I was introduced to the James Brown single "King Heroin" by my older brother in the 1970's, a decade that saw drug use and abuse reach record proportions. James Brown might not have been the most drug-free musician to sing an anti-drug song, but how he sang it made the message loud and clear to many of that generation;
"Get your mind together and Get Away From Drugs."
Here we are forty-three years since Polydor Records released what would reach number six on the Hot Soul Singles chart; and still many of our young people are getting tripped up and turned out learning too late just why Heroin is King. You don't really need a soulful song to highlight the dangers of Heroin, just find a nodding junkie with vomit-crusted lips after his morning taste and watch, and learn.
Wonder why they call it Smack? Because it simply smacks you senseless to any and everything in your environment. You have no control over body or mind. You are at that moment of impact a zombie, barely able to stand, much less walk. Bodily fluids may seep, thoughts of any kind cease to materialize. Your as far away from family, friends and loved ones as a space shuttle launched into orbit. And your alone with no guarantee of return.
Sure there are bad environments in our world, but escape through drugs is no escape at all; its condemning yourself to one of the worse hell's on earth. You lose everything. And the sadness of it all is that those addicts who overdose and don't wake up are considered by some to be the lucky ones. To hear fellow addicts tell it, they're somewhere making love, enjoying the sea breeze. In reality they're just dead!
Lyrics to King Heroin
Ladies and Gentlemen
This is James Brown
I wanna talk to you about one of our
Killers in the country today
I had a dream the other night, and I
Was sittin' in my living room
Dozed off to sleep
So I start to dreamin'
I dreamed I walked in a place and
I saw a real strange, weird object
Standin' up talkin' to the people
And I found out it was Heroin
That deadly drug that go in your veins
I came to this country without a passport
Ever since then I've been hunted and sought
My little white grains are nothin' but waste
Soft and deadly and bitter to taste
I'm a world of power and all know it's true
Use me once and you'll know it, too
I can make a mere schoolboy forget his books
I can make a world-famous beauty neglect her looks
I can make a good man forsake his wife
Send a greedy man to prison for the rest of his life
I can make a man forsake his country and flag
Make a girl sell her body for a five-dollar bag
Some think my adventure's a joy and a thrill
But I'll put a gun in your hand and make you kill
In cellophane bags I've found my way
To heads of state and children at play
I'm financed in China, ran in Japan
I'm respected in Turkey and I'm legal in Siam
I take my addicts and make 'em steal, borrow, beg
Then they search for a vein in their arm or their leg
So, be you Italian, Jewish, Black or Mex
I can make the most virile of men forget their sex
So now, no, my man, you must (you know) do your best
To keep up your habit until your arrest
Now the police have taken you from under my wing
Do you think they dare defy me, I who am king'
Now, you must lie in that county jail
Where I can't get to you by visit or mail
So squirm -- with discomfort -- wiggle and cough (hack!)
Six days of madness, hah! You might throw me off
Curse me in name! Defy me in speech!
But you'd pick me up right no if I were in your reach
All through your sentence you've become resolved to your fate
Hear now! younng man and woman, I'll be waitin' at the gate
Don't be afraid, don't run! I'm not chased
Sure my name is Heroin! You'll be back for a taste
Behold, you're hooked!
Your foot is in the stirrup
And make -- haste!
Mount the steed!
And ride him well
For the white horse of heroin
Will ride you to Hell!
Will ride you to Hell!
Until you are dead!
Dead, brother! Dead!
This is a revolution of the mind
Get your mind together
And get away from drugs!
That's the man!