Book Reviews

George Case – Out Of Our Heads: Rock ‘n’ Roll Before The Drugs Wore Off (Backbeat Books)

 

George Case Out of Our HeadsTake a trip through the history of drug culture in America, where author George Case illustrates an impressive timeline of rock ‘n’ roll and its most important contributors.  Out of Our Heads unabashedly celebrates the stoned and hazy years of rock that is as entertaining as it is informative. Though they get frowned upon, if it weren’t for drugs, there’d be no “Brown Sugar,” no “Purple Haze” and bands like the Doobie Brothers would be without a name.  Remember what Dylan said? Everybody must get…

 

Step back to that famous night in 1964 when Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to Mary J as Case continues through the decades. Whimsical chapter titles like “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “That Smell” offer detailed accounts of the era, and it’s interesting to see the change in drugs, as well as their users. With an impartial tongue, Case provides both sides of the story so even the most reformed can find this informative. Here, we mourn for Brian Jones, Janis Joplin and the rest of the 27 club, and learn from their mistakes. Then, we laugh at others: “I respect reefer,” says Marvin Gaye, “If you’re an artist, you’ll recognize this fascinating filter, and slowly you decide you’d rather live your life stoned than straight. You know it’s not good for you, but it’s too late. You’re a pothead.”

 

Out of Our Heads isn’t trying to make you toke up or drop out, but it does raise some good points. “Lots of people get high, tripped out, listened to the Beatles, and daydreamed with each other about a coming new age,” Case says. “99 percent of them never killed anyone.”

 

– Melissa Caruso

 

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