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17 Hits That Are Not-So-Secretly About Drugs

Musicians have been trying to sneak references to getting high into their songs for years. Here are some very famous examples. What did we miss?

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1. Ella Fitzgerald, "Wacky Dust" [1938]

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There is some chance that this song about cocaine was subtle at the time, but...probably not?

2. Peter, Paul and Mary, "Puff The Magic Dragon" [1966]

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These folkies managed to score a hit children's song about smoking weed in the mid-Sixties. Good work!

3. The Rolling Stones, "Mother's Little Helper" [1966]

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The Stones have a bunch of songs about heroin – apparently "Jumpin' Jack Flash" was slang for a method of injecting heroin into one's tear ducts!" – but this one is about a bored housewife who gets hooked on barbiturates.

4. The Beatles, "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" [1967]

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I hope I'm not blowing your mind or anything, but this is a song about LSD.

5. Jefferson Airplane, "White Rabbit" [1967]

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The lyrics reference Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, but it's really about tripping on LSD and/or shrooms.

6. Jimi Hendrix Experience, "Purple Haze" [1967]

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It's about LSD, which once came in the form of purple capsules.

7. Black Sabbath, "Sweet Leaf" [1971]

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Ozzy was never good with subtlety: This is obviously a song about smoking weed.

8. Steve Miller Band, "The Joker" [1973]

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If the "midnight toker" line didn't tip you off, this is a song about weed, a drug that will convince you that there is such a thing as "The Pompatus of Love."

9. Lionel Richie, "Dancing On The Ceiling" [1986]

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A lot of hit songs from the Eighties were in some way influenced by cocaine; this one is widely believed to be about getting coked up.

10. Mötley Crüe, "Dr. Feelgood" [1989]

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Here's a mind-blower for you: Dr. Feelgood is a drug dealer!

11. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Last Dance With Mary Jane" [1993]

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The "Mary Jane" that's killing Tom Petty's pain is, duh, marijuana.

12. Oasis, "Cigarettes and Alcohol" [1994]

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Cigarettes and alcohol are considered drugs, sure, but this is here mainly for the not-too-subtle reference to cocaine when Liam sings "you might as well do the white line."

13. Third Eye Blind, "Semi-Charmed Life" [1997]

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This may sound like pure bubblegum, but the lyrics are about a crystal meth addict.

14. Three 6 Mafia featuring UGK and Project Pat, "Sippin' On Some Syrup" [2000]

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There's a lot of rap songs about purple drank; this was the first to break through to the mainstream.

15. Chamilionaire, "Ridin'" [2006]

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This one is about getting busted for driving under the influence.

16. Rihanna, "We Found Love" [2011]

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"Yellow diamonds in the light" comes off as poetic imagery, maybe, but it's a reference to Ecstasy.

17. Kanye West, "Mercy" [2012]

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"Somethin' bout Mary, she gone off that Molly / Now the whole party is meltin' like Dali." Hip-hop is overflowing with songs about MDMA right now, this is just a very high-profile example.

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