Gnarly weed songs you need to hear to believe

No matter your views on weed, these 12 songs are worth listening to.
Black Sabbath File Photos
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“ALONG COMES MARY” by The Association (1966)

The Association came out of LA, but they really sounded like they came from San Fran. Soft pop like “Windy” and “Never My Love” defined a certain idyllic world filled with love and peace. Those songs are great in their lane. But “Along Comes Mary” is a different cat. It’s one of the great psychedelic songs of the decade. From its garage guitar opening riffs through Tandyn Almer’s complex internal rhyming patterns, it sweeps you away.

Is Mary a girl or a joint? I’ve read that Almer admitted the double meaning was intentional, but I’ve never confirmed that. Part of the genius of the song is that it works both ways. And to me, it’s fairly obvious. I mean the end of the chorus goes “When we met I was sure out to lunch – Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch.” That’s the kind of line you come up with when you are stoned. (BTW, Bloodhound Gang does a cool zombie-punk cover of this song – one of their only songs you can play for your kids or parents.)

“REEFER MAN” by Cab Calloway (1932)

I told you this list was eclectic. “Reefer Man,” sometimes known as “Have You Ever Met That Funny Reefer Man?” is a jumping jazz number that Calloway recorded in 1932 and then performed in the mainstream Hollywood comedy International House the following year. The timing, at least in film terms, matters. This was a year before Hollywood’s production code began restricting salacious content on the screen. In 1933, Calloway could sing a line like “Have you ever met that funny reefer man” on screen. By 1934, maybe not.

That’s the great thing about this era. You didn’t need to euphemize it into “Mary Jane.”  The song begins with Calloway and the band engaging in some exaggerated banter – “Man, what’s the matter with that cat there? -- Must be full of reefer.” Then the horns and piano kick in and you are off and running. The lyrics are mostly nonsense, but Calloway sells them the way he always did. Hollywood would tackle this subject in a most awkward fashion a few years later in Reefer Madness. But Big Bad Voodoo Daddies did the subject justice in a cover from their Calloway tribute in 2009.