Let's Go Get Stoned

Album: His Greatest Hits (1966)
Charted: 31
Play Video


  • This song was written by the songwriting team of Jo Armstead, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. Recording as Valerie & Nick, Ashford and Simpson's biggest chart success was "I'll Find You," which hit #117 in 1964. Turning their focus to writing for other artists, they joined Scepter/Wand Records as staff songwriters, and had minor hits for Doris Troy ("Please Little Angel") and Maxine Brown ("One Step At A Time" - written with Armstead) before scoring their first Top-40 when Ray Charles recorded their song "Let's Go Get Stoned."

    After a fruitless day of writing, Ashford declared, "Let's go get stoned," meaning, "Let's go get a drink." The next day, they wrote a song based on that title, and it was recorded by both Ray Charles and The Coasters.

    Ray's version was the hit, going to #1 on the R&B charts and giving a huge boost to Ashford and Simpson, who would go on to write "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" and "I'm Every Woman."
  • Most listeners assumed that this song was about drugs, and with good reason: Ray Charles went to rehab in 1965 after 16 years of addiction. The song was really about drinking alcohol. There were several hits of the '60s and '70s that assigned alternate meanings to "stoned."
  • This song's writers Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson had a hard time getting an audience with Berry Gordy at Motown Records, since after hearing this song, he didn't think their material would be classy enough for his acts. Ashford and Simpson won him over with "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," which became a hit duet for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
  • This just had to be part of Woodstock, didn't it? Joe Cocker made it so, singing it as part of his set to open Day 3 of the festival.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 22nd 1966, "Let's Go Get Stoned" by Ray Charles entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #83; seven weeks later on July 10th, 1966 it would peaked at #31 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 9 weeks...
    And on July 17th, 1966 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart; the four weeks before it made #1 the record in the top spot was "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" by the Temptations, and the record that was #1 for 4 weeks after, once again "Ain't Too Proud to Beg"...
    During the calendar year of 1966 Mr. Charles had six songs on the Top 100 chart; the five other records were "Together Again" [#19}, "You're Just About to Lose Your Clown" {#91}, "I Chose to Sing the Blues" [#32}, "Please Say You're Fooling" [#64}, and "I Don't Need No Doctor" {#72}.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Paul Stanley of Kiss, Soul Station

Paul Stanley of Kiss, Soul StationSongwriter Interviews

Paul Stanley on his soul music project, the Kiss songs with the biggest soul influence, and the non-make-up era of the band.

Carol Kaye

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"

Susanna Hoffs - "Eternal Flame"They're Playing My Song

The Prince-penned "Manic Monday" was the first song The Bangles heard coming from a car radio, but "Eternal Flame" is closest to Susanna's heart, perhaps because she sang it in "various states of undress."

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Barry Dean ("Pontoon," "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools")

Barry Dean ("Pontoon," "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools")Songwriter Interviews

A top country songwriter, Barry talks about writing hits for Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean.

Women Who Rock

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.