The Top 11 Musical Moments in History – Accompanied By LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide, or as it’s more commonly known, LSD or acid, has had a long and colourful history since its creation in 1938. Much of that history comes from the link between the drug and the music scene.

In their August edition, Rock Cellar Magazine have captured the top stories which surround LSD and music – some well-known and some that you’ll be seeing for the first time.

1. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles

Many Beatle’s fans will tell you that the fact that the Beatles were using LSD during the 60s is old news, along with speculation that the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is about that particular drug.

It’s possible that speculation over the song will continue for many years though. John Lennon insisted that the song was inspired by a drawing his son Julian had made of a schoolmate, Lucy. He stuck by this story until the day he died. However, his cowriter on the song Paul McCartney maintains that it’s obvious it’s about acid.

2. LSD by The Pretty Things

The Pretty Things were the first band to record a song with LSD in the title and they were able to get away with it thanks to the British monetary system. At the time, LSD was not only the name of a drug, but also a well-known abbreviation for the British pounds, sterling and pence. The Pretty Things used this and ended up with a song riddled with double meanings.

3. Jimi Hendrix and his Headband

While Jimi Hendrix has many drug stories surrounding his life, one of the most famous of those is that he used to put hits of LSD inside his headband. During his performance these hits would be absorbed by his pores.

4. Longview by Green Day

According to the band, the popular bass line on Green Day’s song Longview came about after bass player Mike Dirnt took some acid. In his words he was “frying on acid so hard” when frontman Billy Joe Armstrong found him lying against a wall playing the line.

The band created the song around that line and it went on to win a Grammy.

5. Lennon Takes Inspiration From Peter Fonda and Timothy Leary

The Beatle’s song She Said, She Said includes a line, “I know what it’s like to be dead”. Lennon didn’t pick this from his own brain however; instead, it was taken from something Peter Fonda said while on an acid trip with the Beatles.

Lennon also found inspiration elsewhere thanks to LSD. Timothy Leary, an advocate of psychedelic drugs, wrote The Psychedelic Experience, a book from which Lennon used many lines for the song Tomorrow Never Knows.

6. The Grateful Dead secretly dose FBI agents

During the 60s the Grateful Dead were picked as a target due to their alleged actions of introducing the youth to LSD. FBI agents ended up attending their shows to investigate the story and often these agents were given drinks dosed with LSD.

7. Boy George couldn’t find the toilet

Boy George relates his first experience with acid in his autobiography. He states that he took two hits which led to him not being able to walk to the bathroom. After someone helped him there, it seemed like it had been a fruitless exercise anyway as upon seeing himself in the mirror and perceiving his face as melting, he promptly wet himself.

8. Help by The Beatles

The Beatles song Help has long been argued by fans to have been an LSD song but for many years there wasn’t much proof until someone uncovered an interview with John Lennon where he stated that he had written the song while in the middle of an LSD trip.

9. Syd Barrett’s LSD Experiments

Syd Barret of Pink Floyd fame went to great lengths to ingest his LSD. When simply taking it orally wasn’t enough for him anymore he moved on to putting it inside his eyelids or mixing it in with his hair gel so that it could seep into his head slowly during a performance.

10. Legend of a Mind by the Moody Blues

The Moody Blues were famed for their love of LSD. In the song Legend of a Mind they included a line for Timothy Leary:

“Timothy Leary’s dead, Oh, no, no, no, he’s outside looking in…”

11. Grateful Dead soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley

While Stanley may have been a soundman officially, it may have been safe to say that his real profession was LSD. Stanley reportedly manufactured and distributed over one million doses of acid and was the supplier for many musical acts such as the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and Ken Kesey.


To view the original Rock Cellar Magazine article click here.

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