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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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. 




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.



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.




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.




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.


Arthur Russell - Springfield


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.





20. James BookerSpiders 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.




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.




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.





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.




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.



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.



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.




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.




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.




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.





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.




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.




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.



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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.






About Sean Beaudoin

Sean Beaudoin (@seanbeaudoin) is the author of five novels, including The Infects and Wise Young Fool. His new short story collection, Welcome Thieves, is just out with Algonquin Books.
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329 Responses to The 50 Most Drug-Addled Albums in Music History

  1. 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.

    • Teddy Hollander says:

      The fact that grateful dead are not in top 5 of this list is gross. No homage to the psychedelic god fathers is not right. And i would put some tame impala albums ahead of a couple in your list already. Im not a hater but or a fan boy, but the dead out of the top 5 is making me cringe.

  2. 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 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.)

    • E says:

      From my experience its impossible to take LSD every day for that long at three days you’d just feel no effects due to the insanely high tolerance of acid.

      • D says:

        It might be possible if you have access to enormous quantities. I had a very successful three days in a row once by doubling doses. Two on Friday, four Saturday, and eight Sunday morning just before falling asleep for the first time since Thursday night… I awoke a couple hours later, peaking again and in awe.
        But a year? Yeah, the math doesn’t work for doubling. You’d be doing a billion hits at the end of your first month…

    • dan cehall says:

      I quit reading at no reggae allowed

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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…

    • Christine says:

      Thank you. At least someone here isn’t drinking the Kool-Aid.

    • Stu says:

      I think you’re missing the point a bit. The weirdness of mental effects on drugs does not really get through on any of those artist’s records aside from maybe a technical ability standpoint. I’ll give you Pink Floyd and Thunders (who was mentioned), I guess, but it was the master of LSD tragedy, Barrett himself, who showed them that too much, is too much.

    • Coke says:

      Pink Floyd didn’t do a lot of drugs, contrary to popular belief, other than Syd Barrett. I could see Piper making the list but Barrett gets his on this list with his solo effort. I think Roger Waters has been quoted as saying he smoked some pot during the recording process and that was about it as far as drugs in the band through the 60’s and 70’s.

      • pete says:

        Ah, I have this handy bridge in my pocket, yours for really a bargain price; soon as your check clears, I’ll have it delivered.

      • Craig says:

        I have an interview with Roger saying that he took acid twice in the late 60s and 70s. Once, he said, was on a Greek island and it was idyllic and perfect (“I don’t know how much I took”). The second time he was in New York City and he went to a Smiler’s deli for a sandwich and a bottle of milk and, on his way back, he said, he stopped in the middle of the street and didn’t know what to do. That was his last time. The interview was from the early 90s.

    • Asdrubal says:

      Full of shit ?? And you even compare them to fucking Guns & Shittyroses ??? LOL You are dumb hahaha !!

  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. 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?
    (It was a special joke from John and Harry that’s rarely picked up on).

  11. 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.

    • ACS says:

      If you exclude Ministrys Filth Pig” maybe..

      • Nancy Neon says:

        I love Johnny and SO ALONE is a great druggy album,but how can you include SO ALONE and not The Heartbreakers’ LAMF and LIVES AT MAXS KANSAS CITY. Besides the third Velvet Underground album is THE heroin album of ALL TIME!!!–Nancy Neon 02/04/2017

  12. 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….

  13. 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.

  14. James Bunnell says:

    Yes, “Layla” is a huge omission.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

    • Craig says:

      I thought omitting G.G. Allin was a mistake. He was a mess the day he burst out of his mama.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Sean says:

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

    • John Bank says:

      Flaming Lips are overrated. I saw a good show after The Soft Bulletin came out. Yoshimi was repetitive and later stuff worse. Something went to their heads and they believed the hype. Can’t take much of them anymore.

      • Jawn says:

        Couldn’t have said it better. They perform a sort of contrived psychedelia after Soft Bulletin and it really is not psychedelic at all and the in fact they are not even making good music good anymore. That being said, 1994’s Transmissions From The Satellite Heart is one of the best psychedelic albums of all-time.

  21. 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.

  22. brendan sullivan says:

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

  23. 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”.

    • Craig says:


  24. Mark says:

    this is a tremendous list with one glaring omission:

    John Frusciante – Niandra Ladies and Usually Just a T Shirt

    otherwise, spot on

  25. 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

  26. 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.

  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 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.

  28. 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.

  29. Exhausted 66 says:

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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?!

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

    • Tim Eggleston says:

      The 20 minute version minute of Maggot Brain was released as a single included with the album “One Nation Under a Groove.”

  35. xphorm says:

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

  36. Flying Saucier says:

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

  37. 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.

  38. Phat Phuc says:

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

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  40. 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).

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. Michael Dorenzo says:

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

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. danny says:

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

    ok then

  48. 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.

  49. Billy Shake says:

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

  50. Mike says:

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

    • PaulE says:

      I think he did a lot of acid! “safe as milk”? That’s acid!
      So did Hendrix – I saw him 5 times in the 60s and he was flying! (We all were!)

      You really ought to include:

      Velvet Underground 1st album (Heroin, Waiting for the man -VU were all on junk – so – by the way – was Dion and one of the Beverly Bros)

      Sgt Pepper (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds) – was all about the Beatles discovering psychedelics

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

    • Why the fuck do you call thousands of grown-up people tripping on shrooms and lsd and hearing a psychedelic quality in a certain kind of music a form of mass hysteria instead of mass psychedelia? You could argue any massive congregation of intoxicated persons is a form of hysteria if that’s your attitude.

      There is a definite “group” experience at the Dead concerts, but it’s fucking cool. Doesn’t feel hysterical in the least. It’s just peaceful and beautiful and enjoyable. The group experience is based on the combination of tripping hard, letting the music take you for a ride and the unusual reality of being around other fully grown adults tripping their brains out who also happen to be enjoying the music in a similar way you are enjoying it.

      There is a sense of bonding with other people for obvious and good reasons. The bonding causes a brotherhood emotion that is powerful enough that people who aren’t tripping can feel it. The psychedelic vibration is so chill that the police and security seem to completely accept the use of drugs and bust zero balls.

      Also, it’s the only concert I’ve ever been where the fucking usher to my section started crying because he felt the “mass hysteria” moving him.

      I like a lot of Grateful Dead songs, love a few songs, but I had found their style of live jamming fairly boring while sober. When I heard it in the psychedelic state the way my brain translated it was completely different and it was fucking uncanny how the music fit with the drugs.

      The long jams seduced and lulled and then the chorus hit, drawing me back in completely, deeply. Often time the chorus had a phrase that hit emotionally. And it sounds more like soulful outerspace music than yodeling hillbillies or whatever pejorative you tossed at them (as if stoned hillbillies are a problem).

      Sometimes the Dead will repeat the chorus over and over. This is not something that would stimulate me while sober, but under the influence of psychedelic drugs the repetition has a profundity to it, like they are hammering home the point.

      “He’s never coming back” was the chorus that hit me hardest at the Dead and Co. show I saw this summer. It made me think of people who have left Earth who I love. Bob Weir kept saying it and saying it and the melody and the sound was so touching.

      That actually made me break down. They’re never coming back. It’s a part of reality. One we don’t fully grapple with…but in a psychedelic mind most people are able to contemplate and feel those profound aspects of life.

  58. Erik says:

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

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  60. 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.

  61. 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” ?


  62. 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…

  63. 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”.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. Romanne says:

    You forgot about the Gun Club.

  67. 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

    • Skinnyboy says:

      From what I’ve read about James Williamson’s time in The Stooges, his nickname ‘straight’ was ironic; as in “compared to Iggy I’m straight”.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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

  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 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.

    • Hallogallo says:

      NEU!, not NEU?

    • Timmmay says:

      Damn man that is pretty pretentious of you. This list was a person’s opinion… their taste in music. There aren’t any right or wrong answers. (As a few others have mentioned, the only real problem I have were the numerous glaring errors throughout… Not the biggest deal, but it certainly leaves your list feeling a little weak when you notice incorrect “facts” stated about half the albums. I guess that and a few odd choices for certain bands/ artists- like picking Heroes by Bowie… based on your criteria for this list it seems like the obvious choices would be either Station to Station, which you apparently just don’t like but was created by a man stuck in such a depraved state of cocaine addiction that he doesn’t even remember making the album, or probably my pick would be his next album Low. He had just gotten clean when making Low and was clearly fragile and in a unique head space. It just seems odd to choose Heroes instead of Low if you are going for a “detoxed” album. And of course a few other albums such as Young Americans and Diamond Dogs would make fine choices… much better than Heroes. But I digress…

      Oh…. also Either/Or by Elliott Smith… that’s an interesting choice.
      While I maybe think that’s his best album [maybe], I don’t really see it as his most fucked up druggy one [even with Between the Bars on it, which is one of the absolute greatest songs about addiction]. He really seemed on top of his game at that point. I honestly would almost say any of his others would be better choices for this list than Either/Or, though that’s just my thinking. His first two SOUND the most drug induced to my ears… and he may have actually been using the most [particularly drinking] during his final two albums- not including posthumous releases. And of course he went completely off the rails at the end… after Figure 8 when he wasn’t making any music at all, not successfully anyway… so that time period wouldn’t bring an album to include.

      Interesting choice there though. Glad to see you included Elliott, one of my favorites.)

      Anyway, wow I have really started to blather. I’m sorry. Back to your comment, I dislike your attitude toward the Brian Jonestown Massacre as well… though I’m sure you aren’t the only one to feel this way. Ohh well. They seem a good choice for the list though. However, I suppose they kind of always sound drugged up… maybe they don’t really fit after all lol. Idk. They are pretty damn original band in my eyes though. Sure they have their influences like anyone else and certainly there are plenty of 60s bands (and more recent) that have had a very prominent impact on their sound, but there is only one BJM. What they do is distinctly them (or him shall I say.) To say that Anton is simply aping others is short-sighted.

      And lastly man… I’m confused. What is so confounding about Fleetwood Mac being included here?? Especially to a degree that warranted a verbal attack of this writer? Saying as Fleetwood Mac was a notorious druggy band, (no… not a “cough drop band” or whatever the hell you said. I mean come on man, you are showing your ignorance with a comment like that. It is wise not to comment on something [especially not insult someone] when you are not informed on the subject.) I’d say it is not surprising to see them on the list. And they probably deserve to be on it too, even if their music isn’t always the trippiest or haziest out there. They surely used enough cocaine by the time Tusk came around that it was having a noticeable effect on their music, and especially their live shows.

      Shoot Fleetwood Mac has at least one other period of albums that could have been chosen for this list even! I can’t think of which album(s) in particular off the top of my head would be best to include from their earlier drug addled period, but the original blues incarnation of this band was my personal favorite. As much as I love Stevie Nicks, I much preferred the 3 headed beast on guitars of Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, and Jeremy Spencer. Fuck were they not the most fire blues band in Britain. I think Canned Heat and FM were probably my favorite white-boy blues bands in the late 60s (Cream was too jazzy for me to include in this category. I’m talking some real ass blues.)

      Anyway, sometime around the start of the seventies/ end of the sixties, when FM was starting to enjoy some real success, all 3 of their original guitarists were famously dosed with some odd psychedelic at a party in Germany (I think) and either it was way too much or it was some really bad acid or some other relative chemical. All 3 of them were never the same. Basically each became acid casualties from just that one experience, and I highly doubt they were inexperienced trippers.

      No one knows what exactly happened that night, but Peter Green’s ego was seemingly obliterated by the trip. He began wearing exotic clothes from Morocco and whatnot, and was in permatrip mode. Started losing interest in playing and no longer wanted any money or royalties. In fact he started giving away all his money, all his possessions. Soon he left the band for good. A few years later he had an episode that involved his generosity. I forget the details exactly, but I believe he pulled a shotgun on somebody (in the band or a manager… I forget who) because he was fed up with people trying to send him checks for all his royalties with the band. I mean this guy was the leader and primary singer/ songwriter, so he no doubt would have had plenty of royalties coming in. He continued to deteriorate after this for many years. I believe he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic after the acid party.

      His apprentice at blues guitar, young Danny Kirwan, was also diagnosed schizo after the party. He stuck with the band a couple years longer and sorta took over the leadership role… as a teenager. It took a few years to really start having an effect on him from what I gather, but when it did it hit him hard. Prolonged effects from the trip and intense stress from the work brought on by becoming the primary songwriter and leader of the band started crushing his fragile soul. Began drinking and using a lot, making his emotions frequently more pronounced. This culminated in him flipping out on his bandmates before a gig, leaving the band, and sitting in the audience for the show… to heckle them. Sadly, this little genius musician soon became a homeless addict and stayed that way for much of the next few decades, until he died not too long ago. Danny made little music the rest of his life.

      As for Jeremy Spencer, the band’s slide guitar specialist, sometime before Danny left, but I believe after Peter left, just randomly walked out one day only to immediately become a part of some church. From that moment forward he became devoted to the religious group and no longer played in the band. I don’t believe he has really had any lasting issues from the trip, at least not in the way of schizophrenia or anything. He seemed to actually come out relatively unscathed in the end, living a happy religious life. Times were tough for the first few years or so after that fated evening. He was going through bouts of intense mental instability and fighting a breakdown in the time leading up to his departure from the band. Luckily his newfound faith in god seemed to ease his mental problems.

      ——And I just now realized that I have actually been typing all of this… all this time. Wow… and so this list gets a drug-addled comment now too hahaha! I sorta have a tendency to get a bit long winded when on uppers… sorry everyone. I hope what I have written is at least SOMEWHAT fascinating to some people, and doesn’t come across as a boring, tedious novel written by a robot… which is what I feel like right now lol. Uggghhh.

      Well I guess I just felt like spitting this story out for you all (those of you who don’t already know it anyway.) Fleetwood Mac has one of the more fucked up histories of any band that I’m aware of, and their stories are all quite interesting and the thing of legend by now. Keep in mind that this is only a small part of their history… a lot of other crazy shit has happened to them that I haven’t included. I swear this band is both blessed and cursed. While some of the musicians have spent many years living the life of rich millionaire rock stars, jetting around the globe and insufflating literal fortunes worth of high quality cocaine, staying in 5 star hotels, and getting into fun love triangles/ quadrangles, etc… others have had their lives literally ruined while playing in the band. Some have spent their years without so much as a dime living on the street, and some have died young in freak accident. More than one have lost their mind. Oh and that’s just among the guitarists. Suffice to say if there is one band you want to avoid becoming a guitarist for… it is definitely Fleetwood Mac. The position is all around cursed. I don’t believe there is a single guitarist that has played for them since day one that hasn’t had some awful, life changing event happen to them while in the band. Maybe not Lindsay Buckingham (other than potential heartbreak from some of the in-band affairs, and probably experiencing some kind of drug withdrawal a time or three [Not that I feel too bad for someone coming off coke… really not all that big a deal. That being said, I do feel bad for anyone living through an ADDICTION to cocaine. That is a miserable scene, eventually anyway, and I am sure with the amounts of blow he has gone through over the years, he has probably had some pretty bad times.) But he did just leave the band and drama seems to have ensued from that, so who knows what the future still has in store for these people.

      So, the main point to take from all this is one I have yet to really even touch on. The Fleetwood Mac everyone is so familiar with, that everyone loves, is kind of a shitty group of people. Not necessarily all of them, and not all around shitty per se. But while the famous core have spent decades in the limelight and have gained the kind of wealth that few musicians have ever known, some of their former bandmates (in particular Danny Kirwan- who led them forward through their transition years, a time in which they easily could have disbanded, and into the beginnings of their famous Rumours period) have lived on the streets for years with mental problems, and these now wealthy old friends and bandmates have not lent any help to the struggling ones. Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine, McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham… none of them helped get Danny off the streets or filled his wallet before he died. I find this disgraceful. It seems they have done very little for any of the others as well, though the situation with Danny has always really bugged me. Any ONE of them could have gotten him into a nice home and supplied him with enough money to live comfortably for a long time… and STILL be wealthy. And that’s just one of them. For real, they could have easily lent some help, but it seems they chose not to. Now I realize I don’t actually know these people personally, and their could be aspects to their relationships I am unaware of. But fuck! Why couldn’t they help this dude get into a better situation?? He payed his dues. He was an integral part of the group and was a major part of their early and mid successes, as small as they may have been. They would have ceased to exist after Peter Green left if it wasn’t for him. And then there would have been no white-collar, jet setting rock n roll to be had a few years later for the least talented part of the old group and the few new bodies added to the lineup, as they went forward making decidedly mediocre music for the masses.

      These people profited off the skills and musical genius of Peter Green and Danny Kirwan (and Jeremy Spencer to a lesser degree.) These guys were the real deal and brought the band a lot of respect early on. They have given this band loads of respectability going forward, even after their sound changed. Peter was the fuckin man. The clear leader at heart even to this day of the band. And Danny, sweet Danny, a mere kid with artistic sensibilities and an understanding of music that ran deep. Peter Green saw his talents and took him under his wing, molding his new protégé into a guitar hero. And guitar heroes they both were.

      Anyway, I suppose I will shut the fuck up now… Sheeez. Where has my morning gone? The speed won’t let my mind stopppp! Shit!

      I’m not trying to talk massive shit on Fleetwood Mac or anything. I just wish more people knew the story about Danny and how no one was there to help him get back on his feet. The little kid who Jimi Hendrix at one time named as one of his favorite guitarists. Who crafted beautiful songs and had a wicked tone. Ahh and his voice! He was left to wither in the gutter with no one there for him. And by god, he is not the only former bandmember of mega bands to spend decades homeless.

      They are the forgotten ones. The never knowns. It makes me so sad…

      Anyway, check out some stuff from Fleetwood Mac back in the 60s if you are unfamiliar. There are some g00d videos even on youtube. Early 70s is the period where Danny was the primary songwriter/ vocalist, and led them to a softer, beautiful sound with some amazing songs. Not as notable as the 60s incarnation of the band with Peter Green, but also good.

      To me, their music went distinctly downhill the moment Danny left. That’s not to say they have made bad music with Stevie and Lindsay. I actually really like Stevie’s voice and her style (and… well shit just about everything else. I love that girl) and his guitar play aint bad, but all in all the music lost something. It became much more formulaic. And nothing beats the big bad blues of 60s Fleetwood Mac. They kicked serious fucking ass. Rocked god damn hard.

      Hey once again thanks for making the list, it was a fun read. And to the guy I started out replying to… I hope I didn’t come across as a jerk, I didn’t really mean to call you out too much or anything. Certainly nothing personal. Just wanted to get some things off my mind.

      And sorry I turned my reply into this huge wall of text. I feel a fool. Read it/ don’t, I understand completely either way. Hopefully somebody will stumble upon 60s Fleetwood Mac for the first time now after reading this. If so…. fucking enjoy! Same goes to all of you who are already familiar with the music and decide to dip back in for a little refresher. It’s so easy to forget about Peter Green and what they were doing back then. Seems no one ever talks about them…

      Anyway, Peace out all

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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).

  75. 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

  76. compleatPKG says:

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

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

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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…

  80. 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:


  81. mitch says:

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

  82. 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.”

  83. 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.

  84. Sally says:

    Um.. John Frusciante ??

  85. Stone Omis says:

    Jim Carroll “Catholic Boy”

  86. jmelsn says:

    what have you got against reggae..?

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

  87. 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.

  88. Niki McUmber says:

    This list made my Sunday way better. THANK YOU.

  89. 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)

    • ACS says:

      Puppy didn´t get their Heroin Addiction out of control totally until Oghre teamed up with Alien Jourgensen from Ministry, the man who really should top this list!

  90. 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.

  91. Paul says:

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

  92. 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.

  93. 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!!!

  94. 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.

      • ACS says:

        You´re obiously in total denial..
        Read Jourgensens bio: “Lost Gospels Of Al Jourgensen” and you´ll see what it was really like. No one on this list stands a chance at the things he did..

    • Jon Thomas says:

      Get someone to read the intro to you.
      I quote – “But excess is never enough. There also has to be undeniable beauty”. Now look at the people you listed. Understand now?

  95. 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.

  96. 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

  97. 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.

  98. Peter says:

    Hank Williams?

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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.

  102. 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.

  103. Martha Packard says:

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

  104. Hexagon Sun says:

    Top smack album haa

  105. Corystringer says:

    No ’12 Bar Blues’?

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  107. 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..

  108. 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.

  109. 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

  110. 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.

  111. Banootan says:

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

  112. Banootan says:

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

  113. Horny the Clown says:

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

  114. 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.

  115. Montbrillant says:

    When some one searches for his necessary thing,
    thus he/she wishes to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained
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  116. nick says:

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

  117. 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.

  118. 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.

  119. Matt says:

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

  120. Matt says:

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

  121. Bella says:

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

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

  123. BK93 says:

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

  124. 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”

  125. shthar says:

    Tusk was named after Mick Fleetwood’s Penis.

  126. 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

  127. bob says:

    everything by BLIND MELON , SUBLIME, THE DOORS

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  129. 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.

  130. Any list of drug-addled albums is incomplete without Velvet Acid Christ. I prefer Fun With Knives

    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.

  131. Hunter S. Jones says:

    I think I love you. This list is epic.

  132. Greg Reeder says:

    After reading your criteria, I guess I can understand omitting Mötley Crüe, although I think the tone and lyrics on the Girls, Girls, Girls album smack o f smack. But to leave Alice in Chains’ “Dirt” off the list is insane. I suggest listening to their early demos, then going back to “Dirt.” The change in sound, let alone the lyrics to half the songs on that album, show the influence of heavy drugs. The fact that it is a GREAT album should earn it a Top 10 nod. (Pun intended)

  133. kenneth s says:

    Great list,but you missed Sly & The Family Stone’s “There’s A Riot Going On” He a genius, but he practically nods through most of the album.

  134. Joe says:

    What, no Sgt. Pepper’s?

  135. ACS says:

    Ministry´s albums “Filth Pig” & “Dark Side Of The Spoon” should be the top slots!

    Al Jourgensen(Ministry) started shooting Cocaine at 13(1971′), was locked up an entire year at a mental institution at 15, after taking Acid and thinking the teachers were insects. Had a Crackpipe built into his Mic-Stand and always a bottle of bushmills Whiskey with 5 hits of Acid in it on stage.

    Beating these references/Father Figures is quite hard too:
    He lived with Dr.Timothy Leary for two years, paying rent by being his Guinea Pig, trying new sorts of Acid every week. He also lived with and was great friends with William Burroughs. Alien used Crack+Heroin daily for 22years(plus every other drug that came in his way)..
    By 2003 he had been:
    Legally declared dead three times, had Hep A,B, and C, liver failure, kidney failure, stomach failure(Ulcers), had a big toe and half his foot removed surgically after getting Gang Green by breaking a needle in the toe, forgetting he did it and then walking on it for 5 weeks without noticing(or taking his boots off). Had his entire left arm cut open to get infection away, almost loosing the entire arm.

    This guy is the real deal, even Lemmy has stated that “Jourgensen is the heaviest druguser of all musicians”. Read his Biography, it´s as fun as it´s horrifying: “Ministry: The Lost Gospels Of Al Jourgensen”

    Like the Ministry song says “Just One Fix”..

  136. Dreadhawk says:

    How is this album not here? I think it tops the number one listed here. :P You can taste the LSD in every vibration of this album.

  137. D says:

    I do not see “blonde on blonde” is a serious lack

  138. chuck says:

    finally, someone, while discoursing on the topic of drug-fueled music, mentions the legendary pink dots…i suppose it would have been a step too far in the same direction to have mentioned the tear garden, or rx, or download. my one smirky elitist disagreement was with your assessment of locust abortion technician as being the most terrifying album ever recorded…that would likely be either dry lungs I compilation, or pretty much any very early nurse with wound or current 93. but the daring us to listen to kunts at midnight alone etc. part? i dare you to have your first LSD experience be having someone you trust seat you in front of a strobe light in a dark room on about 10 or 11 hits of very incredibly good acid, and play throbbing gristle’s hamburger lady followed by their very friendly at high volumes. terrifying? psht!

  139. Jeton Ademaj says:

    pity the lack of Led Zep, Sabbath, YES. pity the lack of hip hop, and much else.

    two things i assumed would make the list but didnt:

    Bitches Brew has no place here, especially given that Davis’ last 2 albums before retiring for 6 years (Agharta and Pangaea) were recorded the morning and evening of one single very druggy day in Japan in 1975. most saliently, the Japanese release of Pangaea i bought has an extra long version of the final track, Gondwana. that 46 minutes of brain-melting DMT funk is followed by 3.5 extremely druggy minutes of a wasted Miles twiddling knobs by himself in what sounds like Trent Reznor on a Salvia overdose. after hearing THAT, 6 years of recovery and a be-boppy neoconservativish return sounds exactly right.

    oh, and the first John Coltrane record i ever heard was “OM” at age 16, and it very much sounds like they are all on acid…i mean seriously, doing exactly the sort of extended, obsessive instrumental experimentation that’s well beyond “Free Jazz” and totally in the realm of what you would expect a bunch of avant-jazz masters to sound like *if they all dropped a whole lot of acid*, let it reach a peak, and then turned the recording equipment on.

    according to Nat Hentoff and others, the widely noted jazz industry rumor was precisely that…they were all on a lot of acid. surprised not to see it here.

  140. db says:

    I’m very late to this party. Came upon the list while trying to remember a Billie Holiday album where she sounds drugged, drunk, or both. It’s not the one in this list, however. As I recall, it was a live concert recording.

    Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star also came to mind for me. And, regarding the suggestion of Sgt. Pepper’s, maybe the White album would be a better choice.

    Anyway, great list…and great job on compiling.

  141. Ed Pierce says:

    You forgot Smiley Smile by the Beach Boys.

  142. M. Crowley says:

    There was a band out of Cincinnati called Hogscraper. If Hasil Adkins had birthed Satanic Sons, this would have been their band. A drumset, banjo, and a washtub base.


  143. Colin says:

    I’m disappointed Primal Scream’s Screamadelica didn’t make the list. They popularized Acid House, which was never sober. On top of that, A journalist caught them arguing about “Vietnamese, Chinese or Indian”. He thought is was food, but they were arguing about heroin.

  144. jana says:

    and what does it say about me that nearly all of these are on my total top list of favorite albums of all time?

  145. Raibat says:

    Rozz Williams makes most of the people on this list look like amateurs. Prolific career of “maintaining” for decades. Burroughsesque brilliance without peer. Consider the spoken word and noise structure pieces. One of the most under appreciated artists of our time.

  146. Willy says:

    Has anyone heard of Lidia Lunch? or maybe Diamonda Galas…

  147. fred de vries says:

    i like the list, or at least the idea of it, but the criteria used remain a bit murky. when it comes to debauchery some more of the old jazz men certainly should’ve been included, as well as oasis (be here now). and like one of the readers i agree that stoner rock (sabbath or one of the later bands like electric wizard) cannot be omitted. i like the fact you included legendary pink dots. maybe in a similar vein bands you wouldnt expect it from should have been added, like the triffids and the g-betweens, and even the kinks. oh, and before we forget nick cave and einsturzende neubauten made some pretty debauched sounds early in their career… still, a nice list!

  148. Jerry Kurl says:

    Bravo!!! I’m thoroughly uninterested in the bickering about what should and shouldn’t have been included here. (Why does that always happen? IDIOTS!) What I am interested in is your brilliant, insightful, often hilarious, always clever synopses of these records. In the cases of the records I know, I agree with much of what you wrote. As for those I don’t, well, I’m that much more inclined to hear them now. Thanks so much for that! (BTW, personally, I think this is a pretty damn great Top 50 list. I would take issue with very few of your selections. I can’t imagine it being much better overall.)

  149. lord koos says:

    No mention of the thousands of blues and jazz records that were cut under the influence of weed or booze, or heroin?

  150. Patrick says:

    Motor Booty Affair- Listen to this gem on headphones and you can hear the sound of endless ambient coke chatter, not to mention an epic ode to liquid sunshine long after lsd was out of vogue

    ps- anything by George Clinton could have been in the top 5

  151. You have enriched my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  152. Toyd Facxterz says:

    u forgot TheMoray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders

  153. JAMES E. PARMLEY says:


  154. Brent Bomersbach says:

    Okay??? No Layla? No Sly Stone/Riot Goin On ? No Moby Grape/Truly Fine Citizen(the bible for acid country) ?, No Donovan/Sunshine Superman?, No Miles Davis/Get Up With It(try this one on acid), No Coltrane ?, No Dylan/Band Basement tapes?, NO Moody Blues/In search of the lost Chord (even has a tribute to Timothy Leary) ? … I could do this all day

  155. extablisment says:

    You should have also listed The Research Chymicals’ “Bioassay” as a must own record.

  156. Paul says:

    Such a cool list, thank you for making this. I’m surprised I didn’t see Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-shirt by John Frusciante. I have no comment on whether people think it’s any good or not, but that album is literally the musical representation of John’s dark cocaine and heroine fueled collapse into complete isolation and insanity. The album gets more drug fueled and sporadic with each song. Just my thought

  157. Michael says:

    Rollins has always been anti-drug, and Miles had quit heroin years before Bitches Brew. Conduct some research before you start typing.

  158. Sean Blowdong says:

    SEAN BEAUDOIN is truly one clueless hack.

  159. Ash Steel says:

    I’m sure mentioning a hip hop record will open some narcotic floodgates, but I can’t help but feel that the RZAs, Bobby Digital is missing from the list.

  160. Skip Whitcher says:

    I think The Doctors of Madness deserve a shout out too. There were plenty of songs on their 1st album.

  161. Larry says:

    Chemlab’s Exile on Mainline should def be on this list. Really, anything by Chemlab. There’s a limited version of Burnout at the Hydrogen Bar featuring the singer Jared spiking H into his dick. Doesn’t get more hardcore than that. “Exile…” was recorded at Chicago Trax Studios, so that right there should instaqualify it. Also, anything by .

  162. Bob Hall says:

    Fantastic job! The only thing I would have changed is to have put Trout mask replica as #2, because, “When I see you floating down the gutter I’ll buy you a bottle of wine”!

  163. yiannis says:

    you are seriously missing Alice in Chains’ “Dirt”!! There are songs like Junkhead, Godsmack and Sickman on there man! D’oh!

  164. bonnie bianco says:

    beach boys pet sounds / mia
    stone roses happy mondays
    miley cyrus
    lady gaga

  165. Lord Frontbottom says:

    Autopsy – Mental Funeral

  166. Damon F says:

    Lady Sings the Blues a car wreck? Ludicrous. Her voice might not have been the same, but her delivery was never better.

  167. Charles Dunlap says:

    John Phillips album ‘Pay Pack & Follow’ made with Keith Richards in the 70s but not released until Phillips’ death in 2001 was a completely junked out excursion made between nod-outs.

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  169. Bloopville says:

    One of the most notorious albums, “If I Could Only Remember My Name” is missing. This has to be an intentional oversight.

  170. Craig says:

    GONG~Flying Teapot (a song called “Pot Head Pixie”)…This has to be on this list somewhere. “You” was coke-fueled.

  171. Gigi says:

    The Church Priest = Aura

  172. Danilo says:

    Beatles white album please

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  176. MikeB26 says:

    Not claiming knowledge when comes to drug addled rock and roll (Hall and Oates fan here!).

    But one humble suggestion of an honorable mention for In-A-Gadda-Da Vida by Iron Butterfly, that had five suburban 8 year olds (3 Flynns and 2 Goldstien brothers), and I figure suburban 8 year olds all over the country, pretending we were on acid, drug-muddling “In the Garden of Eden” and playing tennis racquets to the 45, over and over and over and over!

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  178. Alex R says:

    Why is Nick Drake’s Pink Moon on this list? Calling that album “drug-addled” is pretty inaccurate, not to mention really fucking disrespectful. That pisses me off a lot. The author didn’t even talk about how drugs played a part in the album… Terrible, terrible inclusion.

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  181. Gary says:

    Smile…would can hear the discussions of acid and hash on the outakes.

  182. Marcus Jones says:

    What about Sergeant Pepper?????

  183. Rob says:

    Nothing from Brian Wilson??

    • Simon says:

      This list cannot be taken too seriously, too many “must” albums missing.
      Yeah, Brian Wilson & Beach Boys & Todd Rundgren missing. LOL!

    • Simon says:

      The most drug addicted band of the world is: The Temptations – missing here.
      What a stupid list.

  184. Claudia Jahsmins says:

    The band Mao have a rare album called ‘Graveyard Music’ which was recorded in Aleister Crowley’s house on LSD and weed and it’s probably the most eerie album I’ve heard next to Barrett and the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s music!

  185. Dimitris Ioakeimidis says:

    Great list, must of got you a lot of time and effort to sort out and choose…the reason that i’m commenting is Alice in chains.Their second lp “dirt” must be one of the most harrowing ,honest,bleak and straightforward accounts of what being a drug addict really is(heroin being the the main d.o.c.).If you also add to that some facts, like that it hit number 1 spot of the billboard top 200 chart the first week of it’s release ,with songs like “junkhead” “godsmack” “sickman” on it, that everyone on the band at the time was on a daily heroin+crack habits(layne staley was actually shooting up dope in the studio in front of the others band members,which actually freaked out their producer cause everyone elses was very cool bout it ) and last but not least the singer layne staley died of a speedball o.d. in 2002.I think “dirt” is the one most sincere ,truthful and close to what it really feels like for someone to be addicted to heroin.

  186. Cliff says:

    Hey, hey, ” ***…I want to kill u”…u forgot him, Jim morrison!

  187. Simon says:

    A drugs album list without Todd Rundgren or Utopia cannot be taken seriously – really!
    The Neil Young album from 1982 is worth and many forgetting it.

  188. There is certainly a lot to know about this issue.
    I love all of the points you’ve made.

  189. David Fern says:

    Mazzy Star ‘So Tonight That I Might See’.
    Ash Ra Tempel w Timothy Leary ‘Seven Up’ recorded on acid

  190. James Ripley says:

    I was expecting Alex Chilton’s Like Flies On Sherbert.

  191. HumboldtRick says:

    Fucking rubbish.

  192. Phillip Anderson says:

    On the Nilsson and Lennon Pussycats album the cover even celebrates the use of drugs whilst making it. Wears it on its sleeve if you will.
    On the left is a child’s alphabet block showing the letter D and on the right another block showing the letter S, with a rug between the two.
    So if you haven’t got it by now it says D RUG S , and this by a man who once swore Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds only co-incidentaly had the initials LSD. Yeah right John, sure.

  193. Great list but I have to admit I’m surprised by the omission of either John Frusciante’s first two solo records. Both beautifully painful to listen to in their harrowing depiction of heroin’s depravity.

  194. b douglas says:

    at the risk of being verbally bludgeoned, i suggest “the 12 dreams of dr. sardonicus”, or i suppose as in most of these offerings that you would have had to of been there.
    nice article to have lasted this long.

  195. Mr Murphy says:

    The only entry that really matters is the last one. Syd Barrett’s solo albums can change your entire life; change you as a person. I have had two wives literally beg me to please stop listening to them because it was affecting my mental state to such a degree that they just couldn’t sit by and watch it happen anymore. Syd is the king.

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  198. Peng says:

    John Frusciante’s “Smile From The Streets You Hold” should be at #1

  199. mang�orama says:

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  200. Cale Blevins says:

    12 bar blues should absolutely be in here.

  201. Gabriel Knight says:

    John Frusciante’s first 2 albums should definitely be in there, especially the second. Oasis – Be Here Now is also in with a shout, obscene amounts of coke being done during the recording and it shows.

  202. Bibby Bo says:

    No WEEN? No list.

  203. Mystic says:

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