Sing a Song of Drug Use-Abuse: Four Decades of Drug Lyrics in Popular Music–From the Sixties through the Nineties
Version of Record online: 9 JAN 2007
Volume 71, Issue 2, pages 194–220, April 2001
How to Cite
Markert, J. (2001), Sing a Song of Drug Use-Abuse: Four Decades of Drug Lyrics in Popular Music–From the Sixties through the Nineties. Sociological Inquiry, 71: 194–220. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.2001.tb01108.x
- Issue online: 9 JAN 2007
- Version of Record online: 9 JAN 2007
Songs dealing with illegal drugs have long dotted popular music. It was not until the aftermath of the sixties youth counterculture, however, that drug lyrics became a recurring musical motif. In the decades since, the lyrical treatment of drugs has undergone change. Heroin and cocaine have largely, though not exclusively, been treated antagonistically, with the animosity toward cocaine becoming more pronounced after crack cocaine was introduced in the mid-1980s. Marijuana, on the other hand, has generally been perceived as innocuous, if not positively assessed, and this treatment has crossed the decades into the nineties. In more recent years, however, the positive assessment of marijuana has undergone change, with younger musicians more likely to decry the harm that drugs do than older musicians do. This prosocial aspect of contemporary popular music has been largely ignored.