Tox Tunes #95: Dead Flowers (Townes Van Zandt)

May 31, 2015, 11:09 pm

The Rolling Stones’ original version of “Dead Flowers” was on their 1971 Sticky Fingers album, along with a number of other songs definitely or possibly about drugs, including “Brown Sugar,” “Moonlight Mile,” and “Sister Morphine.”

The song was written in the late 1960s, when Keith Richards was hanging out with the country-rock musician Gram Parsons. Although fans debate whether or not the term “dead flowers” refers to poppies, the other reference to heroin is unmistakable:

I’ll be in my basement room
With a needle and a spoon

I much prefer Townes Van Zandt’s version of the song, since Mick Jagger never seemed to take country music seriously, and on Sticky Fingers sings with what Bill Janovitz calls a “fake-hick accent.” Townes Van Zandt, on the other hand, is the real thing.

Related post:

Tox Tunes #43: Cocaine Blues (Townes Van Zandt)

Tox Tunes #2: Sister Morphine (Marianne Faithfull)




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