If you are a cannabis enthusiast and also love music, take your Cannabis Pre Rolls and enjoy this list we have for you.
If You’re A Viper (originally released as You’se a Viper, is a Jazz song composed by Stuff Smith. It was first recorded by Smith and his Onyx Club Boys in 1936. The song was a hit for Smith and is one of the most frequently covered songs about marijuana in American popular music. The great Fats Waller recorded the song in 1943, and his version, which has been released numerous times since the 1950s, has kept the song in circulation.
Waller’s track is also a small historical footnote in the story of Harry J. Anslinger and his efforts to prosecute black Jazz musicians for smoking marijuana. Anslinger was the head of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He was a supporter of prohibition and the criminalization of drugs and played a pivotal role in cannabis prohibition for an unprecedented 32 years in his role as commissioner until 1962. He charmingly wrote in his book The Protectors(1964), in a chapter called Jazz and Junk Don’t Mix about black Jazz musicians:
Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.
Aslinger busted Billie Holiday on stage as sang her song Strange Fruit. He had Holiday handcuffed on her death bed due to suspicion of drug use and possession and also busted Charlie Parker.
“Viper” was Harlem slang for a pot smoker and was probably meant to conjure the image of the hissing viper taking a swift, sly suck on a skinny little joint which practically all Jazz musicians were doing.
Smith’s song was not the only one to refer to Viper culture in the 1930s. Waller had his own called Viper’s Drag, and there was the hit Viper’s Dream recorded by Django Reinhardt in France.
If You’re A Viper‘s lyrics point to the way interest in Jazz and African-American culture were slowly breaking down cultural barriers in early 20th century America. In later recordings, the first two lines of the song ”Think about a reefer, 5 feet long/Not too heavy, not too strong” in both Smith’s and Waller’s original recordings, a more famous 1943 cut has the second line as ”Mighty Mezz, and not too strong”. “Mighty Mezz” refers to Milton Mezzrow, a Jewish saxophone player who became enamored with black American culture while playing in the speakeasies of prohibition-era Chicago. A self-described “voluntary negro”, Mezzrow moved to Harlem after prohibition ended, and in his early years was known more for his drug-dealing than his playing. The stronger Mexican marijuana that he introduced to the Jazz scene in Harlem came to be known simply as “Mezz”.
Armed Forces Radio frequently invited Jazz musicians to play for the troops overseas and made “V-Discs” (“Victory Discs”) for distribution as a morale booster. Waller recorded a V-Disc version of Viper just weeks after Anslinger vowed to go after pot-smoking musicians. Aslinger and others believed that black musicians were deliberately smoking marijuana to obtain “drug addict” deferments to avoid the draft. Waller decided to use the occasion to reflect his puckish contempt for the man and included a spoken word intro, saying:
Hey, cats, it’s four o’clock in the mornin’. I just left the V-Disc studio. Here we are in Harlem. Everybody’s here but the police, and they’ll be here any minute. It’s high time, so catch this song.
The song has been covered by Bobby Short, Widespread Panic, country musician Wayne Hancock, Alex Chilton, The Manhattan Transfer, lesbian folkie Erin McKeown, and many others.
Let’s Go Get Stoned is a song originally recorded by The Coasters in April 1965 and by country singer Ronnie Milsap in 1965. It was written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.
Let’s Go Get Stoned was Number One on the R&B charts for Ray Charles. The single was released shortly after Charles was released from rehab, trying to kick a 16-year heroin addiction. Charles heard the Milsap recording of the song when he was still an unknown artist signed to the R&B label Scepter Records. According to Milsap, Charles liked his version of the song so much that he decided to record it himself. It is notable for being one of Ashford and Simpson’s first successful compositions together; the duo also wrote Charles’ I Don’t Need No Doctor. An unusual feature of the recording is that it closes with the sound of the “NBC chimes”.
Roll Another Number (For The Road) by Neil Young is from Young’s grief-wracked album Tonight’s The Night (1975) kind of a “goodbye and good riddance” to Woodstock Nation and all that it symbolized. Though Neil Young had of course played at Woodstock and written the song of the same title, he was distanced from hippie culture by the death of his band’s Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten from a heroin overdose. Young, like Frank Zappa, idolized the hippie culture while openly loathing it.
Mary Jane by Rick James is proof that a lot of musicians claim to be in love with Mary Jane, but his sultry post-funk tones make his dedication the sexiest. It was released in 1978 as the second single from his debut album Come Get It!. The song peaked at Number Five on the R&B charts in spring 1978. As one of his earliest hits as a solo artist, it is one of his most notable songs. It was composed by James and his keyboardist Billy Nunn, who is credited for piano, strings, background vocals, arranging flute parts, and co-composer.
Addicted by Amy Winehouse: 21st century romance, as explained by Amy. She is telling a playful story about her love for marijuana. Her friend’s boyfriend keeps smoking her weed, and it is pissing her off.
I’d rather have myself and smoke my homegrown/It’s got me addicted, does more than any dick did.
High By The Beach by Lana Del Rey; not sure how to spend your 4/20? Take your cues from Mis Del Rey and her great post-breakup song:
All I wanted to do was get high by the beach/Get high, baby, baby, bye bye…
You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty isn’t so much about weed, but one line is, and it is just too memorable to go unacknowledged. Radio stations famously censored it, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from singing it out loud in their car. It made the folks at MTV uneasy; but rather than ban the video, they simply ran an edited version that played the word ”joint” backwards. Petty:
Imagine my surprise when this song comes on television and they say, ‘Let’s roll another ‘noojh’, which sounded worse to me than ‘joint’. Because, I don’t know if you’ve ever had a noojh, but that sounds really wicked.
You Don’t Know How It Feels is from Petty’s album Wildflowers (1994). It reached Number One on the Billboard Rock chart and Number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his last Top 40 hit. The song is really about Petty’s desire for personal and professional autonomy.
Let’s get to the point/ Let’s roll another joint/ And let’s head on down the road/ There’s somewhere I got to go.
The Reefer Man is a 1932 Jazz song composed by J. Russel Robinson and Andy Razaf. It was first recorded by Cab Calloway and his orchestra, with versions by others over the years, including by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The song is performed by Calloway in the film International House (1933).
If he trades you dimes for nickels/ And calls watermelon’s pickles/ Then you know/ You’re talkin’ to that reefer man.
Got To Get You Into My LifefromLennon/McCartney is a sunny, soulful song from Revolver (1966) that is generally considered to be one of The Beatles‘ many upbeat love songs – but according to Paul McCartney, the love object is cannabis:
Got To Get You Into My Life was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot. I’d been a rather straight working-class lad but when we started to get into pot it seemed to me to be quite uplifting. It didn’t seem to have too many side effects like alcohol or some of the other stuff, like pills, which I pretty much kept off. I kind of liked marijuana. I didn’t have a hard time with it and to me it was mind-expanding, literally mind-expanding. So it is really a song about that, it’s not to a person, it’s actually about pot. It’s saying, ‘I’m going to do this. This is not a bad idea’.
Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die from Willie Nelson with Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson: In this honky-tonk tune from 2012 in which Nelson instructs the listener on just what to do with his ashes after he takes his final bow. It seems fun enough, but then there is a guest verse from Snoop himself leaves no doubt about it. There are also help country-music great Kris Kristofferson and newcomer Jamey Johnson, but the song belongs to longtime pot proselytizers and cannabis entrepreneurs Nelson and Dogg, with lyrics like:
Call my friends and tell ’em/ There’s a party, come on by…
It is not just one of my favorite songs about weed, it is also the most heartwarming song about cremation.