The 10 Coolest, Scariest, Freakiest Songs About Heroin

Categories: Drug Month!

iggy-pop-lust-for-life.jpg
Iggy Pop: Here comes Johnny yeahhhhh...
See also: 10 Songs About Cocaine
See also: 15 Songs to Light Up to on 4/20

Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. It's in many ways the enduring holy trinity of pop music. Like it or not -- we're not advocating anything -- drugs are responsible for lots of great songwriting. So every Friday in August, we're going to take a look at the impact of drugs on popular music.

A quick recap of the lesson learned from Requiem for a Dream and Trainspotting: Heroin is bad news. The drug has claimed the lives of too many young actors and musicians, and often the particularly brilliant ones. The danger is part of the allure, and that said, heroin is responsible for plenty of fascinating art, so we took on the arduous task of narrowing this list down to 10 incredible songs about heroin (in no particular order).

The Velvet Underground- Heroin
Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it's my wife and it's my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I'm better off and dead

Let's kick it off with an obvious choice. Lou Reed gives us a feel for what it's like to be high on heroin, and the experience of buying it in "Waiting for the Main." The song is absolutely terrifying, moving from a glory blurry haze to a cacophonous, apocalyptic breakdown, as Reed shouts, "I guess that I just don't know." Then, it slides back, for a moment into that idyllic lull. Harrowing!

Lou Reed- Perfect Day
Oh it's such a perfect day,
I'm glad I spent it with you.

The guy had a subject, and he stuck to it. Here, Lou examines the more pastoral vibe of the drug. After all, it wasn't kinda awesome, why would anyone do it. Reed has a fantastic day drinking sangria in the park and feeding animals in the zoo with his good ol' pal heroin.

Pink Floyd- Comfortably Numb
There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move
But I can't hear what you're saying

The clips from The Wall in this video are pretty terrifying. I mean, c'mon, let the poor kid keep his rat. Believe it or not, they make great pets. At least we can guess from the lyrics that the guy passed out isn't in any pain...or so we hope, until he starts to rot.

Ministry- Just One Fix
Blood keeps drinking away
Certain of it's destination
Driving through New Orleans at night
Gotta find a destination
Just one fix

You know you've got a legit heroin song when beat poet/legendary drug explorer/all-around-interesting-fella William S. Burroughs makes an appearance in your video. (Which is chock full of scary shit.)



GG Allin- Carmelita

Carmelita hold me tighter
I think I'm sinking down
And I'm all strung out on heroin
On the outskirts of town

GG covers this Warren Zevon classic with a heroin needle sticking out of his guitar. His self-destruction was always more theatrical than Zevon's, but if you can look past the shock schtick, there's a pained sincerity to what he did. Bur seriously, you gotta look past a lot of awful shit: He planned on committing suicide on stage, but an overdose ended up getting to him first.



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24 comments
ntrdyfrme
ntrdyfrme

mexican carivan by the butthole surfers

stevewheeler51
stevewheeler51

And Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" is not about smack..

stevewheeler51
stevewheeler51

Savoy Brown "Needle & Spoon" The Beatle's "Happiness is a Warm Gun".

sbalo61
sbalo61

Don't forget the song Smack Jack by Nina Hagen

knelange
knelange

To the author - go listen to the entire "Dirt" album by Alice in Chains and start this list over."


troydlaw
troydlaw

#11 Should be Pool Shark either acoustic or the punk version by sublime.  Captures the sadness of addiction.  Sadly the line "one day I'm gonna lose the war" was prophetic on Bradley's part...

Jon Crowley
Jon Crowley

The new PS4 commercial featuring "Perfect Day" is comedy gold if you "get it."

shanetheclassic
shanetheclassic

You left out a lot of really good ones - Dave Matthews Band - Crash Into Me, Uncle Kracker - Follow Me, Shiny Toy Guns - Le Disko, Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar, The Black Crows - She Talks to Angels, U2 - Bad, and the more obvious but still classic Neil Young - Needle and the Damage Done.  I think my list trumps yours :P

shanetheclassic
shanetheclassic

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb is NOT about Heroin. Although it can easily be misinterpreted. It's about a time when Roger was sick (not dope sick) and had to go on stage for a show, but he had no energy and was semi-conscious, so his manager called in a Dr. and he shot him up with some medication (not heroin or any other opiate) to get him back on his feet and perform. The medication's reaction reminded him of when he was young and got really sick caring for a dying rat. This songs part in The Wall movie shows exactly what I'm talking about. In an interview with Roger he confirmed everything I just said, look it up, it won't let me link it here. Now I know sometimes artists do not admit when they actually are writing songs about drugs, but he was asked if it was about Heroin and he said pretty much what I just did. He knew people would think it was about Heroin after writing it, so he made it clear in the movie what he was actually talking about.

ricardo.ribadeneira
ricardo.ribadeneira

"My Sweet Prince" from Placebo is pretty great and can give you the chills as well. Should be in the list.

julie.peterson1
julie.peterson1

In a recent interview (as well as several times previously), Roger Waters said he couldn't have been particularly productive on heroin and the real-life drug whose effects are referred to in "Comfortably Numb" was a muscle relaxant prescribed and administered for preshow stomach pains that turned out to be caused by hepatitis. But yeah, that film footage is very evocative -- I think we've all had that rat taken away at one time.

Scott823
Scott823

No Alice in Chains? Uh..... someone missed the boat

LadyA
LadyA

"Junkie Blood" by the Grifters. 

Ann Seletos
Ann Seletos

Do heroin similes count? "She's Like Heroin to Me" - Gun Club!

Sonny Radovanovich
Sonny Radovanovich

I would add "Mutiny In Heaven" by The Birthday Party(Nick Cave). It does not get much more mad and brilliant than that.

John Granofsky
John Granofsky

Disappointed not to see The Stranglers - Golden Brown on this list. One of my favorite heroin songs.

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