Tox Tunes #45: Alice D. Millionaire (The Grateful Dead)

March 27, 2011, 12:02 pm

Our last “Tox Tunes” post (#44) was Steely Dan’s “Kid Charlemagne“, a song about August Owsley Stanley III, the “underground chemist” who supplied LSD during the 1960s and early 70s to a large part of the musical and countercultural scene on the west coast. This song by The Grateful Dead — from their self-titled first album — is also about Stanley, getting its punning title from a San Francisco Chronicle headline for an article describing his drug bust, calling him an “LSD Millionaire”.

Stanley died two weeks ago in a motor vehicle accident in Australia.

There is a letter in the NY Times this morning from Cory Franklin, former head of the Intensive Care Unit at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. In the letter Dr. Franklin makes the same point about Stanley that TPR made last week:

Without question, Mr. Stanley was a key figure in the Sixties counterculture and played a large role in the music, art and “Summer of Love” ethos associated with LSD. But virtually every obituary of Mr. Stanley has romanticized his legacy. Consider how many bad trips, suicides and ruined lives that legacy was also responsible for.

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