While technically the entire month of April this year is 4/20, today marks the actual day that weed enthusiasts worldwide have come to claim as their own, with observances lighting up around the globe. Willie Nelson will host his “Come and Toke It” variety show at 4:20 p.m. CT, featuring names like Matthew McConaughey, Jeff Bridges, and Kacey Musgraves, whose Golden Hour album is a prime get-high soundtrack.
But we also endorse the works of Shel Silverstein, the children’s author and Playboy cartoonist whose “I Got Stoned and I Missed It” was a staple of Seventies country-rock band Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. The tale of a poor sap who suffers a series of weed-enhanced humiliations, including missing the chance to pick up free money on a street corner and having no memory of an anticipated sexual encounter with a “local virgin,” “I Got Stoned and I Missed It ” appeared on Dr. Hook’s 1975 album Bankrupt.
Tyler Childers has also been covering the song and, in 2018, delivered an exhilarating version onstage at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina, further burnishing his status as one of country music’s most engaging live performers. Still, even Childers would be hard-pressed to match the plain old weirdness of Dr. Hook’s live BBC rendition.
In 1980, Dr. Hook performed “I Got Stoned and I Missed It” on the BBC (which had previously banned airplay of their most famous hit, Silverstein’s “The Cover of the Rolling Stone,” because it mentioned a commercial product), in a truly bizarre segment introduced by the band’s eye-patch-wearing Ray Sawyer and featuring keyboard player Billy Francis singing lead.
During an extended instrumental break, Francis has his shirt removed by Sawyer and begins gyrating like a possessed Chippendales dancer. Sawyer eventually enlists the audience’s participation in a bit that has them intermittently jumping up from their seats and pounding their fists in the air. It may be the best anti-drug PSA ever made.