The connection between drug use and dance music is not a new phenomenon – since onset of recorded music, the music industry and drugs have gone hand in hand, with the first main incidence of usage of drugs coming from jazz musicians…
These musical styles and cultural trance dances comprise the far eastern religious groups’ mantra chanting, those of the spinning dervishes of Turkey, as well as Morocco’s joujouka players (Landry & Landry 92). This paper delves into the correlation between psycho-reactive drugs and music culture in the 1960s. Introduction Psychoactive drugs refer to substances that have an impact on somebody’s mood, thinking, perception as well as feeling. These drugs activate the brain’s pleasure centers thus increasing the potential of engaging in drug abuse continually. People have always ingested psychoactive drug (Goode 1). The 1960s are however notorious for the celebration of abuse of these drugs, especially among the young people. Moreover, the growth of the music scene of this period was interconnected to the augmented use of hallucinogens as well as marijuana by the culture of the youths. A study conducted on the same revealed that in the year 1962, only twenty-five thousand Americans had even tried using LSD. However, after a period of only four years (towards the end of the year 1965), this number had increased to approximately four million users. Three quarters of the users were college or high school age students (Shapiro 139). In 1960s, there was the emergence of a spirited subculture of drugs, with some social groups viewing the use of drugs positively, assessing persons on the basis of whether they made use of illegal drugs, and believing that ‘turning on’ an individual who was not a drug abuser was a virtue. This subculture became a strong force in engaging young people into the habit of abusing illegal psychoactive substances. Drug abuse had never before gotten to such a great number of youths. (Lyman & Potter 51). As a way of rebellion and a means asserting insubordination of community norms, young people in America used drugs. In the year 1964, those who opposed mainstream ideals and American culture made San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district their meeting place, rock music being the basis for this counter-cultural stance. Following his encounter of a world of love and peace during a psilocybin mushroom trip, Allen Ginsberg, a beatnik poet, made up the term ‘flower power’ to cover this thought. Soon, the term came to be a symbol of 1960s counter-culture all together (Brewer 25). LSD became increasingly readily available as years went on. In the mid 1960s, Owsley Stanley (commonly known as the ‘king of acid’) became top-grade acid’s key vendor, and built very close bonds with the world of music (Shapiro 134-137 & Wong 3). The greatest number of the musicians heavily used heroin, and some were even dealers of this drug. Moreover, marijuana played a great role in their music as well as in their daily lives. The 1960s also saw a shift in drugs of choice in the drug scene of the Unites States of America. The use of such psychedelic substances as marijuana, heroin, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and N-diethyltryptamine (DMT) became more popular in the 1960s and their popularity increased through the beginning of 1970s (Lyman & Potter 51). LSD users often acclaim the drug arguing that it helps them attain a heightened sensation of understanding of the world. They also believe that the drug is a stimulator of creativity. In users, many of the drug’s effects are evident through the kind music that they produce when they are high on the drug (Shapiro 137). Continuous chanting or drumbeats accompanies cultural ...
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