By Joan Eberhardt
Brown Sugar – D’Angelo
The title track off his debut album “Brown Sugar” by 90’s R&B and Soul singer D’Angelo would have a lot of people fooled into thinking this sultry, organic tune is an ode to a beautiful woman. They’d be wrong though. Featuring a gutbucket jazz-rhythm, the snappy snare drums and organ are stunningly complementary to D’Angelo’s soulful tenor voice.
Sweet Leaf – Black Sabbath
Sweet Leaf off of Sabbath’s third album Masters of Reality, released in 1971, hits with hard riffs and beating guitar riffs. The sort of stuff you could expect from Black Sabbath in their prime. The coughing at the beginning of the track was guitarist Tony Iommi after smoking a joint in the recording studio.
La Cucaracha – A traditional Mexican folk song
La Cucaracha is actually an ancient folk song. Its origins are a little obscure but there’s evidence that people were singing a version of “La Cucaracha” as far back as the Granada War in 1592. Its contributions to Mexican culture really came about during the Mexican Revolution from around 1910 to 1920. La Cucaracha has always been a political song. It tells the sad tale of a cockroach who has lost his leg. La Cucaracha during the Mexican Revolution was widely rewritten by both the pro-rebel and pro-government sides of what was a multifactional war.
Muggles – Louis Armstrong
Recorded by Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra in Chicago in 1928, “Muggles” is probably the most beautiful song dedicated to cannabis that you can listen to with your grandma. Recorded at a time when marijuana was still legal in most states, the word “muggles” was a slang term for marijuana used among jazz musicians. Louis himself was a regular user of cannabis. “Muggles” takes on a 12-bar-blues form and is considered a masterpiece of early jazz.
Did we miss your favorite song no one knows is about cannabis? Tell us in the comments below! Just for fun we’ve included a playlist of a few more songs you may not realize were about the Reefer Man (and a few you totally did know).