A while back, we posted the first part of our massive list of the best weed songs ever, featuring a pretty diverse range of 420 tunes, including Black Sabbath, Rick James, Toby Keith and Peter Tosh. It’s proof that music isn’t the only universal language; no matter what genre you’re a fan of, you’re likely to find a great tune about getting high. In fact, after researching these articles, we’d be hard pressed to come up with a genre of music that doesn’t have at least one weed song.
Maybe adult contemporary. It’s unlikely that Celine Dion or Michael Bolton has a good song about smoking weed. But we all know they still do it, even if they don’t sing about it. Especially Michael Bolton. Nobody sings that soulfully without a little help from the parliament of trees.
So without further ado, here’s the next installment in GrassDoor’s list of the greatest weed songs in music history:
- Reefer Head Woman by Aerosmith. New England isn’t exactly known for its blues scene – it’s more James Taylor than James Cotton – but Boston’s own Aerosmith performs as ably as you’d expect here. “Reefer Headed Woman” is more about the titular woman than the titular reefer, but the woman in question is seriously difficult for Steven Tyler to keep up with; he sings about needing to drink two fifths of whiskey just to get half as high as her. The song is actually a cover of a much older song, but Tyler lost his copy and had to call the famous Dr. Demento to give him the lyrics.
- The Reefer Man by Cab Calloway. “Is that the reefer man?” “That’s the reefer man!” “I think he’s losin’ his mind!” “I think he lost his mind!” A classic from the pot-soaked early days of jazz, this was made famous by the iconic Calloway and later covered by fellow jazz musicians Harlan Lattimore and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. As Calloway hits go, it’s not one of his most memorable, but it’s a fun little ditty that showcases his trademark energetic charisma.
- Save The Roach For Me by Buck Washington. This song from 1944 is not, as you’ve surely guessed, about insects. “Save The Roach” is a great time capsule for slang, referring to cannabis as “tea,” “jive,” “gage” and other bygone terms. If you didn’t know much about pot, you could be forgiven for not even knowing what the hell it’s about. Washington himself got around, playing piano for fellow bud-loving jazz musicians Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith (who, themselves, were no strangers to singing about their favorite herbal pastime).
- Rainy Day Women no. 12 & 35 by Bob Dylan. For reasons we’ve discussed before, some weed songs are pretty ambiguous. If you’re researching weed songs it’s usually a good idea to double check the lyrics to make sure the pot references aren’t too hidden by sly wordplay and double-entendre. For instance, “Hold It, Now Hit It” by The Beastie Boys — OK, sure, it appears on lots of top-ten-best-weed-songs lists, but lyrically there aren’t a lot of direct references to pot. Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women,” which a lot of 90s kids probably discovered on the Forrest Gump soundtrack, doesn’t hide its intentions. And it’s hard to disagree with the Poet Laureate of American Folk Music when he argues that everybody must get stoned.
- New Americana by Halsey. There aren’t a lot of post-legalization songs that celebrate Americans’ new freedom to toke up, but Halsey’s anthem to the millennial/zoomer lifestyle isn’t afraid to be grateful for it. In Halsey’s song, the new Americana is high on legal marijuana and raised on Biggie and Nirvana. Great tune. Bonus: Halsey plays Wonder Woman in at least one animated movie, and you just know Diana Prince isn’t above sharing a spliff with Martian Manhunter and The Flash.
- Mary Jane by Janis Joplin. It’ll surprise exactly no one that Janis Joplin – a member of the 27 Club tragically lost to drug overdose – sang a song about cannabis. An earlier track from Joplin’s songbook, “Mary Jane” has a strongly retro feel that doesn’t match her later, more popular output; it’s possible to listen and not know it’s her at all, since her distinctive vocal style doesn’t reach the mezzo-soprano heights displayed in songs like “Get It While You Can” and “Ball And Chain.”
- One Toke Over The Line by Brewer & Shipley. The lyrics to some weed songs are blatant, with specific references to smoking weed and how it makes you feel. Others are more subtle, hiding their meanings behind secret metaphors. “One Toke” is a little different; it repeats its title frequently, and indeed the title was inspired by a weed session between Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley. But, like… that’s it. The rest of the song is about sitting at a train station reminiscing. But it was enough for then-Vice President Spiro Agnew to call it “blatant drug culture propaganda that threatens to sap our national strength.” Agnew later resigned in disgrace over an unrelated matter.
- Gin & Juice by Snoop Dogg. A classic. More need not be said. “G&J” is largely about drinking gin (specifically, Seagram’s and Tanqueray), but pot features strongly as well – specifically indo, a type of ultra-strong hybrid strain. Later Snoop mentions a brand of weed, provided by Dr. Dre, that’s so strong it makes him choke. Think about that for a second: Weed strong enough to make Snoop take a step back. Is the world truly ready for such a thing?
If you liked these, check out our previous list. And stay tuned for more!