Our 50 druggiest albums ever as a Spotify playlist
10The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
On the Floyd’s debut Syd Barrett constructed glorious fantasies, spurred on by LSD consumption that could be described as ‘gargantuan’.
What would later become stomach-churning drug clichés are here startlingly original: childlike whimsy (‘Matilda Mother’), space-rock (‘Interstellar Overdrive’) and eastern mysticism (‘Chapter 24’).
9Are You Experienced (1967)
No matter how much LSD you take, turquoise satin bell-bottoms are never a good idea.
8THA Carter III (2008)
Codeine found its way into hip-hop in Texas, where Houston natives have long been in the habit of dosing-up on a blend of prescription cough medicine and soda.
Three 6 Mafia’s ‘Sippin’ On Some Syrup’ brought the trend to national attention, while the late DJ Screw rose to fame thanks to his mixtapes, which slowed down popular hits of the day so they sound reeeallly gooood on syrup. But the best-known advocate of ‘purple drank’ is, of course, Lil Wayne.
Seldom seen without his tell-tale Styrofoam cup, Weezy’s slurred flow is shaped by his choice of refreshment. And while in later years, he’s talked of kicking the habit, his commercial breakthrough, ‘Tha Carter III’, still speaks of his predilection for sizzurp. “I’m used to promethazine, in two cups, I’m screwed up,” he rhymes on ‘Phone Home’.
7Kind Of Blue (1959)
The apogee of cool, a dinner-party classic, and the biggest–selling jazz album of all time, made by a man who chipped smack throughout his career.
Which might also explain 1970’s ‘Bitches Brew’ – jazz-fusion’s insane, filthy, skronky Year Zero, inspired equally by Jimi Hendrix’s wah-wah and having half of Afghanistan in your system.
The Fab Four’s seventh album was a revolutionary step forward, featuring string octets (‘Eleanor Rigby’), backwards guitars (‘I’m Only Sleeping’), high distortion (‘She Said She Said’) and pioneering tape loops (‘Tomorrow Never Knows’).
Mostly inspired by their burgeoning psychedelic experiences on acid, which reportedly developed after Lennon and Harrison had their coffee spiked during a dinner with a dentist.
5In Utero (1993)
The album once destined to be known as ‘I Hate Myself And I Want To Die’ records Kurt’s much-wallowed misery in being impaled on the barbed spike of heroin addiction.
Eight months later Kurt decided he couldn’t live with the gut-rotting pain that heroin had brought to his door.
4There's A Riot Going On (1971)
The theme was the death of ‘60s idealism, and Sly was his own test subject, getting off his bonce on angel dust and making it sound like the best-ever time in the process.
3White Light/White Heat (1968)
Forty minutes, 13 seconds of jolting, messy, jaw-gnawing darkness.
Famously, Sterling Morrison said the band were all “dragging ourselves off a cliff... but at least we were all heading in the same direction”.
2Exile On Main St (1972)
Rock Rule #3975: for the sake of your sanity, avoid the château. It might sound like the isolated Dukedom where you can knuckle down to your new album free of distractions, dealers and A&R ne’er-do-wells, but it might well end up a prison of paranoia, self-destruction and parties you can never leave.
When Pink Floyd picked Studio Miraval in a remote French château to record ‘The Wall’, it led to a terrifying claustrophobia and an irreversible split in the band. When Muse picked the same location for ‘Black Holes & Revelations’ they grew beards, tortured insects and started believing the world had ended without anybody telling them.
But by far the most classic example of châteaumania occurred in Villa Nellcôte in the south of France in the summer of 1971, when The Rolling Stones somehow pieced together ‘Exile…’ in the middle of scenes that Keith Richards would later describe as a cross between Hitler’s bunker, Versailles and Dante’s Inferno.
Amid a tsunami of heroin, “drunks and junkies” and celebrities – Gram Parsons, William S Burroughs, Anita Pallenberg – the permanently-wankered band (when they managed to turn up) recorded day and night in the villa’s sweltering basement while the groupies and dealers ran riot upstairs. At one point, so open-house and loud was the 24-hour party, country-rock legend Parsons was kicked out after partying there for a full month, and local drug dealers apparently walked out in broad daylight with half of the band’s instruments as ‘payment’ for Richards’ smack debts.
The Stones eventually vacated Nellcôte with the French plod’s boot up their arses, a couple of drug convictions and a two-year ban from the country. Oh, and one of the greatest rock’n’roll stories ever.