The recent death of rock and roll icon Tom Petty has led many to wonder if his history of drug abuse played a factor in his shocking demise. At just 66, the Heartbreaker was found non-responsive from cardiac arrest on October 2, 2017. Many of his songs tackle drug use and describe his struggle.
It’s no secret that addiction has taken hold of many musicians throughout the years, and many songs have been written as a way for artists to document their struggles, pain, and recovery.
Here are five songs with lyrics that tackle drug use and inspire many people who struggle with addiction.
“Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
Childhood abuse, the death of his mother and splitting from his first wife all contributed to Petty abusing heroin during the 1990s. He recalls in one biography that drugs played a “dirty trick” on him.
“Tried to go cold turkey, and that wouldn’t work,” he said. “It’s an ugly (expletive) thing. Really ugly. I fear that if I talk about it, people will think, ‘Well, I could do it and get off.’ But you can’t. Very few people do.”
“Mother’s Little Helper” by The Rolling Stones
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
“Mother’s Little Helper” touches on the popularity of pills prescribed to 1960s housewives who needed “help” getting through the day. The pills described in the song are believed to have been Valium.
In the song, addiction ensues, a topic that songwriters and musicians Mick Jagger and Keith Richards know about all too well. Both have battled addictions to substances, including heroin, for decades.
“It’s Been Awhile” by Staind
It’s been awhile since I can say that I wasn’t addicted
And it’s been awhile since I can say I love myself as well and
And it’s been awhile since I’ve gone and fucked things up just like I always do
And it’s been a while, but all that shit seems to disappear when I’m with you
Lead singer of Staind, Aaron Lewis, admits that “It’s Been Awhile” is “an acknowledgment of the past.” Lewis has never admitted to any addiction, but the song speaks of just that, as well as how it destroys relationships.
Lewis has admitted to growing up in a dysfunctional family, only being able to rid himself of a lifelong sense of failure by finding himself in his music.
“Amazing” by Aerosmith
There were times in my life
When I was goin’ insane
Tryin’ to walk through the pain
When I lost my grip, and I hit the floor
Yeah, I thought I could leave but couldn’t get out the door
I was so sick and tired of livin’ a lie
I was wishin’ that I would die
Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler wrote “Amazing” to chronicle his own addiction and recovery. It is said he wrote the song for kids at the Caron Foundation, where Tyler spent time to tackle drug use and recover from substance addiction.
According to his autobiography, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?, Steven Tyler admits to using cocaine, speed, acid, marijuana, red hash, and other drugs.
“Fame derails people — not to mention the drugs,” he said.
The Black Crowes, “She Talks to Angels”
She never mentions the word addiction
In certain company.
Yes, she’ll tell you she’s an orphan
After you meet her family.
She paints her eyes as black as night now.
Pulls those shades down tight.
Yeah, she gives me a smile when the pain comes.
The pain gonna make everything alright.
“She Talks to Angels” is not one particular person, admits Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson, but rather a variety of people. Robinson created the story of a wayward girl, crafting the lyrics with his brother Rich. The song touches on the deceit and denial often associated with addicts.
Are You Trying to Tackle Drug Use?
Famous or not, alcohol and drug addiction can quickly overcome your life and take away the things that are most important to you. If you need help getting sober, Morningside Recovery offers personalized substance abuse detox and rehab that ensures that your recovery program is best-suited to your needs.
For more information about how we can help you tackle drug use and kick your substance, call us at 855-631-2135. Our helpline is open 24/7 and our specialists will work with you to help find the treatment option that works for you.