The 50 Most Drug-Addled Albums in Music History

RAMPANT MADNESS, cheap powder, and the whiskey river: below are the 50 most debauched, sodden, and certifiable records in music history.

The rules are simple: being merely eccentric while swathed in outlandish clothing fails to qualify. Having done an epic amount of street powder while getting handjobs in the groupie van is not enough. Hell, Steven Tyler claims to have spent $3 million on cocaine over the years, but would Aerosmith have sounded one iota different if they’d been straight edge? It’s the same reason Mötley Crüe doesn’t warrant space on this list. Sure, they snorted live ants (actually, that was Ozzy) and mainlined Jack Daniel’s to stave off epic boredom, but their music would have been exactly the same steaming pile of hair regardless.

No, to make this list, the music on a given album has to bleed chemical influence while also leaching a very specific brand of desperation and/or madness. The vocals, the rhythm, the melody–all have to be drenched in reverb, compression, and frighteningly altered states that could not have been recorded any other way. Except through a blind leap into the void.

And sometimes madness itself is that chemical.

Roll it, pour it, cook it, crush it, or just get stone-cold crazy; the needle will drop into the groove either way.

But excess is never enough. There also has to be undeniable beauty. And there is. Every single album on this list is a remarkable document, and warrants repeated listens over the course of a lifetime.

Also, no reggae allowed.

 

50. Skip SpenceOar

The place where this list had to start, essentially the Rosetta Stone for drug-induced madness, this is an archive of excess. Spence was a founding member of both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, who spent months howling at the walls in Bellevue after epic runs of windowpane LSD. Just after his release he was cynically recorded, releasing Oar, which is a mix of shambling nonsense and haunting ballads, soul-baring and childish in turns. The despair is palpable. This album has been passed around for years among giggling heads, serious collectors, and those in recovery looking for inspiration or something to truly fear. Everyone had a piece of Spence but Spence, who spent the rest of his life in one institution or another.

 

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49. Spacemen 3Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To

You’d have to figure when it’s spelled out so blatantly they’re probably pure-veined Mormons pulling off an elaborate inside joke. Nope. This fuzzed-out squeamish throb of an album begs for either Jesus or rehab in every other line, each of which is held uncomfortably long, the vocal equivalent of a mescaline freak staring at the wrinkles on their palm: have you ever noticed how your hand looks like a highway overpass? So what if the other songs often sound embarrassingly like all of the Velvet Underground compressed into one scorched spoon? What matters is that each track smells like a week crashed in a Manchester apartment trying (and failing) to have sex with Jesus and Mary Chain groupies on a velour couch covered in cigarette burns and drool.

 

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48. David Bowie - Heroes

Station to Station would be the obvious choice from the Bowie discography, if only because even amongst his other slabs of space oddity and forced outrageousness, Station is notoriously hunkered in a blizzard of cocaine of the quality usually reserved for Bolivian generals and DuPont heiresses. It’s a landscape of head-shaved, locked-door madness in which a thin white duke might spend six months grinding his jaw, whispering epic gibberish into a cheap microphone. Each song sounds gargled and twitchy, run through a filter of back-of-the-throat gak. And yet the choice here is Heroes, if only because it was recorded in Berlin, where Bowie and Iggy went to clean up, trading powder for midgets and sex clubs and random Prussian decadence. There the high was a tantalizing memory, and the resultant album even more amazing for its utterly bloodless inflections. Heroes is a nut-cutting, blue ice, deep Arctic void of an album. As well as totally brilliant.

 

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47. Eddie CochranC’mon Everybody

Is there any more powerful drug than unfocused teenage sexuality? Either through orgasm or chemical rush, Cochran’s raspy bass voice and “fuck ‘em all” lyrics lit an intoxicating pyre under the first 50′s wave of rockabilly crossovers, which were absolutely dripping with the primal frustration and random anger unmatched by later, more overtly sexual acts. Cochran’s filthy twang, which ruled the radio waves when panties were still pure, can be heard in nearly every rock band since, from Led Zeppelin to the White Stripes, decades of ready bobby-soxers mainlining shuffle rhythm to get their rocks off. Cochran died in a car crash at age 21.

 

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46. The ReplacementsAll Shook Down

Widely hated by most Replacements fanatics, All Shook Down is a grim slog through the wreckage of the band that is austere and revealing in turns. It’s pre-rehab but post-realization, a dissipated reprieve where stock must be taken and hard decisions made. Paul Westerberg sounds nearly bereft, the money spent, the bottles broken, the giddy buzz ten years gone. The rest of the band is surly and indifferent in turns. Founding guitarist Bob Stinson had already been “fired” for his erratic behavior and clumsy leads, left to deal (and die) with his addiction and mental illness alone—and the resultant karma is palpable. That said, the album is a slab of unwitting truth that has been more or less ignored since its release.

 

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45. JJ CaleNaturally

This album, released in 1971, is mostly known for the song “After Midnight,” which would be butchered a few years later by Eric Clapton–a fact Cale was completely unaware of until he heard his own song on the radio, transformed into a 70′s radio staple and moneymaking pow(d)erhouse. Whether Cale continued to abuse white lines, or just sound like he did, this album is like a sunny afternoon in a hammock with a beautiful girl, a joint, and decades of easy living ahead. Cale’s signature laid back virtuosity is in evidence track-by-track. There’s a reason Neil Young called Cale and Jimi Hendrix the “best electric guitar players I ever heard.” And that reason is because Cale managed to make every single song he ever recorded sound like 2am in downtown Tulsa, standing outside a bar that serves free hot dogs.

 

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44. Nick DrakePink Moon

The final studio album recorded by Drake, it is the only one of the three without a backing band, and the stripped-down quality of the songs palpably reflects his mental state at the time, one of harrowing depression. Drake overdosed on pills at age twenty-six, but left this album as a legacy, one mostly ignored at the time but now rightly regarded as brilliant– a collection of delicate and starkly personal statements that makes no concession to anything but simple expression and sheer despair.

 

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43. Miles DavisBitches Brew

Here Davis purposely and irrevocably destroys his legacy as Cool Birther and icon of be-bop by recording an incendiary slice of rock-tinged funk jazz, replete with upper register wah-trumpet, John McLaughlin’s fusion licks, and enough pimp stroll overtones to soundtrack the entire output of Iceberg Slim. The fact that Davis was aware that Jimi Hendrix was repeatedly dalliancing with his wife (the Funk/Diva legend Betty Davis) must have had an affect on the direction of his groove. Or maybe it was just the heroin. In any case, this is an absolute monster of an album, an unrepentant middle finger to jazz snobs, and a down-on-the-corner statement that throbs and wobbles and ultimately refuses to resolve itself in any context. It’s one of the most towering musical statements of the 20th century, a composition of 70′s black street life, the madness, the drugs, the hustle, the humanity. This is Proust in eight sides, four albums, one vision.

 

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42. Jeff SimmonsLucille Has Messed My Mind Up

Former member of the Mothers of Invention, Simmons left to go record a pair of albums for the Straight label, Lucille being anything but. It sounds like every 15-year-old’s room in 1970–black lights, bongs, riffs, solos and Zap-boogie arrangements with plenty of guitar noodling to shore up the tweaked lyrics. This is the album I Dream of Jeannie would be humming to if she’d lived in a bong instead of a bottle.

 

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41. Dead Boys - Young Loud and Snotty

Cleveland’s own answer to The Stooges and The New York Dolls, the Dead Boys were a dumber, drunker slice of the distorted NY thrash-cake. Featuring the rude spasm of Stiv Bators and Cheetah Chrome, this album was produced by Ten Wheel Drive’s Genya Ravan (formally of one of the first all-girl bands ever, Goldie and The Gingerbreads–real name: Goldie Zelkowitz). The Dead Boys owned CBGB for a while, trading on their combination of anthemic stupidity, surly brilliance, and rivers of cheap booze. Listening to this album is like soaking in bourbon-flavored Palmolive: an absolute joy.

 

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40. Bobby FullerLet Her Dance

Most famous for the early-sixties hit “I Fought The Law”, which has been covered by every punk band in history, and which he originally recorded (but was actually written by Sonny Curtis–who wrote the theme to the Mary Tyler Moore Show), The Bobby Fuller Four’s “Let Her Dance” is a genius example of throwback fifties rock run through an echo chamber of surf-reverb. The effect is both intoxicating and disconcerting, like the best moments of being high in any context. Having once appeared in the movie The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini with Nancy Sinatra and Boris Karloff, Fuller was found dead in the front seat of his car, soaked in kerosene. It was initially ruled a suicide, but some people think he’d been taking acid the night before at a party with members of the Manson family, who ran away after almost being spotted burning an overdosed Fuller, in order to hide evidence of his death.

 

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39. Legendary Pink Dots – Shadow Weaver

Producers of over 40 albums, this band, led by the magisterial Edward Ka-Spel, is a mix of Skinny Puppy, King Crimson, and a massive dose of tainted mescaline. Shadow Weaver itself is a tributary of prog-madness and lysergic atmospheres. “City of Needles”, “Leper Colony”, and “Ghosts of Unborn Children” are utterly demented and terrifying highlights.

 

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38. Meat PuppetsMeat Puppets II

Listening to the Meat Puppets is like hanging onto the end of a length of cyclone fencing being swung in circles by your unstable older brother. No other band has ever captured the musical axis of evil (dueling country-fried guitar licks, heroin/punk sensibility and ghostly soprano vocals) quite as capably as the Kirkwood brothers. Legendary for their addictions, instability, and multiple rehabs, they still play like runaway geniuses. Curt Kirkwood sings like a wounded squirrel, his piercing warble the perfect compliment to the desert-inflected marching cowpunk anthems. Too High To Die would have been a fine choice for an album in this spot, but “Split Myself In Two” is such a perfect metaphor for drug lust/disgust that it could not be avoided.

 

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37. Serge GainsbourgRock Around The Bunker

This bizarre coke-fueled Nazi inflected rock drama is so drowning in weird intentions and barely understood metaphor that it’s like snorting a doomed line of Borax. Still, Gainsbourg’s smooth baritone and in-jokey French Asshole delivery totally delivers. One of the least scrutable albums ever recorded, the kind of thing that could only have made sense on the high wire of huit straight days of very, very expensive accelerants.

 

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36. Elliott SmithEither/Or

Elliott Smith died at age 34 of two stab wounds to the chest, which was ruled a suicide but is still inconclusive by many accounts. A heavy user of drugs and alcohol, as well as a sufferer of mental illness, Smith nevertheless put out six albums before his death, many of which are now acclaimed by cognoscenti as among the best of their generation. But it is Either/Or in which his greatest strengths and vulnerabilities are showcased. Using a spiderweb-thin delivery, over quavering and vulnerable chords, his songs are raw and simple and unusually affecting.

 

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35. Bud PowellThe Amazing Bud Powell

The eccentrically brilliant co-inventor of bebop, and percussive rapid-tempo keyboard daredevil had already been committed to Bellevue  by the time he recorded The Amazing, in which he can be regularly heard doing his signature growling and mumbling along with the rhythm. After being arrested for public drunkenness (during which he was likely sober and manic) and being beaten by the police, enforced electroshock therapy made him alternately violent and despondent. Soon after, his beloved brother Ritchie would be killed in the same car crash as the genius trumpet player Clifford Brown. Powell eventually died of TB and neglect, one of the greatest piano players of the twentieth century. This album is a legacy of his pain and brilliance.

 

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34. The LibertinesThe Libertines

A side of raw crack with a heroin chaser. An absolutely loathsome album in its oblivious self-involvement and rampant narcissism, and yet sort of a genius slab of pop drenched in undeniable hooks and hopeless dissipation. The studio tales are lurid, the tour debauchery even worse. Junkie lore in ’77 Detroit is one thing, white-Brit junkie 2003 with a side of Kate Moss is something else entirely. Still, “Can’t Stand Me Now” or “The Man Who Would Be King” pushed past third-form dorm angst and proved worth every ounce of navel gaze hatred.

 

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33. Iggy PopKill City

The musical equivalent of Death on the Installment Plan. Iggy in mental hospital for junk withdrawal. James Williamson takes over, who everyone hates, and starts barking orders. The absolute end of the Stooges, launch of Iggy solo, a memento of junk-trash-bravado, barely listenable but breathtaking in its nihilism and lack of talent. A pure historical statement: this is your band on drugs.

 

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32. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street

It is well known that Keith Richards shot a genuinely protean amount of heroin during the Stones’ debauched encampment at Ville Nellcoté in the south of France during the recording of Exile on Main Street. Gram Parsons spent a (un)healthy amount of time hanging about as well. It got so bad that Mick and Bianca rented an apartment a few hours away and only showed up to lay down the occasional track while the rest of the boys hung out in the basement practicing “Ventilator Blues” while waiting for Keith to rouse from his opiate coma long enough to fuck up another guitar line. And yet, somehow, Exile is by far the greatest Stones record, and one of the greatest rock records of all time–despite each and every note being dipped in pure molten poppy. 

 

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31. Johnny Thunders - So Alone

There are addicts, and then there are fiends. Johnny Thunders’ hero was Keith Richards, an emulation he took very seriously. Post-NY Dolls, his band the Heartbreakers were simultaneously a kickass rockabilly NY trash rock outfit as well as a traveling dimebag circus (add Jerry Nolan, minus Richard Hell, etc). And Johnny was the worst purveyor, both the lead-slinging hero and the stumbling shit-veined clown. So Alone features relatively crappy Ventures knockoffs (actually the Chantays) as well as Zappa-esque 50′s pop recreations and the reasonably affecting “You Can’t Put Your Arm Around a Memory.” This album is essentially a dried cotton ball, a clogged spike, a foul-smelling pair of leather pants left at the corner of Lexington and 53rd. His bizarre and relatively unexplained death in New Orleans only adds to the mystique of this excellent but reeking album.

 

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30. Harry Nilsson and John LennonPussy Cats

Notorious for his epic appetites, and justly lauded for his first few albums, 1974 found Harry Nilsson in the studio with friend and fellow debauchee John Lennon. The two had caroused at length around LA, regularly being kicked out of clubs and restaurants for absurd behavior, finally deciding to cut an album together. Nilsson, whose beautiful and delicate vocals had highlighted earlier releases, got into a coke-fueled competition with Lennon about who could scream their parts louder and ruptured a vocal cord. His voice was never the same. This album is one blurry inside joke after another, with unusual and surreal arrangements of songs from Jimmy Cliff to Bob Dylan that is steeped in a fortnight of hard drugs and harder lessons.

 

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29. Shuggie OtisFreedom Flight

Conceivably the most pleasantly baked album ever recorded. Funky, smooth, and with sweetwater vocals by Shuggie himself, son of strident bandleader Johnny Otis. Bad trip? This is your listen. Pot cookies and lemonade? You’re right there too. This is a Manhattan balcony, a sunny August, a mellow blunt, a cookout with pals, and a dalliance with horns. If a more chill album ever existed, especially before the word chill ever existed, I’d be terrified to hear it: you might be lulled into a short, blissful nap you’d never wake up from.

 

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28. Suicide - Suicide

Without question one of the seminal albums of the 70′s, and possibly one of the greatest anti-rock opuses ever. Manhattan streets plus No Wave plus Jukebox Teardrop. You wanna take a swing by Deuce Avenue? Minimalism? Psychobilly? Yellow speed plus acid? Pure stoned synesthesia: genius. Also the third best album ever recorded to randomly ingest half of your mother’s medicine cabinet to.

 

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27. James RameyThe Baby Huey Story

At over 400 pounds and an unrepentant junkie, it’s not much of a surprise that Baby Huey died of a drug-related heart attack at the age of twenty-six. What is a surprise is how his sole album remains one of the best and most obscure slabs of funk recorded in the 70′s. With incredibly tight horn arrangements and a throbbing spine of a bass, Ramey’s truly raw and expressive voice carries each track well beyond the usual. What really propels the album though, in the end, is the other-worldly screech Ramey often released, part James Brown, part Grace Jones, part deeply wounded man. It pierces as it funks, skunking it’s way through high after dirty backbeat high.

 

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26. Arthur BrownThe Crazy World of Arthur Brown

The God of Hellfire was a histrionic showman often lowered onstage by a rope wearing a flaming metal mask. Which sometimes required being doused by beer to keep from being badly burned. One of the few people ever kicked off of a tour with Jimi Hendrix for outlandishness and chemical excess, Brown continued to wear a colander on his head while reaping the royalties from the hit “Fire.” The rest of the album is a surprisingly sturdy blues rehash, stealing bits from James Brown and Screaming Jay Hawkins and then forcing them through a psychedelic mash of bravado and pure methanol.

 

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25. Charles “PackyAxton - Late Night Party

One of the kings of ’70′s Memphis and a driving force behind Stax records, Axton was also a hard-partying sax player whose tracks laid over the top of any number of grooving instrumentals that sound as if they were blown through a bottle of bourbon at 3am in the parking lot behind a mortuary off Beale Street. He more or less owned a very particular boozy groove later made popular by any number of different musicians, although he got little to no credit for it.

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24. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

When every vein in your body is packed with Robitussin and molten navel junk swirl. When every molecule in your body is an illegal one, a Kabul one, cut-with-strychnine buzz. Achingly beautiful drone, lush distorted lines piled on top of one another, almost whispered and gentle vocals, pistil meets stamen in front of a screeching Marshall stack. Some of the most beautiful music ever recorded.

 

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23. Jeff BuckleyGrace

His musician-father Tim Buckley died at the height of his fame from an alcohol/heroin overdose. Jeff, apparently straight for most of his early career, was drinking and getting high regularly during the recording of this grittily opulent album, his second. Buckley’s multi-octave voice and tortured delivery sound like a mix between Robert Plant and Anthony and the Johnsons in a hot tub full of tequila. Buckley drowned after jumping into the Wolf River for a swim fully clothed and wearing work boots. There is much speculation as to whether it was intentional or not, but the beauty of these songs is unquestioned.

 

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22. Arthur RussellSpringfield

Classically-trained cellist Russell moved to Manhattan in the early seventies and quickly ingratiated himself into the underground gay dance/electronica scene, wedding compositional minimalism with looped cello, poppers, crank, amyl, and disco backbeats–the result of which is an amazing and wholly original pastiche. Russell’s monotone and disaffected vocals ride above unusual arrangements to form songs that sound like nothing so much as aural cough syrup–heavy, twitchy, deep, stoned, genuinely beautiful.

 

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21. The 13th Floor Elevators – 13th Floor Elevators

Truly a document of madness and mental disintegration. Roky Erikson was a notorious acid head in the Texan/Manson mold, and this album sounds like nothing so much as a very, very bad trip with enforced attendance at a dude ranch with barbed wire and collective meals and group prayer–not to mention bird-like vocals and strummy guitars and insane neck-stab snare hits. Apocalypse music.

 

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20. James Booker- Spiders on The Keys

Without question the single best junkie, black, gay, one-eyed, patch-wearing, proto-genius keyboard monster piano player ever to come out of New Orleans, let alone the rest of the world. This album is so consistently flamboyant and resplendent with technique and junkie fuckups that it’s a primer in how to be great and high and greatly high at the same time. A colossal, wonderful mess.

 

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19. The Brian Jonestown MassacreMethodrone

Anton Newcombe, singer, guitar player, and mind behind BJM was a notorious junkie, crackpot, and dictator. Although he did once say “People talk about Eric Clapton. What has he ever done except throw his baby off a fuckin’ ledge and write a song about it?”, which I am inclined to agree with. This album is soaked in methadone, pot, alcohol, heroin, speed and unnecessary overdubs. Like Joe Stalin with a nose full. And yet, a semblance of genius. These songs bleed rehab and untethered desire.

 

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18. Eddie “Smeero” HazelGames, Dames, and Guitar Thangs

Ah, god, is this album high. Hazel, architect of the greatest of Parliament/Funkadelic’s guitar solos, including the epic 10 minute intro to “Maggot Brain”, was more or less kicked out of the band due to his predilections and as a response recorded this genius slab of mess. Hazel-fuzz is like mother’s milk, one of the true gods of 70′s funk, unslakable thirst, and endless appetites.

 

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17. Hasil AdkinsPeanut Butter Rock and Roll

Singlehandedly founded psychobilly, not to mention carving an entire career out of singing about hot dogs and Kentucky Fried Chicken, Adkins was a true madman, his songs barely on the verge of comprehension or sanity. Adkins died ten days after purposely being run over by an ATV in his front yard.

 

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16. Cymande - Cymande

Happy, positive, full of amazing hooks and melodies, this island-jam pop-funk album is the distillation of the best joint you ever smoked, or a sticky drink with an umbrella in it being sipped at a poolside-bar. This is the talk down of every bad vibe, every bad acid trip, every argument with your wife about what to tip the bellboy. A skinny dip into the affirmative, high as a smiling, welcoming kite.

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15. Joy Division - Closer

Lead singer Ian Curtis hung himself in his kitchen. It only gets darker and more grim from there. The soundtrack to ennui, tedium, enervation, malaise, lassitude, and Weltschmerz while somehow remaining vital and transformative. Like an iron lung full of despair, this is marching music, a parade of one through the Manchester back streets.

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14. The Butthole SurfersLocust Abortion Technician

Without question THE most terrifying album ever recorded, and purportedly done so at the tail end of oceans of cheap acid, this record, if played at correct volumes, can strip the paint off your ’83 Camry. Legendary Texas madman and insufferable genius Gibby Haynes lays it all on the line here, and then goes twelves steps over. I was once listening to “O-Men” on my headphones in a cubicle in college and the librarian came and tapped me on the shoulder and said “people are complaining about the frequencies coming from you.” Yes, that is a true story. I dare anyone to listen to “Kunts” at top volume, alone in a house at midnight, with all the lights off.

 

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13. Billie HolidayLady Sings The Blues

Although this album is for some reason relatively well regarded, by 1956 Billie’s vocals had deteriorated badly due to a brutal touring schedule, along with heroin and alcohol abuse. Her performance here is gutty and raw, a professional vainly trying to deliver in the face of diminished skills, and it is unbearably sad. The elder Holiday, with seemingly full knowledge of the loss of nearly god-like vocal gifts, manages to grind through a slate of standards, and the one song that bears her writing credit, “God Bless the Child.” This album is a car wreck, unreflective of a lifetime of genius.

 

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12. Neil YoungTrans

Sure, Neil was clean by the time this came out, and a better choice would have been Tonight’s the Night or On The Beach, both recorded under veils of heroin and U-Hauls full of cheap dirtweed even David Crosby wouldn’t smoke, but Trans is the choice because this is what happens after your brain is sodden with drugs: you buy a vocorder and make 1982′s best Kraftwerk cover album.

 

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11. Love 666 -American Revolution

Heirs to a sludgey vein of post-MC5 grind, and purveyors of your aunt’s stolen blood pressure medication hoarded with half a six-pack of Malt Liquor, this tower of indifferent noise and silo-echo epitomizes an 80′s droning nihilism that wants to hunker in fields of corn, but trades scabs at the corner of 6th and Q instead.

 

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10. HoundogHoundog

A home-recorded slice of nothingness from Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, this afterthought of a Latino blues side project is so utterly pot-drenched it smells like the carpet torn out of the back of a ’71 Ford Econoline, stored in Geezer Butler’s garage for twenty years, lent to Cyprus Hill to use as bong screens, and then sold to Jimmy Cliff’s niece for eighty bucks a square inch. It’s heavy, deep, brutally stoned, magnificently ruined.

 

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9. Fleetwood MacRumors

Tusk, which was brilliantly named after Mick Fleetwood’s nose, up which half of Peru was once snorted, is probably the wiser choice here. But Rumors, for all its great songwriting and Lindsay Buckingham’s truly brilliant guitar, is really the only option. Because not only is this 70′s juggernaut bathed in booze and coke, it is simultaneously drenched in the pain of broken relationships and illicit inter-band fucking.

 

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8.  Marvin GayeHere my Dear

Absolutely pulsating with the subliminal knowledge of the existence of an entire culture of people who don’t do cocaine and yet are somehow, inexplicably, reasonably happy. Still, there is transcendent soul to be sung, so why not, in the depths of withdrawal, sing it anyway? Full of naked guile and often so transparently duplicitous it’s painful, Here is a blatant ploy to get paid and get out of a contract, full of rote instrumentation and laughable keyboard fills. And yet, it’s a poignant crumbled-life confessional with some beautiful harmonies and naked lyrics.

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7. Paul McCartneyMcCartney II

It’s astonishing how stoned and demented this album is coming from the nice and respectable Beatle. Sounds like it was recorded in McCartney’s home studio after a thousand Meerschaum pipes of top-notch Turkish hashish and….turns out it was. Amazingly progressive in retrospect, this is a testament to late-night madness and access to very expensive recording equipment that occasionally sounds like Devo outtakes. If this album were released under someone else’s name, it would be hailed as one of the groundbreaking sides of the late 70′s. For Paul, though, it’s just an irreverent, baked mess.

 

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6. Henry Rollins -

Each and every song is utterly drunk on sweaty men and barely sublimated homosexuality. I was at three different Rollins shows, all of them full of muscled skinheads who tried desperately to start a fight with me, all while watching cut Henry Rollins, wearing nothing but insanely small 70′s jogging shorts and a sweaty sixpack run through his set. It was only after I moved to San Francisco that I realized those skinheads were mostly angry about not being able to take a reflective moment and quietly admit to their heavily leathered brethren they were, in fact, pretty damn sweat-loving. They didn’t want to fight me, they wanted to take me out for an omelet. For deeply closeted muscle cases, moshing is speed dating, and gay is the drug that Dare Not Speak Its Name.

 

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5. Royal TruxTwin Infinitives

A dirty junkie laundry pile of an album. Husband and wife heroin team. The 90′s stuffed through a cheesecloth of Star Wars effects and unintelligible monkey groans. This record is so astonishingly fucked up that it’s amazing it ever got released, let alone widely reviewed. It’s a map of where not to go, what not to play, notes not to sing, effects not to use, and debauchery not to engage in. It’s a black suckhole of cigarette butts and shitty Ohio street dope. Only a fool with a phase pedal could think this was brilliance, and yet it is, because it’s so amazingly high that it’s like an Alan Lomax expedition into 1690′s Guyana. It’s pre-language. Pre-historic. A mewly babyfood mess of an album so far beyond stupid it’s awesome.

 

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4. Lou ReedThe Blue Mask

The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat would be a more expected, and perfectly legitimate choice for a template of heroin excess, especially since at those early shows Lou used to mime tying off onstage, injecting himself, and then handing the needle as a souvenier to a lucky audience member. But for my money Lou’s post-Velvets action is far more demented, wallowing as it does in just the brand of angry, lower Manhattan kink that only the man who recorded Metal Machine Music to prove the point that ultimate music was ultimately soulless could ever get away with.

 

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3. Captain BeefheartTrout Mask Replica

The holy grail of difficulty, an obscure, obtuse puzzle which takes no easy route, panders to no notion of form, consistently hits the opposite note we are trained to hear, and almost BEGS you to hate it. Hey, just about anyone can play “Brown Sugar” or “Norwegian Wood” on the guitar, and to their detriment, frequently do. It takes some serious hang-lows to play any of the tunes on this album. Or record them. Or release them. The musicianship is astonishingly good and original. The human brain is geared to fear and revile that which it cannot immediately process. What greater calling is there than to strive for an expression that triggers that reaction? What more worm-like calling is there than to salve that fear with what is safe and quickly understood? Any great work in any medium; literature, painting, dance, or sculpture, had to spend decades– or even generations– girding against public notions of propriety and the general malaise of the easily satisfied. It’s not unlikely, in forty years, that this album will be burned in the streets by hysterical mobs responding to a decree by the still-living but grimly calcified President Christie.

 

tmr

 

2. ChromeAlien Soundtracks

Conceivably the greatest lo-fi album ever recorded, Alien Soundtracks is a total acid/speed mess, a collage of excellent riffs, sci-fi punk, pure sludge, verging-on-amphetamine psychosis, Burroughs-inspired cut up techniques, and inspired fuckoffery. It practically single handedly birthed the 90′s industrial movement. Helios Creed gave a number of interviews around the time of the release of this album in which he seemed to be under the impression that he was a flaming golden lion. He later admitted he’d been eating a lot of blotter. One of my favorite records of all time.

 

Products896829-1790x1858-1751457

 

1. Syd BarrettMadcap Laughs, Barrett

No other album was even considered for the top spot. Without question, this is the most raw, disturbing, and haunting entry on the list. So much so that both solo works had to be included. Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968 due to mounting instability and lysergic dissolution, but it’s because of his huddling pair of solo albums, Madcap Laughs and Barrett, that he appears here. This is broken music. Lost Thelonius. Way out on the coil. Completely untethered. But it’s also beautiful, transcendent, and truly childlike. The structureless quality of the songs, combined with improvised lyrics and jarring (but somehow perfect) rhythmic changes, tap into something elemental without making any effort to. These songs simply exist. It’s a sound bands have been laboring to achieve for half a century, but only Syd sounds like Syd. And even he only briefly did.

 

Barrett

 

 

 

Sean Beaudoin

About Sean Beaudoin

Sean Beaudoin (@seanbeaudoin) is the author of You Killed Wesley Payne and The Infects. His latest novel is the punk rock opus Wise Young Fool. His stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including: The Onion, The San Francisco Chronicle, Al-Jazeera and Spirit-the inflight magazine of Southwest Airlines. He frequently ends his bio with an ironic or self-deprecating personal comment.
This entry was posted in 50 Greatest, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

185 Responses to The 50 Most Drug-Addled Albums in Music History

  1. Sean Murphy Sean Murphy says:

    You did some heavy lifting here, my friend.

    I’m sure anyone/everyone will have some quibbles, but it’s difficult to complain about anything considering the depth and breadth of your choices (I reckon a detour into Blues would have occupied several more, and of course Reggae is out of the question; or more importantly, most of the musicians would assert –quite rightly– that the herb is not a drug anyway).

    My ONE beef is that, however obligatory and cliched, Black Sabbath *has* to be represented. While ‘Master of Reality’ is a no-brainer, one simply can’t leave of ‘Vol 4′, in part b/c the album was almost *named* ‘Snowblind’. And it’s not that they were using drugs (they were) or that the influence of the drugs is palpable (it is), it’s that they managed to ROCK THE EVERLOVING SHIT out of the joint, not remotely debilitated. Of course, they paid a price for that later, but that’s part of the rock and roll code.

    All ostensible sins forgiven for having Syd where he belongs: at the top with no one even close to second place. And I say that with sadness, respect and awe.

  2. Sean Beaudoin Sean Beaudoin says:

    You’re dead on about Black Sabbath, and the first album made my early list, but had to be culled because…well, I don’t remember now. As you can imagine, this list could easily have been 150 long, so there were some tough cuts. But Ozzy claims to have done acid every day for a year at some point in the late sixties, so it is indeed an oversight…

    • Sean Murphy Sean Murphy says:

      Maybe it’s best to leave them off, as if to say “DUH…” Like, Black Sabbath does not even warrant mention because it’s so obvious!

      (Also: Love’s ‘Forever Changes’ is a crucial one for this list.)

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  4. gwyn says:

    tremendous, thanks

  5. jim says:

    ‘The God of Hellfire was a histrionic showman’
    Was? IS, mate, IS.

  6. A brilliant article. I also found Butthole Surfers – Locust Abortion Technician incredibly haunting. My older brother used to play 22 going on 23 when we were teenagers and it’s echo through my parent’s house was fascinating and terrifying in equal measure. I read that Captain Beefheart recorded some of the material Trout Mask Replica by placing all the musicians in separate booths where they couldn’t hear or see each other.
    Fantastic achievement and thoroughly good work. I’ve completely forgotten what I was meant to be working on and I am definitely going to track down McCartney II.

  7. stacey black says:

    love this list…

    one to consider:

    themeninblack – the Stranglers

  8. this is so full of shit… most of those records were not recorded by big druggies. So Alone and LAMF should have been #1 and #2. No Pink Floyd, No Derrick and the Dominoes, Guns & Roses…

  9. CCFK says:

    Yeah, Packy Axton was dead by 1974 and didn’t have much influence on Stax except for a brief run with the Mar-Keys before getting kicked out of that band. He was a minor player whose mother owned the label. Cropper and Dunn and Jackson and Jones own that Memphis groove, not Axton. Hell, he didn’t even play on the Mar-Key’s biggest hit, “Last Night”. Finally, “Late Night Party” isn’t even an album available during his lifetime. It’s a compilation of mid 60s tracks put together in 2011 and I’m not sure any of them were initially released on Stax. So sure, Packy Axton as a king of 70s Memphis and driving force behind Stax when he released that compilation of non-Stax singles that came out in 2011 after he was dead. Furthermore, the Bobby Fuller Four never released an album called “Let Her Dance”. Seriously, I could fact check your entire article but I don’t have time. Caveat lector.

  10. shrocket says:

    Ween.

  11. Jag Raggs says:

    Something that should’ve been pointed out about the Nilsson/Lennon LP, especially since this is an article about the drugginess of the albums included on the list.
    On the front cover, on the floor below Harry & John, you see:
    1) A children’s block with the letter “D” on it.
    2) A rug.
    3) A children’s block with the letter “S” on it.
    What does that spell kids?
    DRUGS!
    (It was a special joke from John and Harry that’s rarely picked up on).

  12. Jag Raggs says:

    I agree with David above. Johnny Thunders “So Alone” has a cast of junkies that definitely rivals any other work ever recorded. Just look at the cast members:
    Peter Perrett of The Only Ones, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols, Steve Marriott of Humble Pie, etc.
    The most heroin-y LP of all-time.

  13. Lino says:

    Not a good chart, I think A wizard, a true star by Todd Rundgrenshould be in the first 10 and instead it not compares….

  14. dannypantys says:

    no fishscale by ghostface? you can seriously hear how gacked out he is on every track. and nigga please by old dirty bastard should be there way before rollins band’s drunk on sweaty men or joy division closer. odb sounds like he made every song up on the spot and in one song he asks for a beer through the talkback and they leave it in.

    • dannypantys says:

      ah yeh and time machines by time machines which was the sleazy and johnn from coil and every song is named after a research chemical. and loves secret domain while im at it. fuck, every thing coil has touched. psychic tv dreams less sweet as well (listen to “in the nursery”), boredoms onanie bomb meets the sex pistols. fuck, i can think of so many better choices than anything by henry rollins.

  15. James Bunnell says:

    Yes, “Layla” is a huge omission.

  16. Patty Davis says:

    Loved this. It provided great entertainment while I read it to my husband while he cooked dinner. Thanks for all the memories and for giving us some new albums to track down.

  17. Joe Cogan says:

    Exile On Main Street is an obvious choice, but as the best Stones album of all time over Sticky Fingers, Let It Bleed, Beggars Banquet, or even Some Girls or Aftermath? I don’t think so. And Beefheart was taking the piss on Trout Mask Replica, as he said many times afterward. He deliberately set out to make the shittiest album possible, hoping that *exactly* the same people who hail it as a masterpiece would buy into it. Listen to, oh, I don’t know, *anything* else in his catalog if you don’t get that the joke is on fans of the album.

  18. Bonacker says:

    Royal Trux but not G.G. Allin?

    I don’t understand.

    • Jonder says:

      Go back and read the intro: “…excess is never enough. There also has to be undeniable beauty.” It isn’t a list of who did the most drugs. And where’s the beauty in GG Allin?

  19. Will Cate says:

    Great list, and I’m not going to chide you for any of your selections. But as for “After Midnight,” your timeline is a bit off. Clapton’s version preceded Cale’s “Naturally” LP by a year (1970). The song itself was known to Clapton, as Cale had released an earlier version during his brief recording career with Liberty Records in mid 60s. Indeed, Cale was about to “give it up” before Clapton had his hit of the song, which helped JJ get signed to Shelter Records.

  20. An enjoyable article, but I have to point out two things. First, I’m a diehard and fanatical Replacements fan and I like “All Shook Down” and listen to it often. It may not be the bestest but I like it plenty. Second and more seriously, in your bit on Neil Young’s “On The Beach” you point out movies and popcorn song references, but that’s the song “Speakin’ Out” which is on the even more drug addled “Tonight’s The Night” which came out a year after “On The Beach”.

    • John Bank says:

      Neil Young has said he doesn’t take drugs and even smoking pot made him feel weird and bad. Not a druggie. Sounds like one though.

      • Yes, I remember his saying that years ago, but in more recent years he’s admitted that he always got stoned before writing, and that he had to learn how to write sober.

      • Ryan says:

        If you read Neil’s book he talks about how important smoking was to his creative process ..He only stopped smoking on Dr’s advice before making ‘Psychedelic Pill’

        • Jonder says:

          …or read Levon Helm’s book, which details the time and money that was spent digitally erasing a cocaine booger from Neil Young’s nose for “The Last Waltz” film.

  21. Sean says:

    Bobby Fuller is on the list but the Flaming Lips aren’t?!?

  22. Mike says:

    Mutiny/The Bad Seed EP by The Birthday Party deserves to be on this list. Pleaseure Avalance and Mutiny in Heaven are Nick Cave at his smacked out best.

  23. brendan sullivan says:

    great list but missing:
    cromagnon: orgasm
    brainticket: cottonwood hill
    moolah: woe ye demons possessed
    early skullflower
    etc

  24. Middleman says:

    There’s A Riot Goin’ On?

    • Jonder says:

      Agree completely, Middleman. The 1960′s were over, and we lost the Family Stone. You can hear the existential pain of Sly’s broken dream of achieving human harmony through music. Becoming uncomfortably numb as the walls of addiction close around him, battling cynicism, reminding himself that he’s still a songwriter and a poet, and proving it to everyone who will listen with songs of vulnerable beauty like “Smiling”, “Family Affair”, and “Runnin Away”.

  25. Mark says:

    this is a tremendous list with one glaring omission:

    John Frusciante – Niandra Ladies and Usually Just a T Shirt

    otherwise, spot on

  26. Bruce Dumes says:

    When Harry signed my copy of “Pussycats”, he wrote the word “RUG” on the rug under the table. It wasn’t until later when I saw the block on the left was “D” and the block on the right was “S”. D-RUG-S

  27. Mr. Mxyzptlk says:

    One of those lists that you can NEVER get right because people will argue, “How could you include…”, “Why didn’t you include…”, etc. The big problem is how much you got wrong, things you could have easily looked up. Most of them are pointed out in previous response (except that it’s Genya Ravan, not Raven. The list is interesting enough; the rest is someone thrilled by the sound of his own voice and too lazy to do some fact-checking.

  28. Mr. Mxyzptlk says:

    One of those lists that you can NEVER get right because people will argue, “How could you include…”, “Why didn’t you include…”, etc. The big problem is how many basic facts you got wrong, things you could have easily looked up. Most of them are pointed out in previous responses (except that it’s Genya Ravan, not Raven). The list is interesting enough, but next time, do some fact- and spell-checking.

  29. Mr. Mxyzptlk says:

    Sorry for the double-post – I was too harsh on you in the first post. So now, sorry for the triple-post. All done. No quadruple-post.

  30. Exhausted 66 says:

    “We shoula’ released that, as is”
    -Brain Wilson & Van Dyke Parks

  31. Christine says:

    I appreciate your props to Bud Powell, but he wasn’t that way because of drugs. He was normal until he sustained a severe brain injury as the result of a racial attack — at the age of 23.

  32. Christine says:

    Oh yeah, and Serge Gainsbourg was the son of Russian Jews and got to wear a gold star in Nazi-occupied France. I don’t blame him for hating a little.

  33. Flea says:

    Red Hot Chili Peppers’s “One Hot Minute”??!!!

    Yes. And how about Alice In Chains? Dave Navarro’s first solo album? As well as John’s as had been mentioned. The White Album? Saosin’s In Search of Solid Ground or Underoath’s Define the Great Line?!

  34. Jack Odom says:

    Good job, but I have to agree with the person that brought up the Birthday Party. The rare live album “It’s Still Living” is absolutely insane.

  35. Rocknroll Steve says:

    #33 – James Williamson was NOT “some fanboy troll”. He was The Stooges’ guitarist for the “Raw Power” album and is also in the current lineup.

    #18 – Please tell us where this “epic 20 minute” version of “Maggot Brain” can be found. Also, G,D&GT was a solo album given full blessing and production by George Clinton while Eddie was still in Funkadelic.

  36. xphorm says:

    Psytrance is missing, and it’s most drug inspired music today.

  37. Flying Saucier says:

    Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow. The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Within.

  38. Nick says:

    The Bobby Fuller/Manson connection is fiction from the book Dead Circus. Manson was in prison in 1966 and had nothing to do with Bobby Fuller or his death. No doubt since there’s a Dead Circus film (been in the works since at least 2010) more people are going to believe this as fact soon. The Manson family did not exist in 1966. It was Bob Keane who suggested that Bobby died at a party and a bunch of celebrities left him in the car to look like suicide which is probably one of the wackiest ideas ever considered.

    The Grateful Dead is a big omission. Honestly I’m surprised nobody in the comments mentioned them either. The first album and their early material is really good. The 13th Floor Elevators and the Grateful Dead were the only bands I can think of that were serious about taking LSD and performing on it live back then.

    Tommy Hall’s influence in the 13th Floor Elevators is overshadowed by Roky. He wrote a good deal of the songs.

  39. Phat Phuc says:

    Great read. But that first John Frusciante solo album begs to be on the list.

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  41. Mike says:

    A distinct lack of bands that set the tone for drug induced music making such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and Big Brother (with Janis).

  42. Magnus Cromulus says:

    Let the cunts hate if they must but I think this is a pretty sweet list. I’d have dumped Buckley and thus made room for Sly and the Family, but no one’s perfect. Big props for getting Suicide on the same list as Hasil Adkins, musical troglodytes from the opposite ends of the spectrum. I dig it.

  43. Simon Says says:

    not that Zappa was into drugs, but i’d recommend any of the rock albums before 1980 for your next mushroom party. with a high recommendation on We’re Only In It For The Money or Overnight Sensation. or something more jazzy like Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

    • John Bank says:

      Zappa disliked what drugs did to people and scorned drugs and users. Reportedly he fired Lowell George for smoking weed. But, it is great shit to listen to high, for sure.

  44. Michael Dorenzo says:

    Townes Van Zandt didn’t make the list? Whut up?

  45. Seb says:

    What about John Frusciante’s Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt. One piano, one guitar, a 4-track recorder and a bag o’ heroin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEMccU0D6hs

  46. Paul says:

    Nice list. But, I gotta believe that somewhere there should have been room on it for Neil Young’s “Time Fades Away.” Out of print, and even Young disowns it. Was recorded while on tour following Harvest, and is dripping with the venom that accompanied the death of bandmate from an overdose. Album just oozes with opiates.

  47. James Peabody says:

    I’m not sure what the fan-activities at a Rollins Band concert have to do with the album Do It. John Frusciante’s Niandra LaDes And Usually Just A T-Shirt is easily one of the loopiest albums released by a major record label in the 1990′s. But lists like these are always a magnet for haters, myself included.

  48. danny says:

    no hendrix, no hip-hop? no coltrane, no parker, no armstrong? no flaming lips?

    ok then

  49. Charlie Messing says:

    About half of these I agreed with. And the guy’s right – no GG Allin? It’s just shooting from the hip here – there is no comprehensive well thought out list here. And many speculations drown the thing in doubt. Why is Rollins a drug? It took 2 weeks for the Doobie Brothers to do “What a Fool Believes”. Wonder why? Do you know the band Patto? Check em out. As for stoned bands, where is Flipper? Your list is just a start, my friend, and it has a number of mistakes too. Nice of you to start, though. Peace.

  50. Billy Shake says:

    Well done. And to think, Dr. John has been a heroin addict for 50+ years.

  51. Mike says:

    Captain Beefheart didn’t do drugs. Nicotine and caffeine, maybe.

  52. Sasha says:

    Fun read. I’d think “Dopesmoker” would be an obvious inclusion, but maybe that’s a bit too on the nose. My personal addition would be pretty much anything by Eyehategod – take this anecdote from the recording of “Dopesick”:
    Mike Williams had attempted to record the sound of smashing glass for the introduction to the album, by smashing a bottle on the floor of the studio. In the process he slashed his hand open badly and bled all over the studio floor (this recording did make it to the record as the introduction to the first track, “My Name is God (I Hate You)”). One of the band members then apparently smeared the words “Hell” and “Death to Pigs” in Mike’s blood.
    Also, when I saw them, Mike Williams was too fucked up to sing about a third of the way through, and the drummer was definitely on some serious uppers, because he completely ignored it and kept playing with the biggest most self-satisfied grin ever for about another hour.

  53. kevbot says:

    Great list! I’ll definitely have to check some of these out.
    I thought I would see Dr. John’s Gris Gris.
    One trippy acid and heroin fueled masterpiece!!

    • Maili Dinim says:

      Aha! I was just scrolling down to see if someone was going to point out this very worthy candidateOne of the most stoned, mind-melting albums ever. Peace.

  54. Don Lathers says:

    Never was a Henry Rollins fan, but I rather doubt he was doing drugs when that album was recorded. Or any other album of his. Not sure why it’s on this list.

    • HR says:

      I think his fans were, and perhaps his band as well. but you’re right: Rollins was never a drug guy. Too bad. he could’ve made more imaginative music and wouldn’t seem like such a late bloomer to me (come on, he’s my age, but he basically just discovered who John Coltrane and Henry Miller were about 15 years ago? He’s a wanna-be intellectual, but he doesn’t have the insight for it; he’s just got the attention seeking gene.

      And many of those faux skinhead types (like boneheaded terrible bands like Agnostic Front et al.) were doing drugs and ranting right wing lyrics. Hardcore is long dead and gone … unless you’re an Austrian skinhead … and still in the closet.

      • Alex Markov says:

        Sorry just cause you stopped listening to it doesn’t make it dead. so keep yapping “Hardcore is dead since ’83″ all you like. Also, just cause you love communism and A.F. hated it, didn’t make them boneheaded. They were just being more American than you were, Walter Mondale.

    • Jonder says:

      Go back and read it again. It’s about the homoeroticism of hardcore. It doesn’t claim that he was on drugs. I’m not a fan of his writing or his music, but he ran a great record label. And in response to HR: he changed his last name from Garfield in honor of Sonny Rollins, and that was over thirty years ago.

  55. Astrid says:

    Sean Beaudoin, I love you. This is the freakiest fact-packed, beautifully written bit of music history I have ever read, and re-read, and re-read. And I read about music A LOT (Klosterman, Neil Strauss, Rick Moody, etc.)

    Still piling through everything I haven’t heard of (Shuggie Otis held me up in a trance for 24 hours), and listening to old favorites with new ears (Johnny Thunders, the “stumbling, shit-veined clown,” and so on).

    THANK YOU for the music and your take on it.

  56. Hector says:

    The Rollins joke is brilliant. I’d replace Joy Division and Beefheart with Eyehategod and Flipper not because I don’t like those albums but because they aren’t drug-addled.

  57. Marko Mars says:

    I like a lot of your picks. But isn’t it really pretentious to do a progressive list of the “MOST drug addled albums”? Way too much “BEST/WORST of..” lists on the web.

    Howabout just “50 Drug Addled Albums” ? obviously a lot of worthy records were left out.

  58. Jack Odom says:

    Ha ha! The deadheads feel left out. I am not a fan, but did see them at a 3 day event in Ventura, CA in the late 80′s. I just remember thinking, “This is the last band I would want to hear if I was tripping on acid.” I love psychedelic music, albeit from a different (younger) generation. They sounded like a bunch of old stoned hillbillies to me. The best part of the show was “Space”, where the sound guys tweak a bunch of effects in between sets. I just don’t get it, but I have a better understanding of the power of suggestion and mass hysteria. As for Chrome, I knew Helios when I lived in SF. That MoFo is all kinds of crazy, but a nice guy. I was glad to see him high on the list.

  59. Erik says:

    and how exactly is SmileySmile not on this list??????

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  61. Paul Baran says:

    Correction. Miles Davis was pretty much clean when he recorded ‘Bitches Brew’. You should have cited ‘On the Corner’ when he was in a mountain of Cocaine from 1972 right through his retirement.

  62. Paul B. says:

    Oh Sean – we *know* you only chose these subjects to show off your chops (and your encyclopedic musical knowledge), but really – you’ve outdone yourself this time: “This is the album I Dream of Jeannie would be humming to if she’d lived in a bong instead of a bottle”? “…will strip the paint off your ’83 Camry” ?

    Priceless!

  63. Jojo Fielder says:

    this list would be better served with some ACTUAL drug albums like Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” or Monster Magnet’s “Spine Of God” instead of being filled with a bunch of hipster bullshit. Unfocused teenaged sexuality is a drug? Come on…

  64. James says:

    Excellent list. I would add: Magical Power Mako “Look Up the Sky”, The Incredible String Band, “The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter”, Boredoms, “Vision Creation Newsun” and Robbie Basho, “Zarthus”.

  65. Bob says:

    How the fuck is Big Star’s Third not on this list? Top ten if not number one. The Eddie C. and Bobby Fuller choices are truly stupid.

  66. HR says:

    Some great choices here! And some of your writing made me laugh out loud (no, really), especially the one about the Rollins Band and their in-denial fans — spot on, sir!

    But of course, this wouldn’t be the Internet if I didn’t find it inconceivable not to add my two cents. So here it goes. I’d add PIL’s “Second Edition” (AKA “Metal Box”), one of the most drugged out sounding albums in music history, which is no small feat. There were also a cluster of albums in the 80s by out there bands such as 23 Skidoo, Psychic TV, etc., that were hard to listen to — and probably to record! — if one wasn’t on something … something strong.

  67. Romanne says:

    You forgot about the Gun Club.

  68. JB says:

    I totally disagree on Kill City
    #1 It was only Iggy and James and no other Stooges, just studio musicians
    #2 Iggy was in the mental hospital because that’s what detox was in 1975
    #3 James had the nickname “Straight James” because he was basically straight

    The album is more a reflection on Iggy’s ’72-’74 Stooges craziness

  69. Dave-o says:

    your top two choices are the crowns in an amazingly great list, and two of my favorite albums ever. Kudos for having the balls to place these two together, which normally would cause music journalists and tweaky fans to go bonkers with genre warfare. Excellent article.

  70. Owen says:

    I agree with a bunch of these, but am a little annoyed by the lack of any of the Dead’s first three albums… They were essentially made on acid, as well as quite a bit of coke through the 70s.

    Also, I know not that many people listen to Phish, but jesus christ… Round Room by Phish is insanely drugged up (As well as Undermind). 3/4 of the band had various drug problems especially Trey (guitar) who was in the midst of being addicted to tons of types of pills and alcohol.

  71. SpaceIsThePlace says:

    So we have Brian Jonestown Massacre ahead of a band that they’ve aped the sound from and continue to ape the sound from in Spacemen 3? I guess they never got around to any Nurse With Wound, Throbbing Gristle, or The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band? When the

  72. SpaceIsThePlace says:

    So we have Brian Jonestown Massacre ahead of a band that they’ve aped the sound from and continue to ape the sound from in Spacemen 3? I guess they never got around to listening to any Nurse With Wound, Throbbing Gristle, Sunburned Hand Of The Man or The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band? Galaxie 500? Loop? Neu? Ash Ra Tempel? Hawkwind? Motarhead? Olivia Tremor Control? Opal? So when Sean the author put this lame ass list together he must of confused cough drop bands with drug bands. Fleet wood Mac and Henry Rollins really!?! WTF.

  73. Casey says:

    Led Zepp’s “Presence.” So much coke and heroin influence on that album. It’s a deeply depressing dirge, and speedball rocker at the same time. They recorded the album in like 4 days where Page didn’t sleep a wink.

  74. Paul C says:

    A fun list and a reminder (as Bill Hicks was wont to point out) that drugs have always played a crucial role in the creation of some of the best moments in music history. A minor quibble with the Joy Division (epilepsy and depression?) and Rollins (caffeine?) inclusions. If the list was slightly longer I’d imagine some Chet Baker, Nick Cave representation (Prayers On Fire), Flaming Lips (Hear It Is), MC5 (High Time), and something from the krautrock canon where albums were cut from improvised studio jams fueled by speed and acid (Cosmic Jokers). A fun read and thanks for reminders of so many great albums to go back and re-listen to.

  75. L.C. says:

    If the criteria are “desperation” and “bleeding chemical influence” as the writer says, some ideas:

    Yes (in spades): #48, #43, #33 (should rank higher), #32, #31, #5.
    No: #46 (worship the ’Mats, but album makes me happy for some reason) #12 (ok, more folks need to hear Trans, but Tonight’s IS desperation), #9 (too obvious AND its Fleetwood Mac), #6 (seems writer incl. this to brag abt. gng. to 3 Rollins shows. I saw them as a 15yo—their music doesn’t bleed chem influence to me @ ALL).
    Missing: The Birthday Party (!!!), Spiritualized, Marianne Faithfull, Broadcast, early Floyd (thx for putting Syd at #1 tho).
    Gonna get: Frusciante’s first, McCartney II, #25.

    Thank you for this list—and the opp to share my humble opinion(s).

    • mike t says:

      I saw Rollins band many times (I’m 40). I would not include him here either, not when there are many other worthy bands/records – Floyd, Grateful Dead, Monster Magnet…

  76. will mac says:

    Ok so u can’t fit them all in, but A Web Of Sound by The Seeds has to be on this list

    PS Young Americans was Bowie’s ultimate drug crazed album imo

  77. compleatPKG says:

    Great list, and an especially great idea for a list.

    I have to add, though:
    Alice in Chains – Dirt
    Ween — the Pod

  78. Ichabod says:

    Looks like I have a lot of new stuff to check out but I do give much respect for seeing Jeff Buckley on the list. I’d have included albums by Sleep & Electric Wizard as well.

  79. mike says:

    LSD is non addictive… I did it for weeks every day, doublingdoseing every time.. when I stoped, I felt like shit but I didn’t physically hurt ,like heroin or meth.

  80. Eric Sweetwater says:

    I was actually listening to Locust Abortion Technician the first time I dropped acid, somehow I realized the Butthole Surfers were a group of tech-knights who defended the Earth and it’s sensitive magnetospheric butthole. Good times…

  81. clark says:

    awesome post! I agree with some others that at the end I was wishing Ween were in there (a bit more on The Pod than Pure Guava).

    Threw this together – not perfect by any stretch, but tried to follow the 50 to a certain extent:

    http://grooveshark.com/playlist/Most+Drug+Addled+Songs+In+Music+History+theweeklings+com/95771483

    cheers

  82. mitch says:

    I would submit Monster Magnet ‘ s Tab….25
    Didn’t they sign with Caroline Records by payment of a qp of weed?

  83. Cuzzinknow says:

    Wow Dude , I think you missed 1,2&3
    1-Electric Music for the Mind and Body/Country Joe & the Fish,an aural acid trip
    2-The Parable of Arable Land/The Red Crayola with the Familiar Ugly,”Free Form Freak-Out”
    3-Music to Eat/Hampton Grease Band,”If Zappa & the Dead had a baby.”

  84. DJ Greedy G says:

    No “Love Supreme” by John Coltrane?

    Typical bullshit hipster list.

    And bullshit move in banning reggae. Some of the greatest reggae was made by straight edge artists. King Tubby hated ganja and made any artist with weed on him smoke it outside.

  85. Sally says:

    Um.. John Frusciante ??

  86. Stone Omis says:

    Jim Carroll “Catholic Boy”

  87. jmelsn says:

    what have you got against reggae..?

    Lee Perry – Revolution Dub would fit the criterion perfectly. Full of madcap sampling, deconstruction, level-twitching.

  88. Fab says:

    I was expecting to find Alice Cooper’s Dada here, but nevermind.
    I found some other seriously sick suff here, mostly unknown to me. So thank you.

  89. Niki McUmber says:

    This list made my Sunday way better. THANK YOU.

  90. jasonl says:

    What no skinny puppy?

    the guys used to do heroin back in the day, (it killed 1 guy), and some of their stuff sounds like the inside of a crazy persons head (rabies, and puppy gristle come to mind)

  91. mike t says:

    Excellent list. There was is no way to create a “list”, and make it unanimously “correct”, as the pundits encounter with every list ever compiled. I applaud the list and the effort it took to put it together. I could not have done any better, though my additions would be:

    Grateful Dead (either of the first two records). The first two records were the definition of drug-riddled, and the band was, by ’68, heavily in to experimentation as a device.

    Pink Floyd (Obscured By Clouds, or Ummagumma). I understand why Floyd was ommitted, but I would have opted for inclusion, for obvious reasons.

    Monster Magnet (Tab 25, or either of the first two records). Dave Windorf has NEVER shied away from his stance on drugs and in fact has stood proudly at the mantle of his pipe and process. If EVER there was a band/record riddled with drugs, in every way, it is Magnet.

    Coltrane (actually, several other jazz greats) could make this list.

    I do NOT agree with including G.G. All in, as others have mentioned. While homeboy was one of the poster children for why NOT to do drugs, I don’t believe his music is anywhere near the level of the other musicians and records on this list. It’s super easy to find junkie musicians, but to find junkie musicians who released definitive music is more difficult to do. I don’t think it was about finding the biggest junkie, rather finding the biggest and BEST drug riddled records and artists.

  92. Paul says:

    “The Residents” any of their many albums, is it 20 now.

  93. chino says:

    This leaves out so many albums that would fit the bill so much better than many on here. The writer is obviously a clueless hipster, that shouldn’t write about drug music like he knows about it. Lame.

    • mike t says:

      Let’s see your list a$$ wipe. Since your writing obviously world’s above what was created here, and your knowledge far surpasses that of this project…please…enlighten us. Clueless hipster he may be, but at least he gave it a (respectable) whirl, noting the impossibility of the task.

  94. Mr. Rob says:

    Great list. Though, I really can’t see HOW you could’ve left off Sly & The Family Stone’s “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”. Seriously, this could possibly be the most druggy sounding record of all time. Compare it to anything Sly did before this album and you’ll see how much of a haze he was in when writing and recording “Riot”. Should have been in the top 5 at least!!!

  95. Bob says:

    A list with the most drug-addled albums without GG Allin, Ministry and the Lee Harvey Oswald Band? You must be kidding.

    • mike t says:

      It wasn’t necessarily about the biggest druggie/junkie bands. I’m a huge fan of each of your listed bands, but none of them put up anything even close to what many of the listed 50 hold – and that’s with ‘Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Taste” being on my DOD list.

  96. Mr. Rob says:

    Also, I know from personal experience, if you had to choose the most actually “drug addled” record by the Brian Jonestown Massacre, it would not be Methodrone, where the band was barely experimenting compared to later years. The MOST fucked up BJM record is by far “My Bloody Underground”. Take a listen.

  97. jay says:

    Great article, loved the Manchester apartment line(been in similar stuations in that city Hehe ) Mick head -the magical world of the strands would get my vote, a very ‘brown’ album grim,wonderfully psychadelic and beautiful

  98. Jonder says:

    Wonderful list. Your descriptions are entertaining in themselves, written in the same spirit of excess as the music that you clearly love. I can’t wait to listen to some of the records that I haven’t heard yet. Anyone who calls this “hipster bullshit” might want to open their minds and treat their ears to something new.

  99. Peter says:

    Hank Williams?

  100. Diana says:

    Your research on Bobby Fuller seems to be limited to a novel published several years ago, in which a character with his name appears. At the time of his death, the Manson Family didn’t exist and Bobby himself had little interest in drugs, so it’s hard to see how he made this list. The “acid party” theory regarding Fuller’s death, put forth by his manager Bob Keane, has been proven to be pure speculation by Keane, nothing more.

  101. racecarsfc says:

    Ween “The Pod”. That would be very high on my list. Definitely drugged up mania.

    This is a great list and a good resource to find some rare tunes.

  102. amy says:

    If you’ve never checked out Linda Perhacs and “Parallelograms”, you have missed out on a true, trippy album, with no rhyme or reason. Definitely a “trip” and worth checking out.

  103. rod_zero says:

    So Just rock albums? boooooring

    Most electronic music is more heavy in it’s influence and intention to be used in drug consumption orgys.

  104. Martha Packard says:

    Appetite For Destruction?!?!?! The Velvet Underground And Nico?!?!?!

  105. Hexagon Sun says:

    what about MERCURY REV – DESERTER SONGS
    Top smack album haa

  106. Corystringer says:

    No ’12 Bar Blues’?

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  108. DJ says:

    There can be no list of music and Drugs without mentioning Ministry!

    Also, they even qualify as beautiful with the song “The Fall”, check out the LIVE Sphinctour version in my link!
    As for Drugreferences, check the entire Music-Industry, “FIX: The Ministry Movie” or Al Jougensens Autobiography..

  109. Laura says:

    Miles was about 15 years clean from heroin when he recorded “Bitches Brew”. Now…cocaine….like Paul mentioned a bit ago…really anything from the early 70s onward.

  110. harry Regina says:

    disagree about aerosmith — draw the line sounds way diff. than toys or rocks — guitars are lazier, whiskey soaked, defeated, tyler’s drug inferences and lyrics more sleazy — his voice sounds shot- the record sounds totally uninhibited and flying off the tracks
    also tusk is more cocaine riddled then rumours — buckingham’s paranoid fast numbers and songs with only choruses, no verses mixed ,with mcvie’s super slow ballads
    As people mentioned, where’s Zep — Physical Graffiti is total opium, the drums, the guitars,and on Presence Page just plays wasted
    Sly Stone on There’s a riot — totally wasted, half the words are mumbled and super dark
    Ever hear Kate Bush The Red Shoes? Awesome album, sounds like a Marijuana trip
    Depeche Mode Black Celebration has a dark drug infested synth sound — Half NightClub, half in a dark room lying on the floor

  111. harshtimez says:

    How you missed “Dirt” by Alice in Chains is beyond me. Then having “Madcap Laughs” at number 1 shows you sort of know what you’re talking about, but have read the wrong books.

    Syd was insane and likely would have been insane regardless of the drugs he abused. That’s common knowledge among most PF scholars.

    I don’t think I saw Appetite For Destruction either? Sorry, the list has some great albums to listen to, but to leave those two off and have Madcap as #1 is showing some seriously subjective writing.

  112. Banootan says:

    What about Nirandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt by John Frusciante?

  113. Banootan says:

    What about Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt by John Frusciante?

  114. Horny the Clown says:

    Electric Wizard-Dopethrone (2006 Remaster) #1-50

  115. StewQ says:

    What about Julian Cope? His album, Fried, is easily one of the most drug-addled and brilliantly eccentric musical endeavors of all time. Cope’s psychedelia-drenched experimentalism is fully evident on the Fried album sleeve which features a naked Cope crouched on top of the Alvecote Mound slag heap clad only in a large turtle shell. Glad to see someone also mentioned Peter Perrett of The Only Ones.

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    thus he/she wishes to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained
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  117. nick says:

    Anyone else think that The Mars Volta would have fit on the list?

  118. Fuck you says:

    There’s no Alice in Chains’ Dirt? That’s like the most heroin addled record I’ve heard. Korn self titled sounds like a meth binge and comedown. Tools undertow and ænima sounds like 4 guys angry at themselves on acid. I mean look at ænima’s fucking artwork, it’s meant to be viewed on LSD. Filters shortbus is just a straight up drug record. This list really fails. These records on the list don’t have drug influence they just sound like the musicians couldn’t even write music unless on drugs. I’m still pretty appalled that Alice in chains dirt wasn’t on the list.

  119. The Wrand Gazoo says:

    Subjective indeed. Some facts here and there. Also misconceptions and/or misunderstandings.
    Regardless, there are certainly some fantastic albums touched upon here.

  120. Matt says:

    Parliament Funkadelic George Clinton & Family! how could they not be mentioned. I think this list is trash and should be re thought.

  121. Matt says:

    “Let me put my sunglasses on so I can see what im doing” – George Clinton

  122. Bella says:

    Where is Cream Disraeli Gears? It’s Classic. And the first Aerosmith album. Can’t forget the toxic twins.

  123. When I read this blog back ago, I thought it was completely nonfactual… so I wrote this more realistic article

  124. BK93 says:

    Great list. I would add Aerosmith “Rocks”, Electric Wizard “Dopethrone”, Flaming Lips “In a Priest Driven Ambulance”, and Sebadoh “Sebadoh III”.

  125. Skyler says:

    great list! happy Eddie Hazel’s album made it on there. You really are missing “The Pod” by Ween though, that would be near the very top for me. Also I expected at least one “The Boredoms” albums; “Pop Tatari,” “Onanie Bomb meets the Sex Pistols” or even “Super AE”

  126. shthar says:

    Tusk was named after Mick Fleetwood’s Penis.

  127. You have totally omitted the Reggae genre. True, it’s (most of the time) “only” pot Reggae artists are dealing with, but some of them are true junkies. And from time to time you stumble upon the ultimate tropical crackhead, as Jamaica has been a cocaine heaven for 35 years or so now…

    For instance, Gregory Isaacs’ “Night Nurse” is not about some woman taking care of Gregory. It is about coke. Gregory Isaacs so didn’t care and was so far gone that he was capable of lighting his crack pipe during meetings at Island Records with Chris Blackwell…

    But to get back to ganja, here is a quick selection that serious Reggae fans will no doubt add to

    Bob Marley – Kaya
    Peter Tosh – Legalize it
    Horace Ferguson – Sensi Addict
    Mighty Diamonds – Pass the Koutchie
    Toots & the Maytals – Pass the Pipe
    Sugar Minott -Herbman Hustling

    the number of pot-related songs, of Sensi Dub, Kaya Dub, Herb Dub, etc… is simply staggering

  128. bob says:

    everything by BLIND MELON , SUBLIME, THE DOORS

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  130. Boomhoward says:

    Sitting here in puzzled disbelief……
    that Derek and the Dominos ‘Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs’ was not listed ANYWHERE, much less the Top 5.

  131. Any list of drug-addled albums is incomplete without Velvet Acid Christ. I prefer Fun With Knives http://www.amazon.com/Fun-Knives-Velvet-Acid-Christ/dp/B00000ID37

    Definitely not reggae and just look at the tracklist:
    1. Decypher
    2. The Dark Inside Me
    3. There Is No God
    4. Icon
    5. Fun With Drugs
    6. Speedball O.D.
    7. Psycho
    8. Slut
    9. Apflux
    10. Fun With Knives
    11. Caught
    12-66. [Untitled]

    It does not disappoint.

  132. Hunter S. Jones says:

    I think I love you. This list is epic.

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