Top 10 (or 20) Recovery Songs

By Dirk Hanson 05/13/11

From the Hold Steady to the Rolling Stones to Nine Inch Nails: best all-time recovery songs.

Listen and cry. Or cheer.
Photo via holitnariverlodge

Like John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity, our recovery friend over at the Stark Raving Sober blog has dug deep into the well of musical listmaking to offer up a Top 10 of Recovery Songs. We believe the list would have made Rob, the character Cusack played in the movie, pleased as punch.

Just because it's Friday, here’s the list, with links to video (commentary by StarkRaving Sober):

1.   This is by no means the best video, but it is one of the best recovery tunes: "How a Resurrection Really Feels" by The Hold Steady.
2.   "When I Was Drinking" by Hem is a pretty, folksy little ditty.
3.   Don't know if the Beastie Boys are in recovery, but I love their take on "Gratitude."
4.   "Come Away From It" by Ani DiFranco is a powerful song.
5.   "Ball and Chain" by Social Distortion: a classic.
6.   Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians surprisingly upbeat take on a serious subject:"Little Miss S."
7.   This is a great recording of Van Morrison performing "Don't Go to Nightclubs Anymore."
8.   Again, don't know if Pink is in recovery, but it sounds like she might know a thing or two about wanting to be "Sober."
9.   Frank Turner's beautiful and melancholy "The Next Round."
10.  And, of course, the "No No Song" by Ringo Starr.

A fine list, Stark Raving Sober. It inspired us to append a few of our own:

11. Eminem—"Not Afraid." Razor-sharp metaphors with polished pop sensibility, says iTunes.
12. Drive-By Truckers—"You and Your Crystal Meth." No metaphors here.
13. Lynyrd Skynyrd—“That Smell.” They warned you.
14. Rolling Stones—“Sister Morphine.” Spooky.
15. J.J. Cale—“Cocaine.” Eric Clapton covered this one for a reason.
16. Neil Young—“Needle and the Damage Done.” Every junkie's like a settin' sun.
17. Red Hot Chili Peppers—“Under the Bridge.” Sobriety can sometimes seem like a lonely business.
18. Velvet Underground—“Heroin.” This one became a legendary, if ambiguous, ode to the needle. We’re betraying our age here for sure. Tough.
19. Nine Inch Nails—“Hurt.” Plus the great version by Johnny Cash.
20.  Add your own in the comments below.

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dirk hanson.jpg

Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]