Shades of Green

Canna Sing That Song?

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07/10/2021 Music, Love, Herbs, Flowers, and the Power of Song...

Weed has been an integral part of music culture throughout history. Whether being used in religious ceremonies dating back over 3000 years ago, or being sung about to help give rise and push for cannabis in modern mainstream culture.

Cannabis has been central to many musicians' and songwriters' lives. Weed has been mentioned in abundance throughout the ages. Terms are often used to hide the real meaning or to express a feeling, poetic license exercised.

Lyrics have always been an expression of artists' personalities. The words they use to describe their environment and experiences. The messages are usually based on a grain of truth or from the explicit description of an event.

Let's take a look at just a few songs that refer to cannabis and the culture of weed in music. With so many choices, we will touch on a couple of classics and expand on more selections in further issues of The Cannabis Reader.

Grassy Music

Puff the Magic Dragon was written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow and recorded in 1963 by Peter, Paul, and Mary, a folk artist group. The words were interpreted to have an underlying drug reference to marijuana, even though the writers and singers say it was written about childhood innocence lost.

The mention of "Puff the Magic Dragon" was thought to reference inhaling vapors or taking a "drag" from a joint. The word "sea" in the lyrics was thought to mean "cannabis" and little Jackie Paper, paper could mean rolling papers.

The culture of the time took off with what they perceived was a subversive reference to inhaling vapors from various drugs including marijuana. In numerous places across the world, the song was banned. To this day, the mystery continues as to what Jackie Paper, the boy in the song, was experiencing in "the mist of Honahlee".

- Don't Bogart That Joint was composed by Elliot Inger and Stash Wagner. First recorded by Fraternity of Man in 1968 and appeared on the soundtrack of the film "Easy Rider". 'Bogart' refers to Humphrey Bogart, a film and stage actor during the 1940s and 1950s who tended to keep his cigarettes tightly clenched between his teeth. So to 'Bogart', a joint would keep it between your lips and not pass it on to the next person.

The popularity of the lyrics and the release of the covered version by Little Feat in 1978, created a multigenerational link to this song. It blatantly states the problem, (you've been holding it TOO long) purpose (I'm gonna get it one way or another), and solution (hand it over!) that the singer has. There's no doubt the writer is referring to weed.

Black Sabbath, a classic rock group, recorded in 1971, the song Sweet Leaf. Written by Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, and Bill Ward. This is an example of lyrics just barely disguising the true meaning. "Sweet Leaf" created a whole new term for marijuana. You can even hear Tony Iommi cough at the start of the song, supposedly from a bong rip he just took. It can be termed a love song for marijuana.

Continuing with the spread of the term, 'Sweet Leaf', this song has been covered by many artists over the decades. Godsmack released their version in 2000. Frank Hannon of Telsa recorded his take on "Sweet Leaf" in 2007 with a flair of a Jimi Hendrix guitar riff from the "Star-Spangled Banner".

A Marriage of Music and Nature

Whether a direct reference to cannabis or a subtle hint of pot hidden in the terminology, music, and marijuana have always played a part in cultures willing to broaden the scope of their minds. Like spreading nutrients to the masses. It feeds the souls of those craving to be nourished.

Have a listen to these classic songs, perhaps partake of the bud, and experience what music intertwined with cannabis can be like. Free your mind, explore the old with the new.

Written by Teresa Martin, Copywriter: Cannabis, Hemp, Medical