Music and drugs have been intertwined for centuries. Nearly every major music artist ever has either sung about or used drugs. And marijuana is definitely not an exception. And while there are plenty of songs that are explicitly about smoking pot, there are some that actually try to hide their cannabis connections.
Here are seven well-known songs that hide (or try to hide) their marijuana message:
7. “Mary Jane” by Rick James
Ok, yes, the title for this song is the same as a popular nickname for marijuana. But still, it’s a tender love song that you would assume just happens to share a name with marijuana. But like many Rick James song, it’s just about marijuana.
6. “Brown Sugar” by D’Angelo
Another song that hides it’s secret marijuana theme behind love song lyrics. But when he says his “eyes are a shade blood burgundy,” it’s pretty obvious he’s talking about getting high.
5. “Mary Jane's Last Dance” by Tom Petty
Yes, another song with Mary Jane in the title to give it away. But it begins by talking about a girl growing up in a small town in Indiana. It’s only later that you find out it’s about two people who escape the monotony of small town life through smoking marijuana.
4. “Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath
“Sweet Leaf” was actually the name of a brand of Irish cigarettes. So Ozzie Osbourne and company probably thought their name was a clever way to write a song about marijuana. It probably wasn’t clever enough.
3. “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan
Every line of the song begins saying “they’ll stone you,” so it’s not exactly subtle. But it could be interpreted as people literally throwing stones at you. The song reached no. 2 in the U.S. charts but radio stations banned the song because they’re not stupid.
2. “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary
Probably anybody who looks at the title of this song knows it’s about drugs. But not everyone thinks about things so figuratively! In fact, not knowing this song is about marijuana inspired a scene in Meet the Parents.
1. “Got to Get You Into My Life” by The Beatles
Many of The Beatles later songs would feature not so subtle allusions to drug use. (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” being perhaps the most egregious offender.) But “Got to Get You Into My Life” just sounds like a song about a guy who needs a girl in his life, right? Nope. In a 1997 biography about Paul McCartney, he admitted the song was about the first time he ever smoked marijuana.