Through the years many musicians have used drugs as a gateway to get their minds onto another platform to create songs for the world to enjoy. From the Beatles to Snoop Dog, it seems just about every artist has written about the highs and lows of addiction and discovering drugs, even songs you through were completely innocent have dark meanings behind them. Here are just ten of those songs that you didn’t know were about drugs;

10. There She Goes – The La’s

The La’s brought out an amazing debut album in the 90’s and if you haven’t heard their leading single then I can only believe you have lived under a rock for the past 20 years. While most people would assume it’s just a love song this catchy tune is actually about taking Heroin “there she blows/there she blows again/pulsing through my veins”, it’s obvious when you think about it and match the lines up to references. But still, Lee Mavers, you had us all fooled.


9. Got to Get You Into My Life – the Beatles

What?! I heard you ask, the Beatles wrote a song about drugs?!

Yes! Of course they did, they wrote songs about drugs, on drugs, for drugs, you name it – the Beatles did it. ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ is actually more an ode to drugs, to weed to be precise. Paul McCartney even admitted that he wrote the song when he was first introduced to Mary-Jane “So it was about that, not a person”. See lines “I was alone/I took a ride/I didn’t know what I find there”.


8. Ashtrays and Heartbreaks – Snoop Lion (Dog)

Believe it or not Snoop Dog has written a song about drugs… crazy, right? Well, no, that isn’t the case but he did collaborate on it with Hannah Montana, though she is more commonly known as Miley Cyrus. This song is quite obviously about marijuana; Snoop makes no bones about it with the opening lines “tonight there’s gonna be a whole lot of smoke in the air”.


7. Hurt – Nine Inch Nails

This one is one of my favourite songs, but I prefer the Johnny Cash version. It’s a song about the regrets that are made with drug taking, and how a long abuser of it feels, it’s more obviously about a dark subject when you listen to the original Nine Inch Nails version “the needle tares a hole/the old familiar sting/try to kill it all away/but I remember everything” it’s an incredibly sad song that makes one realise the sting of addiction.


6. She Bangs The Drums – Stone Roses

Now this one isn’t as obvious unless you are told that it’s about drugs, but a good friend of mine pointed it out to me that this song is quite obviously about heroin and its effects. A lot of the time heroin is referred to as ‘she’ in songs (see ‘there she goes’), whether this is a way to hide the true meaning or not. I think this is an extremely smart song when it comes to its meaning “I can feel the earth begin to move/I hear my needle hit the groove” and “I don’t feel too steady on my feet/I feel hallow I feel weak”.


5. Mr Brownstone – Guns n’ Roses

If you didn’t know that ‘Brownstone’ was a term for heroin you this Guns n’ Roses tune will have just gone straight over your head. This song, like Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’, is about complaining about being an addict and all the hurt and pain you go through just for a few moments of peace “I used to do a little/but a little wouldn’t do/so the little got more and more/I just keep trying to get a little better/said a little better than before”.


4. White Lines (Don’t Do It) – Grandmaster Flash

This song differs from the others on the list because it’s one of the very songs that are telling you to not do cocaine, or drugs all together – in fact Grandmaster Flash wants you to dance instead. You may recognise the song from Shaun Of The Dead. “my whitelines go a long way/ either up your nose or through your veins/with nothin’ to gain but killin’ your brain”


3. Beetlebum – Blur

I didn’t realise Damon Albarn was a heroin addict until a friend pointed out to me, and said friend of mine shown me Beetlebum again and told me it was about heroin addiction. Damon Albarn has even confirmed that it was about him experimenting with heroin. “Get nothing done/you beetlebum/just get numb”.


2. Blue Magic – Jay Z

The whole album ‘American Gangster’ was inspired by a Denzel Washington movie (of the same name). In this particular song Jay Z raps about his days as a drug dealer and how he made his way to the top. “Open your mind/you see the circus in the sky”.

  1. Ugh! – The 1975

Matt Healy wrote this song so that he could reflect on his unhealthy relationship with cocaine, he has become paranoid and doesn’t want to be an addict anymore but he doesn’t want to stop either. Hey boy, stop pacing ’round the room/using other people’s faces as a mirror for you/I know your lungs need filling/since your gums have lost their feeling



By Sam Hawxwell

Twitter; @sammightsay

3 thought on “10 Songs You Didn’t Know Were About Drugs”
  1. Sam, I’m an admin on The La’ Your story about “There She Goes” is apocryphal. Lee Mavers is on record as not having had heroin until 1992. The song was written in summer 1987, the recording is on Youtube, people around the band deny that link and it’s an impossibility with the timeline of the band

    You do not have to take an expert’s word for it, but you are spreading disinformation and sullying a perfectly innocent song with a tired old trope reused and recycled because no journalists bother to contact the band to find out the truth.

    I notice you cite no proof, simply an assertion as if it is fact.

    I’m aware it’s more interesting to say it’s about smack. But it simply isn’t true.

    I don’t expect you to amend your article as I have very little faith these days. People don’t want the truth. They want what’s interesting.

  2. Hello Mr ToneLa,
    As I see you must be a very busy person so i’ll cut to the chase. At no point in this article did I suggest that Lee Mavers even took heroin at all, just that the song is about heroin, the same “assumption” the Rolling Stone made just three years ago. To make it clear that I am not accusing Mavers of writing a song about drugs I will add to the piece “which the band denies”.
    – Sam
    P.s I couldn’t get in touch with the La’s themselves but I’m sure you could put me in contact with the right people.

  3. ToneLA,

    Its fairly clear that the song is about drugs/double meaning.

    Dont you find it a little coincidental that the lead singer ‘came out’ a couple of years later with a heroin problem, just like the song.

    In the clip, did he seem like a healthy person to you? Or did he seem very gaunt and drug riddled?

    My gut feel says he was an addict long before it became public.

    The song has a double meaning and its no coincidence that drug references were in the song, its a clever song, but my gut tells me that i hindsight he wants it to be remembered as an innocent song, maybe hes ashamed. Maybe the song has better financial implications with innocence.