The Pot Smoker's Song

Album: Velvet Gloves and Spit (1968)


  • Possibly Diamond's most bizarre song, this is an early anti-drug song, but it's set to a catchy, uptempo melody. Audio from genuine drug addicts appears throughout the song, as they tell their horror stories ("I used to shoot acid in my spine"). The addicts came from the Phoenix House in New York City. Most of them were actually heroin addicts, but Neil Diamond singing about heroin would have been even more disturbing.
  • Diamond spoke with David Wild, who covered him for Rolling Stone, about this song. Said Diamond: "Part of me is rebellious. And part of me will do something like that just to say, 'Hey, f--k you.' That's all it is. Fortunately, that side of me doesn't come out too often. It also confirmed a lot of people's feelings that I wasn't hip."
  • In 1976, cops raided Diamond's house and found less than an ounce of marijuana. The arrest was struck from his record when he agreed to attend a drug aversion program.

Comments: 2

  • Kiyup2 from Sw FlHaha I remember my mom listening to this on her big console stereo. I couldn’t have been more than 3-4, as it was before we moved out of the house she shared with my Dad. My mom was a huge Neil Diamond fan, having attended the same performing arts school as him and Barbra Streisand- Erasmus Hall Performing Arts School in Brooklyn, but mom was in the theatre program
  • David from Youngstown, OhThe Velvet Glove and Spit album, Neil's first on the Uni Record label, is one of his best and definitely his most underrated. Commercially it was a flop and a disappointment to the label because Neil had several hits - Cherry, Cherry; Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon, Thank the Lord for the Night Time - before the signing. The album includes several great songs such as Two-Bit Manchild, Brooklyn Roads and Shilo. The Pot Smoker's Song is not one of them. It's one of Neil's worst. The chorus, sung by Neil and some background female singers, is catchy, but this isn't a song you enjoy when you hear it.
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