From Jane’s Addiction to Metallica, these bands have penned and performed spectacular—if not always positive—songs about overcoming heroin, alcohol, and everything in between.
The Eagles, “One Day At a Time”
Eagles lead singer Joe Walsh indulged in plenty of the rocker excess and drug use synonymous with the 1970s music scene when his band first got big (“Life in the Fast Lane,” anyone?) but he’s been singing quite a different tune for quite a while now. And no song epitomizes that more than “One Day At a Time,” the pop-rock ditty from the Eagles’ 2005 live DVD Farewell 1 Tour—Live From Melbourne. Lyrics like “I finally got around to admit that I was the problem, when I used to put the blame on everyone’s shoulders but mine” sound like they might have even been cribbed from a recent AA meeting. The tune’s gist: Walsh admits his powerlessness (“I got down on my knees and said hey, I just can’t go on living this way”), declares that he’s gotten help from a Higher Power and now plans to learn how to live one day at a time. Art, of course, imitated life: Walsh allegedly kicked his own drug and alcohol habit after visiting Australia and New Zealand in 1994 and has supposedly not only been clean and sober ever since but has also offered to help Australian Premier of Victoria John Brumby tackle the country’s drug problems.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Under the Bridge”
What lead singer Anthony Kiedis originally perceived to be an overly emotional poem that he felt reluctant to show to his bandmates ended up becoming one the biggest singles of his band’s career—not to mention one of the quintessential songs about addiction and recovery. Kiedis supposedly wrote “Under the Bridge” when he was three years sober in an effort to describe the impact that drugs had on his life and how his sobriety was negatively impacting his relationship with his bandmates, leading him to believe that his only companion was the city of Los Angeles (“Sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in, the city of angels”). “I felt an unspoken bond between me and my city,” Kiedissaid in his 2004 autobiography Scar Tissue. “I’d spent so much time wandering through the streets of LA and hiking through the Hollywood Hills that I sensed there was a nonhuman entity, maybe the spirit of the hills and the city, who had me in her sights and was looking after me.” The song appeared on their 1992 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik and ended up reaching number two on the Billboard charts, catapulting the Chili Peppers into the mainstream. Kiedis, meanwhile, bounced in and out of treatment facilities for years before reportedly kicking his heroin addiction for good in December 2000. Read More…