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Spotlight: Biggest Stoner Bands Of The 1960s

Relive some classics with some of the biggest stoner bands & groups of the '60s.
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The 1960s represent a revolutionary decade in the lives of stoners and ardent music lovers alike. If you’re both, that’s a double epiphany! The evolution of rock music and other music genres spawned the biggest stoner bands of the 60s who achieved tremendous success and made an indelible mark on music. This list of best albums to listen to high will drive the message home if you’re not convinced.

If you’re an old timer, chances are you witnessed one of the greatest periods of reinvention in the history of music. Also, music lovers with a penchant for history and eccentric stoners who have sought after the roots of stoner music might have familiarized themselves with all the details. For the rest of the stoner community, there’s something to take home.

Fast forward: stoner rock, a.k.a stoner metal a.k.a stoner doom a.k.a desert rock (sometimes) is what we basically refer to as stoner music. In this type of music, the "stoner" refers to the musicians. On a lighter note, stoner rock just happens to be a rock music fusion genre that combines components of heavy metal, doom metal, psychedelic rock and acid rock.

From the look of things, you might already be able to tell that stoner rock is a music genre totally dedicated to stoners (the recognition!). Music made by stoners; while stoned; for stoners; to get stoned. How cool is that? The lyrics, vocals, imagery and sound all revolve around the stoner culture and cannabis consumption. That's pretty tight if you ask me.

Rewind: although the descriptor "stoner rock" may have originated in the 1990s, the stoner community – music wise, has always lit up through the 60s, all thanks to the biggest stoner bands of the 60s. And who tops the list might surprise you.

1. Grateful Dead

Members: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Brent Mydland, Ron McKernan, Bruce Hornsby, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart

You know a band is big enough when it has a large number of people on both sides of the fence. That was the curious case with the Grateful Dead fandom. It was a tug-of-war between music and lifestyle. There’s a 90% chance that every hippie or major stoner is/was a Dead fan. These guys had a brobdingnagian impact on psychedelic rock, live performances, counter culture, etc. Being a Dead fan goes way beyond the music. It was more reflective as a stylistic lifestyle choice. If you find kinship in getting high, The Great Dead fandom is your birthright and rightful calling. Drawing in a crowd of 80,000 – 100,000 people was a feat for legends back in the day and still filling stadiums 50 years later sounds pretty relevant.

11 members of The Dead were once rounded up for dealing “the killer weed” and were released on bail after spending 6 hours in jail. Punchline: The Killer weed!

2. Bob Dylan

From playing small joints (and smoking mind bending joints) in New York to rendering hair raising performances to huge crowds, Dylan’s life and work goes beyond inspirational. With so many songs that defined the era and 8 albums, his contribution to music in the 60s cannot go unrecognized. He went ahead to become a key part of the anti-war and civil rights movement. His iconic "Blowin In The Wind" and "The Times They Are A-Changin" turned the soundtrack for the civil rights movement then.

“But opium and hash and pot...they just bend your mind a little. I think everybody’s mind should be bent once in a while.” - Bob Dylan

3. The Beatles

Members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe, Jimmie Nicol and Norman Chapman.

The Beatles created the perfect storm of music at the very best time (time was the essence of their massive success) as they rained down on America with a different kind of sound. A combination of simple, but at times strange lyrics, weird suits & hair, and their witty comments made them easily stand out. They spent time honing their craft in dingy nightclubs and trashy drives (not nowadays that bands can form in a garage under one week) and went ahead to become one of the first great British rock bands in America. If any band could make the whole world stand still, it was The Beatles.

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If normal people had breakfast, lunch and dinner; The Beatles had weed, breakfast, weed 2, lunch, weed 3, dinner, weed 4 and weed 5. Yepp, that’s how much they smoked.

4. Bob Marley

As far as fame goes, Bob Marley was/is extremely famous but only a few knew/know his story. If you can separate the art from the artist, you wouldn’t have a problem vibing to the melodic and fantastic songs from Bob Marley. Good music consists good lyrics, sounds, rhythm, tune, instrumentals and vocals and Bob Marley was the master of his craft. Though he may not have popularized reggae as most people think/thought, he earned his legendary status by adding some kind of specialty to the genre.

As a Rastafarian, it was an important part of Bob Marley's way of life.

5. Jimi Hendrix

Da Vinci: I can write with one hand and draw with another.

Jimi Hendrix: Hold my beer. I can play the guitar 4 different ways with fluency. Right hand, Left hand and upside down with both hands.

Despite his incredible talents, Jimi remained super humble and never bragged. The greatest guitarist ever lived! His wild and crazy on-stage persona really had the crowd going.

6. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson is a prolific artist. He has played the same guitar named "Trigger" for 50 years. And new artists don’t even come close with their fancy new guitars. Twice, it has remained his remaining last possession. He has played Trigger at over 10,000 shows and gets it repaired at the same shop in Austin, Texas.

Besides Trigger, Willie Nelson has also remained faithful to marijuana (he’s pretty much high all the time) and has openly confessed that weed saved his life from addiction to dangerous drugs. Being jailed for weed did not deter the man. Guess who beat their chest at the legalization of marijuana? 

7. The Rolling Stones

Members: Mick jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mick Taylor and Ian Stewart.

The Rolling Stones literally brought the phrase “Rolling Stone” to live – they never stopped rolling in their prime. Their consistency in releasing great records was unmatched. They can easily be recounted as one of the few bands that captured the essence of rock music.

Stopping by a cannabis dispensary is the equivalent of hanging out with the rolling stones. Seems these guys were just good at rolling stuff including joints.

8. Black Sabbath

Members: Ozzy Osburne, Ronnie James Dio, Tony Lommi, Bill Ward, Geezer Butler, Ian Gillan, Tony Martin and Glenn Hughes.

Though the bulk of their career was in the 1970's and beyond, the band was formed in the 1960s and can be included in this list. Black Sabbath is often credited with "inventing" metal. Contrary to that belief, they never considered themselves a metal band, rather they addressed themselves as a hard rock band. On one hand, they were consistently heavier than other big bands as no other band before them introduced such a heavy focus on embracing the aesthetics that defined heavy metal.

Black Sabbath's anthem was thus: The more fucked up you turn up, the better people think you’re going to be. You can only get sufficiently fucked up right with weed (the paradox).


These legends walked the path of greatness with a sprinkle of weed (scratch that - a storm of weed) and changed the music industry forever. All thanks to them (and thanks to weed), the sounds they created have been touching lives ever since.

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