Photo by Getty Images
April 20th marks a day that stoners and casual dope users join together to celebrate their pastime. In the history of rock ‘n’ roll, many notorious stories exist surrounding the topic of cannabis. Here are some of the most memorable Mary Jane stories from some of the most well-known musicians of all time.
- David Bowie and Iggy Pop
In March 1976, David Bowie and Iggy Pop were touring the United States together after the release of Bowie’s album Station to Station. One night, the superstars and their company were relaxing after a show when four vice-squad detectives and a state police investigator busted the group for around a half pound of marijuana. They faced at least 15 years in prison and five years’ probation, but the case was dismissed on the coincidental day of April 20th.
2. David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth, Van Halen vocalist, was once arrested for his attempt to buy drugs in New York City’s Washington Square Park. The price of the bag he tried to purchase? A whopping $5! Because of the low cost, charges were dismissed and Diamond Dave was free.
3. David Crosby
If there’s one thing singer-songwriter David Crosby is known for other than music, it’s his promotion of grass. Since his tenure with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Crosby has proudly remained marijuana’s biggest fan. These days he has turned to social media to critique his fans’ usage of weed. His Twitter followers often send Crosby photos of their joints for the artist to either rate or mock. One of those he said looked like, “a snake who swallowed a bowling ball.”
4. Pink Floyd
In 1975, Pink Floyd played a residency at the Los Angles Sports Arena. Unfortunately for dope-loving Pink Floyd fans, the Los Angeles laws at the time were run by Police Chief Edward M. Davis who was excessively strict and held a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal substances. Over just five nights of Floyd shows, Davis’s team of officers arrested over 500 fans primarily for possession of marijuana.
5. Robert Plant
In 2014, Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant was a guest on the Colbert Report. Plant was especially lively and cheerful that day, and while discussing his career with the TV host, he told him that he, “brought [him] a little present from our stock room” and passed a joint over to Stephen Colbert. “What is that? … Let’s find out what this is later, shall we?” Colbert joked. “And for the purposes of my lawyer and the network, this is a cigarette.”
6. Roger Daltrey
If you attend a Who concert, don’t be surprised that weed will not be very active at this rock ‘n’ roll concert. Ironic to the industry he’s a part of, Who singer Roger Daltrey is actually allergic to marijuana which apparently destroys his vocal cords. If Daltrey catches a fan smoking the herb during his performance, he has been known to aggressively confront the smoker. One of his famous “lessons” was when he blurted to a group of concertgoers, “All the ones smoking grass down in the front there … you fucked my night and you made me really … . I’m allergic to that shit and my voice just goes … it sucks up. So, fuck you!”
7. Paul McCartney
While McCartney’s background consists of a vast amount of drug-related arrests including running a red light with his car smoked up from marijuana and growing his own marijuana plants in Scotland. Another one of these notorious moments was when he was busted at a Tokyo airport for a half-pound of marijuana stashed in his suitcase.
On October 3rd 1973, 28 Aerosmith fans were arrested at the band’s concert for smoking pot and for underage drinking. Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler was upset at the law-abiding forces at work and called the police “scumbags” and “gestapo” on the microphone. The band ended up paying bail for all the arrested fans.
9. Gene Simmons
Despite the demon facepaint, the spikes, the leather, the party-amplified lyrics, and the flames, KISS’s Gene Simmons ironically is not a marijuana fan. According to the rocker, he has only been high once in his history of rock ‘n’ roll. The rare incident occurred when he ate a few brownies and soon realized these were not regular brownies consisting of just flour and chocolate. These were weed brownies. Not used to the effects of grass, Simmons began asking those around him, ““Are my feet as big as I think they are? Does my head look funny? Is it really small? Why are my hands so big? Are my teeth shiny?”
Jaan Uhelszki, journalist present at the moment, stated the situation was “like being with E.T. tentatively discovering the wonders of planet Earth, complete with long fingers outstretched to touch ordinary objects.”
10. Bob Dylan & The Beatles
We finish with one of the most famous pot stories in the history of rock ‘n’ roll…The first time The Beatles got high. Well, technically the fab four had tried it a few years before, but didn’t continue with it. Everything changed for the group on August 28th, 1964 at the Delmonico Hotel in New York when Bob Dylan stopped by for a visit. The folk singer assumed the moptops were already fans of marijuana because he thought they sang “I get high” in I Want To Hold your Hand instead of the true lyrics “I can’t hide.” When he offered the band a joint, they couldn’t refuse a suggestion from the legend Dylan had already become. From that moment on, The Beatles accepted cannabis and other drugs into their lives with open arms.
Listen to The Beatles Got To Get You Into My Life, which is not a song about a girl, but a song about marijuana, here: