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30 Days in the Hole by Humble Pie

Album: Smokin'Released: 1972
  • Written by Humble Pie lead singer Steve Marriott, this song is about getting busted for drugs and getting sent to jail. Marriott got the idea after playing a show in Kentucky, where he learned that getting caught with drugs earned you 30 days in jail. He was also thinking about a friend of the band's who had been sent to jail for having a joint.

    Marriott was making the point that drugs were a part of culture (just as alcohol was a generation earlier) and there was nothing wrong with it. In many ways, the song is a call for legalization.
  • Marriott has said that inspiration for the title came from a Humphrey Bogart/James Cagney movie he saw on TV, where Bogart plays a prisoner who gets sent to "30 days in the hole."

    Marriott may have been referring to the 1938 movie Angels With Dirty Faces, although that line is never uttered in the film. It's also possible that the film was Somebody Up There Likes Me, a 1956 movie where Paul Newman is threatened with the "30 days in the hole."
  • This wasn't released as a single in the group's native England. It was only released in the US a year after the album came out, and it didn't chart.
  • Dave Clempson, formerly of Colosseum, had recently joined the band as guitarist. This was one of the first Humble Pie songs he contributed to.
  • There are several drug and alcohol references in this song: "Red Lebanese" and "Black Napalese" are forms of hash, and Newcastle Brown is a kind of ale. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Max - Lockport, LA
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Comments: 38

The cool thing about this song is that the rhythm is done differently in each of the three versus. And all of it sounds great!

1st verse: 16th notes on the hi-hat, standard boom-chick rock beat between bass and snare
2nd verse: swung 8th notes on the shaker, with a jungle type beat on the toms, and cymbal splashes
3rd verse: quarter notes on the hi-hat and a boom-boom-chick rock beat on the bass and snare

This song is a great reference from drummers in how to sound cool.
John - Cleveland, Ohio
'30 Days In The Hole'

Became a poplar FM hit. This gritty song helped Humble Pie become the early leaders in the gritty 'Boogie Movement'.

While many of the Rock Critics called 'Humble Pie' a minor league version of 'The Rolling Stones', this song was a favorite
with the college crowd.

In 1972, when this song was played at their shows, it spun the place to high RPM's and stirred the crowd into a frenzy.

Humble Pie was the perfect Rock Group for 2000-to-4000 seat Auditorium venue's.

While '30 Days In The Hole' was released as a single, it never charted on the US Billboard Charts. But, it was a steady song in
both FM Radio and College Radio playlists from 1972 thru 1975.
Paul - Wilton, Ct
This is a 100% complete Steve Marriot song.
A 'Boogie Rock' song that Steve Marriot worked on in late-1971.
New guitarist (Clem Clempson) had replaced Peter Frampton (who left 'Humble Pie') on September 20, 1971.

This song was on the Smokin' album which was released in March 1972 by 'A & M Records.

This song was mixed with a new High-Tech '24-Track' Mixing Board.

Steve Marriot had said that Peter Frampton had heard the early stages of this song and had wanted to make it a 'hard rock' song,
but Steve wanted a 'boogie sound'.
Paul - Wilton, Ct
I found an '86 concert of Steve Marriot singing and while the digital delay is bad, you can hear the lyrics clearer. He says in the live version smoke some Durban poison, and he does say on the last chorus 'some smoke and seeds get ya bust so hard to please " I must say finding this song with Steve singing and his mouth moves at the right place is somewhat of an enigma. Youtube "steve marriot live Ontario 86 30 days in the hole"Dawn - Warren, Mi
i think the last seeds and dust do say got bust on - so hard to please... maybe. Great song. The beginning and ending after and before he music make it the best!Dawn - Warren, Mi
The release I think in that dirty room... a room people crash to do drugs, w/ paraphernalia. The release in my opinion is from the coke they shot up. And it's urban noise and DURBAN poison and potent creeper pot from africa, my older sister said she's had it. I've had hash w/opium, its black napalese, but this was the 80's and again a sibling told me what I had before he tried to steal it..lol.Dawn - Warren, Mi
Lebanese and Napalese were types of hashish. Newcastle Brown smacking someone down doesn't refer to beer, it refers to black tar heroin. Newcastle Brown is used as a euphemism in this case.Chris - Toronto, On
LOVE this song!!
"Newcastle Brown, it can sure smack ya down" is a reference to back in early 70's, peeps round Newcastle (crazed Geordie footballers perhaps?) were dissolving heroin with alcohol and shooting it, anything too strong wasn't good so they used ale.
Rob - Everywhere, Ct
I saw Humble Pie with Steve(rest in peace) and Peter in 1970s. Alexis Korner and King Crimson, with Greg Lake.
They all jammed at the end with Pie. Review headline" Humble Pie: Fans get just dessert. Some guy from audience came up and played mouth harp with Korner... My 2nd concert. Saved ticket stub and review...
Kevin Doyle - Louisville, Ky
Sorry, I forgot to mention the reference to "Angels with Dirty Faces". I did not know that. A favorite movie of mine with the 'Dead End Kids' from the movie of the same name, "Dead End", 'East Side Kids', and/or 'Bowery Boys'. Oh, and, "Angels with Dirty Faces" is Cagney, though I believe Bogart plays a part. I was going to add something but don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen, but must see it! Cagney, Pat O'Brien, and Bogart! "No way!" you say! Yes, way. Rent it. Netflix, or buy it on amazon.com, even better! LOLRichard - Tustin, Ca
Sometimes folks, "a dirty room" is just a dirty room, Ok? Just like Rick once wrote, "...roses in your low rent tomb..." I mean where do addicts do their thing? And, no, I don't believe Steve was referring the to effevescent, amber beverage from a town in England. Come on. But, I like the line "...that you got buzzed on..." That makes sense now. I thought it was "...you got bust on..." which I think someone else mentioned. All B.S. aside, great song. Shout out to Ty, "Rory rocks, and lives within your heart!" R.I.P. Rory and Phil! Irish ruckahs!Richard - Tustin, Ca
"Thirty Days in the Hole": an AWESOME lament about getting busted for possession of popular and widely used drugs with only less than trivial evidence. Perhaps the best rock song ever?! Here arte my thoughts on the definitions and translations:

"Chicago Green": weed. "RED Lebanese": really fine trippy hash.
"A Dirty room": one full of evidence that can get you busted; especially if you ALSO possess a "silver coke spoon."
"Gimme my release -- come on": What you beg the cops to do after a less than righteous bust for nothing but seeds, crumbs and dust.
"Black Nepalese": Nepalese hash mixed with Opium.
"SOME SEEDS AND DUST that you got buzzed on": pretty trivial evidence.
"Newcastle Brown": now famous, but in the early 70s it was an obscure local brand -- but "brown" and "smack" can also mean heroin.
"Take a greasy whore": a slippery/slick/sneaky/conniving woman with no morals; who'd set you up for a bust when you're not paying attention.
"Durban Poison": a very potent strain of Sativa from South Africa.
"ONLY SEEDS AND DUST that you got buzzed on": STILL pretty trivial evidence.
Bruce - Munnsville, Ny
I saw them on 4/4/71 and, yes, Frampton was definitely there. He was a founding member. Listen to 'Shine On' and you can hear Frampton's voice for yourself. Or, better yet, listen to 'I Don't Need No Doctor' (especially the ending) on 'Rockin the Fillmore', that guitar is signature Frampton.Vernon A Bird - Warner Robins, Ga
"Hello boys I'm here for 30 days"....Not a fun place..Jim - Long Beach, Ca
"seeds and dust, and you got Borstal" Wiki, people. I've got a longtime English mate, who can really translate the whole song, if needs be. But, back in the day, I was singing along and said "busted", and he corrected me. "You got Borstal". Where else would you get 30 days in the hole?John - Los Angeles, Ca
NewCastle Brown..... refers to a type of Herion.... AKA....SmackMark - Waterford, Mi
Durban poison is very potent African marijuanaSteve - Channahon, Il
30 Days In The Hole was covered by GREAT WHITE on their 2007 output "back to the rhythm".Alex - Vienna, Austria
Marriot & Frampton formed the band! Frampton from the Herd & Marriot from the Small Faces!Ed - Pittsburgh, Pa
My 2 cents:
"Red" Lebanese (hash/marijuana);
a dirty "rum" (true drink; I doubt a dirty "room" would give anyone release);
"Seeds and" dust that you got "buzzed" on...you know it's hard to believe [true] (then later: Only seeds and dust...);
Newcastle "Brown"..."smack" you down ("Brown" is slang for "smack," or heroin);
take a "grease-sick" whore (heard better the second time; meaning "money-sick" whore) and a "Rollin" (double meaning: rock and "rollin" and "rollin" as in ecstasy).
It is a killer tune...awesome harmony and a wild, upbeat rhythm.
Todd - Tallahassee, Fl
"Chicago Green"? I suppose it could be pot, but if a guy from England wanted to get high on drugs not used by his hippy fans in Chicago back in the day, he would go to "The Green", Cabrini Green , the north-side high-rise black ghetto. It a was safer back then.Lazur - Chicago, Il
Another drug reference?
"Newcastle Brown, I'm tellin' you, it can sure smack you down"
"Smack" also was another name for Heroin. "Newcastle Brown" probably wasn't a reference to beer.
Tom - Akron, Oh
At first I thought the lyrics were "Its just the sneezin' dust that you got bust on" meaning being arrested for cocaine but after listening to the song like 5,000 times I think it is actually "Its just the seeds and dust that you got bust on ...you know its hard to believe" meaning it was just a bullsh*t charge they they got arrested on. Just seeds and dust...hard to believe the a-hole police would arrest me for that. Just my two cents. The song ROCKS and the bass effing MOVES!John - Los Angeles, United States
UUUUhhh Yes but what about the 30days in the hole. Indianapolis Indiana 30 days in a cell...specifically Speedway Indiana if memory serves.Kevin - Pleasant Hill, Ca
Mariot and Franpton WERE in the band at the same time. They are both on the Rockin' The Filmore album. Franpton quit between the time it was recorded and when it was released. Listening to the album you can tell why Frampton quit: This was The Steve Marriot Band.Gary - Sunrise, Fl
One of todays thoughts

The new Paris Hilton theme song, 30 days in the hole by Humble Pie.
Play it for the baby girl.
Bill - Denver, Co
frampton and marriot WERE in the band at the same time. check early band info.Ray - Palm Bay, Id
Many sites are erroneously quoting the lyrics as "Black Lebanese," and a poster here says that "Chicago Green [is] a certian branch of the marijuana family Red Lebanese." Anyone who was part of the 70's drug culture (to which this song is a paen) knows that Red Lebanese is hash. There was Blond Lebanese as well, but no such thing as "Black Lebanese," to my knowledge. Black Nepalese hash contains opium and is very nice indeed if you can find it. This is a great song that captures the spirit and mood of that time, not that we should regret its passing.Tomi - Orange, Ca
A song of vices from one of the most talented rockers ever... Just listen to 'Tin Soldier'.
There's Marriot and Rodgers then daylight.
Robert - Tweed Valley, Australia
The version of this song on the "Smokin'" LP is different than the UK single. A verse is missing on the LP.Vic - Wheeling, Il
Ah, ok, Frampton quit in 1971.Fintan - Cheltenham, England
Frampton and Marriott were in the band at the same time, they founded it. Frampton quit in 1970 ( I think), Marriott stayed.Fintan - Cheltenham, England
Frampton and Marriott weren't in the band at the same time.Alan - Louisville, Ky
another drug reference is Durban Poison, a potent type of marijuana from S. Africa.Steve - La, Ca
i was told by a reliable source that the following phrases were indicating certian drugs, obviously...

Chicago Green - a certian branch of the marijuana family
Red Lebanese - same as above
Black Napalese - heroin
NewCastle Brown - beer/ale

what i didn't know is just what drugs they meant... it interested me to say the least...

i'm not sure but i think Ted McKenna may have played drums with Humble Pie for a time... he also played with Rory Gallagher and Alex Harvey... but the bassist Greg Ridley came out of Spooky Tooth (another european band who didn't make it to the states) and the original drummer was Jerry Shirley...
Ty - Canal Fulton, Oh
Peter Fampton on guitar, and Steve Marriot from the Small FacesPhil - San Jose, Ca
It was also covered by a southern rock group called Governt Mule.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
The song was covered by Mr. Big on their self-titled first CD.Vincent - Simi , Ca
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