A Few Songs to Help You, Cough, "Fight Glaucoma"

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Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
Bored with all the usual pot songs? We can't blame you. Even if you're completely baked out of your gourd, you can only hear Sublime's "Smoke Two Joints" or Dash Rip Rock's "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot" so many times before the novelty wears off and you crave something a little more original. After all, isn't ganja supposed to expand your creative horizons?

For your 4/20 enjoyment, Rocks Off has picked some lesser-known songs about smokin' up - and some that are simply nice to listen to while doing so - to celebrate National "Glaucoma Prescription" Day. If you're listening at the office, we suggest earbuds. Anywhere else... well, you can see where we're going with the whole 'buds' thing.

Rick James, "Mary Jane": "Turns me on with her love, takes me to paradise", sings the Superfreak in his ode to every stoner's favorite lady, from the days when he was more famous for his blistering funk-rock than for punching Charlie Murphy in the forehead. Cocaine is a hell of a drug, yes, but had Mary Jane remained James' drug of choice, he might still be here. (Yes, we know he didn't OD, but the hard stuff caused long-term damage including a stroke. R.I.P., Rick.)

Black Sabbath, "Sweet Leaf": Of Sabbath's many drug songs - there's one for heroin ("Hand of Doom") and one for cocaine ("Snowblind") and no doubt a couple others - "Sweet Leaf" is easily the most positive. "You gave to me a new beginning," a young Ozzy Osbourne professes like a revivalist experiencing his first leafy green communion. A swampy heavy metal classic, it's perhaps as famous for guitarist Tony Iommi's jarring coughing fit at the beginning than its oft-copied riffs.

Ella Fitzgerald, "When I Get Low, I Get High": The only version we could find of this online is marred at the beginning by some jackass who thought yet another watery bong rip would have been the perfect opening to this song. It isn't. We get it, you like weed - that's no reason to fuck with the classics.

You'll soon forget the offense, however, as the jazz strikes up and Fitzgerald's golden voice soothes your every raw nerve. We don't know if this song is really about smoking up, but the lyrics are vague enough to where it very well could be, and it gets bonus points for getting all its radio play in the day before most people (FCC included) were even familiar with the slang term "getting high."

Sonic Youth & Cypress Hill, "I Love You Mary Jane": We had a look around these here Internets, and not surprisingly, Cypress Hill and Sonic Youth topped a lot of "favorite baking songs" lists. And why wouldn't they? Sonic Youth's feedback-drenched grunge has always been popular among the stoner set, and we're not sure if Cypress Hill would even exist if marijuana didn't. Selecting this collaboration from 1992's rap-rock-pioneering Judgment Night soundtrack (which enjoys a legacy the film itself could only dream of) was probably the easiest choice we made while putting this list together.

Sublime, "Scarlet Begonias": We didn't mean to imply earlier that we don't like Sublime, we just tend to avoid the overplayed, overrated "Smoke Two Joints." To us, this song represents the apex of Sublime's stoner-friendly repertoire; it's a Grateful Dead cover reworked into a reggae/ska platform, and turns out even catchier than the original. If that's not enough pot cred for you, go back to listening to every Pink Floyd song ever made.

Snoop Dogg, "Gin and Juice": We know; not a single Bob Marley song yet. And guess what, there's not gonna be, because for all his history as a ganja-smoking icon, Marley did not have a single song that was overtly about weed. (Also see here.) That's not the case with our bestest Twitter friend Snoop Dogg, whose first big hit had to have its chorus re-recorded for FM-radio play because the FCC frowns on the phrase "smokin' indo." (Who knew?) But that's okay - everybody sang the real lyrics over the censored ones anyway.

If for some reason Snoop's silk-smooth G-funk jam isn't enough for you, you can always listen to the Gourds' bluegrass version instead. It's a misattributed-on-Napster masterpiece.

Tom Petty, "You Don't Know How It Feels": When 4:20 rolls around this afternoon, you'll probably hear Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" on at least one of the local classic-rock stations. And sure, it's a great song, but how can anyone in their right mind celebrate 4:20 with a song that's about quitting pot? (Or, according to the video, a dead girl and borderline-necrophiliac coroner, but never mind.)

Far better, we think, to celebrate with this cut from his second solo album Wildflowers (performed live with the Heartbreakers in the above clip). "Let's get to the point, let's roll another joint," Petty sings, foregoing all bullshit. We don't, in fact, know how it feels to be Tom Petty, but he makes us feel pretty damn good.

Of course, there are far more songs for smokin' up - we already mentioned every Pink Floyd song ever, right? - and you're in luck: we've compiled a playlist for you: All the above songs and many more, available on YouTube. Simply click right here, select the "Play All" option on the right, and sit back for a listen while you do whatever it is you plan on doing today.

One love, me bredren.


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