Great hit songs inspired by addiction and recovery

Most of you can probably sing along to these songs – but did you know they were about addiction and recovery?

It’s no secret that many in the music industry have a special relationship with substances. Whatever the reason, it turns out that you can learn a lot about addiction and recovery by listening more closely to some of the biggest hits in many genres of music. In this blog we will examine how substance abuse, and recovery, informed many hit songs – classics that most of you can probably sing along to.

 “One Day at a Time” by The Eagles

The quintessential band of the 1970s were famous for their hard-partying lifestyle. Early hits such as “Life in the Fast Lane” make allusions to cocaine and parties until dawn. Later, though, found Eagles front man Joe Walsh singing a different tune with the song “One Day at a Time,” which was released in 2005. Essentially, the song is a record of recovery, with lyrics telling of blaming others for his problem, praying to a higher power, and learning how to live one day at a time. By all accounts, singer Welsh has been sober since 1994 and the song recounts his journey to a life without drugs and alcohol.

“Under the Bridge” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Coming from an entirely different decade, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were no less notorious for their partying, including their use of heroin. However, during the early 1990s, lead singer Anthony Kiedis made his first major attempt at sobriety. This came at a time when his bandmates continued to use substances. In his feeling of isolation, Kiedis penned the words to the song “Under the Bridge,” which would later become their most well-known hit. He wrote the lyrics privately in order to process his feelings, and was reluctant at first to share them with his band. Fortunately for us, though, he shared his words, which offer telling reminders of the battle for sobriety as well as poetic descriptions of his beloved city, Los Angeles.

“Rehab” by Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse made headlines when she died of an alcohol overdose in 2011. The singer’s early death was made all the more poignant due to her very vocal resistance to recovery, as evidenced on her hit single, “Rehab.” The song made it to the top 10 list in eight countries, showcasing Winehouse’s signature sultry style as she sang of her resistance to recovery. But rather than viewing the song as ultimately about refusing recovery, we should view it as an acknowledgment that, for many addicts, getting clean and sober can seem an insurmountable task.

“Master of Puppets” by Metallica

Like many of the other artists’ featured in this list, Metallica’s members were known in their time to use and abuse substances. What listeners might not know, however, is that one of their biggest hits is about struggles with substances. “Master of Puppets,” from the album of the same name, describes that way in which drugs can come to control life. James Hetfield, the lead singer of the heavy metal group, says that it portrays how instead of you controlling your life, drugs come to take over. The story, which begins with the album recorded in 1986, ends on a good note: Hetfield has been in rehab and now has reportedly been sober for over 15 years.

“Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction

Originally recorded in 1987 for their debut album, the song “Jane Says” was the band Jane’s Addiction’s greatest hit. The plaintive sounds of steel drums, together with jangly guitars reminiscent of the Smiths, belie the seriousness of the track. It tells the story of Jane, a heroin addict who has plans to quit using heroin and travel to Spain. In the sadness and longing and gritty truth portrayed in the song, it is clearly not a glorification of drug abuse, but rather a portrayal of the sadness and longing that accompany addiction. Interestingly, the song is actually based on a real person. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending, with the real Jane eventually getting clean going to Spain.

The Cabin Chiang Mai offers world-class treatments for addiction in a well-appointed residential facility. If you are concerned about addiction, please contact one of our specialists today.

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