THE MARIJUANA ANTHEMS! HIGH TIMES Presents the Top 25 Pot Songs:
1. PETER TOSH “Legalize It” (1976)
“Don’t criticize it,” Tosh toked. He criticized the Jamaican government and paid for it with his life in 1987. Updated by Sublime on HEMPILATION.
2. BOB MARLEY — “Kaya” (1978)
Marley’s most famous ganja tune was written in the late ’60s with the help of Lee “Scratch” Perry, but wasn’t released as an album until the late ’70s.
3. BOB DYLAN — “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (1966)
The song’s chorus, “Everybody must get stoned,” makes you forget about those rainy day women, whatever numbers they’re high on. Updated by the Black Crowes on HEMPILATION and Cypress Hill on Temples of Boom.
4. BLACK SABBATH — “Sweet Leaf” (1971)
“You give me a new belief,” Ozzy Osbourne espoused in this pre-metal glorification of ganja. Updated by Sacred Reich on HEMPILATION.
5. RICK JAMES — “Mary Jane” (1978)
“It’s my main thang,” James sang. “I love you Mary Jane.” The funkiest ode to pot . . . ever.
6. CAB CALLOWAY — “Reefer Man” (1932)
“Have you ever met that funny, funny reefer man?” was the question posed in this period piece, recorded by Cab Calloway and many others.
7. BREWER & SHIPLEY — “One Toke Over the Line” (1971)
The highest-charting pot tune of the ’70s is the song the Grateful Dead should’ve written. Updated by the Rainmakers and Brewer & Shipley on HEMPILATION 2.
8. MUSICAL YOUTH — “Pass the Dutchie” (1982)
Also a Top 10 hit, this remake of the Mighty Diamonds’ “Pass the Kutchie” came courtesy of five British youths.
9. DAVID PEEL — “I Like Marijuana” (1968)
The master marijuana minstrel championed pot to the tune of 1961’s “Peanut Butter.” Updated by the 360’s and David Peel on HEMPILATION and Technohead as “I Wanna Be a Hippie.”
10. NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE — “Panama Red” (1973)
Peter Rowan’s smuggler tale harkens back to the days when the best weed came from Latin American.
11. FRATERNITY OF MAN — “Don’t Bogart Me” (1969)
Better known as “Don’t Bogart That Joint,” this originally appeared on the Easy Rider soundtrack, was popularized by Little Feat and earned an update by Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise on HEMPILATION 2.
12. RITA MARLEY — “One Draw” (1981)
Also written by Bob Marley, the song’s catchy refrain, “I wanna get high,” served as the basis for Cypress Hill”s 1993 version.
13. CYPRESS HILL — “Stoned Is the Way of the Walk” (1991)
Hip-hop nation’s highest band put themselves on the map with this stoner masterpiece
14. LEROY “STUFF” SMITH — “If You’re A Viper” (1937)
This reefer-jazz classic was recorded by numerous artists, renamed “Reefer Song” by Fats Waller and updated by Wayne Kramer on HEMPILATION 2.
15. BLACK UHURU — “Sinsemilla” (1980)
“I’ve got a stalk of sinsemilla in my pocket,” Michael Rose exhaled on the chorus to one of reggae’s most enduring ganja classics.
16. REDMAN — “How to Roll a Blunt” (1992)
Named for the HIGH TIMES centerfold featuring Cypress Hill, Redman took blunt-smoking to new heights.
17. DASH RIP ROCK — “(Let’s Go) Smoke Some Pot” (1995)
This New Orleans trio transformed Bill Haley’s “At the Hop” into a veritable stoner anthem.
18. COMMANDER CODY & HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN — “Seeds & Stems (Again)” (1971)
A country weeper complete with tears-in-your-beer steel guitar that’s both heartfelt and parody, as the Commander sings, “I’m proud to be a toker from Muskogee.”
19. STEPPENWOLF — “Don’t Step On the Grass, Sam” (1968)
A stab at a government that prohibits pot, this was one of Steppenwolf’s most political tunes. Updated by Gov’t Mule on Hempilation.
20. MURPHY’s LAW — “Big Spliff” (1990)
New York’s premiere hardcore band were the first ’90s rockers to support pot legalization with tunes such as this one.
21. LOUIS ARMSTRONG — “Muggles” (1928)
Before pot was illegal, it was known as gage, mezz and muggles to a coterie of weed-smoking jazz cats like Armstrong. The great trumpet player and founder of jazz wrote this instrumental with pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines.
22. NEIL YOUNG — “Roll Another Number (For the Road)” (1975)
This road-trippers’ anthem is one of several weed-friendly tunes from the former member of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
23. TOYES — “Smoke Two Joints” (1991)
Covered by Sublime and Norman Nardini, the Toyes’ wake & bake anthem is an underground reggae favorite.
24. TOM PETTY — “You Don’t Know How It Feels” (1994)
This Top 10 hit was censored by MTV and radio stations because of the repeated lyric, “Let’s get to the point and roll another joint.”
25. TRADITIONAL — “La Cucaracha”
The theme song of the Mexican revolution contains the memorable lyric, “Marijuana que fumar” (smoke marijuana).
Certain songs, like Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow,” the Association’s “Along Comes Mary” (1966) and Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon (1963), have long been associated with marijuana, but actually were not pot songs per se. Outcries about these songs at the time of their releases, however, requires us to give them honorable mention. Also deserving honorable mention are all songs with the word “high” or “stoned” in the title, such as the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” (1966), Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Wanna Take You Higher” (1968), Paul McCartney’s “Hi, Hi, Hi” (1972), Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me” (1971) and Ray Charles’ “Let’s All Get Stoned” (1964). Special mention to the Beatles’ for advising us “to smoke pot, smoke pot, everybody smoke pot” at the end of “I Am the Walrus” (1969).
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