Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

The Issue of Drugs


The sixties today are perceived as associated with drug culture. But there were anti-drug songs as well, such as "The Pusher" by Steppenwolf and "Kicks" by Paul Revere & The Raiders. "Mother's Little Helper" by The Rolling Stones and "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane were descriptive about drug use, but left judgment up to the listener. Most of the music that dealt with the topic used metaphors to mask to issue. As songs that seemed to celebrate drug use were being banned from pop radio, many people began to look for hidden references. Drug culture seemed to be divided into casual users, thrillseekers, addicts, prisoners and dead people. One of the persons who embodied this entire spectrum of drug culture was Jim Morrison, whose lyrics for The Doors seemed to become more abstract the deeper he dove into LSD and alcohol. At his most delusional peak, he created some masterpieces such as "Riders On The Storm" and "L.A. Woman." But the popularization of drug culture took its toll in the late sixties and early seventies as a series of drug overdose deaths wiped out some of the top artists of the rock scene including Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
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