classic that brings things to the point. Give it a try and maybe use it as musical reminder when other weed smokers are living with you. When “Let’s Go Get Stoned” is being played, everybody knows what’s happening.
You’re about to light one up and need music? We selected 20 songs for your next smoking session. Part 1 starts off with the 1960's and 70's.
Recorded in August 1969, only hours after Hendrix closed Woodstock with the “Star-Spangled Banner,” this big bang of jazz-rock fusion rarely gets credit for also being a psychedelic watershed. Horns and keyboards float and storm like electric clouds in a monsoon sky, their movements warped by echo, reverb, tape edits and loops. It turned the bebop innovator into a hippie-era superstar, gigging alongside the Grateful Dead at venues like the Fillmore West, while its trippy gatefold LP sleeve was a mandatory dorm room weed-cleaning tool for a generation.
It was recorded in 1977, but this cornerstone of both hip-hop and EDM still sounds like the future – as imagined by a bunch of well-groomed Germans chilling in an Amsterdam hash bar. “Europe Endless” conjures a procession of chrome-plated cyber-gnomes, “Showroom Dummies” sounds like a wake ‘n’ bake trip to the Berlin’s KaDeWe superstore. But the title track, which informed Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock” and a generation of breakdancers, is like sneaking vaporizer one-hits on the Acela train en route to . . . damn yo, what’s our stop again?
This noirish 1994 LP sounds especially good around 4:20 because few producers have paid such obsessive attention to detail as Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. Vocalist Beth Gibbons’ cold-water siren songs could induce melancholic inner gazing all by themselves. Barrow, meanwhile, worries over every beat and sample till they reach maximum bloom, transforming the songs into set pieces from a spy movie (“Sour Times”) or near-burying them in hip-hop dub (“Wandering Star”), and always leaving you craving more.
A few generations have been blown away by this record, from Eighties post-punks to early ’00s Brooklynites, who ripped it off mercilessly. (Phish loved it, too, once covering the whole album live.) The heady mix of quasi-African and Arabic rhythms, New Wave twitchiness and David Byrne’s existential crises (“Once in a Lifetime” is only the most famous) somehow also seem joyous and even blissful. An album designed for both deep contemplation and maximum head-nod.
This Seventies collection of Jamaican recordings, most crafted by legendary ganja-cloud dub producer Lee Perry, was too spacey, it seems, to get an American release. But early versions of “Lively Up Yourself,” “Small Axe,” “Trenchtown Rock,” “Kaya” and “Sun Is Shining,” among others, are warmer, woozier, and waaaaaaaaay more stoned than the U.S. releases. The harmony vocals on “Duppy Conqueror” are an instant contact buzz. As Marley sings on “Kaya” amid deep tokes, “I’m so high, I even touch the sky.”
Dr. Dre’s solo smash was named after a particularly potent strain of weed, which was fitting: With its bottomless bass vortices, Snoop Dogg’s just-hit-the-bong flow and a laid-back vibe signaling a new kind of gangsta cool, The Chronic felt like an endless toke on a hot summer afternoon. A generation of stoners found it all but impossible not to smoke up their cars when “Let Me Ride” and “Nuthin But a ‘G’ Thang” came on the radio.
Dub music might be the most accurate-ever musical translation of stoned brainwaves. In the hands of Augustus Pablo, who transformed his signature instrument, the melodica, from kindergarten singalong helper to the sonic equivalent of an indica-packed ice bong, dub reached its most sublime heights. This instrumental set is his chill-out masterpiece, with productions by dub’s two grandmasters, King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry, along with grooves by a Seventies reggae A-team and occasional vocal fragments that surface like half-formed thoughts before slipping away again. Potent.
Like a super-stoned campfire jam with an A-list of Cali hippie-rockers – including Joni Mitchell and most of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and CSNY – this hazy solo project by the altered-consciousness overachiever sounds like it was pretty much made up on the spot. See the toasted strum-fest “Music Is Love” (with Neil Young on congas!) and “Tamalpais High,” with Jerry Garcia and Jorma Kaukonen noodling around wordless Crosby-Nash harmonies. By the time it’s over, you may not remember your name, either.
Pink Floyd’s magnum opus hit just as pot was becoming mainstream in suburbia. It had everything you’d ever want from a stoner symphony: Grand, transporting melodies, synapse-ripping synth experiments and sound collages, intricate musicianship, state-of-the-art studio sound and John Lennon-meets-Thom Yorke lyrics like “The lunatic is on the grass/Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs/Got to keep the loonies on the path.” Dark Side was a terrifying depiction of mental illness and capitalist excess and a withering assessment of the British class system. But prom committees throughout America couldn’t resist selecting “Time” as their senior class theme song – perhaps because they were all so amazingly high.
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