Talk to Your Doctor about These Vintage Pharmaceutical Ads

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Disclaimer: The following article contains vintage medical advice that has been proven bunk by posterity as well as depict drugs that have since been seen as illegal or unavailable due to the damage they did or still do to people. Besides, it doesn’t help that a lot of these vintage ads are based on dubious medical claims thanks to the lack of oversight on medicine at the time. If you’re here for actual medical tips to solve your medical problems, this is not the site for you. Thank you.

Unless you live under a rock, you might notice that Pharma ads are everywhere whether you watch TV, go on the Internet, or open a magazine. After all, medicine is a stable of healthcare to treat various ailments whether they be through a doctor’s prescription or over the counter. You might see listings for various side effects that might scare you. But at least you have the FDA requiring drug companies to address them as well as go through a long testing process to see if the drug is safe and lives up to its claims. Still, remember that medicines aren’t miracle cures for what you’re suffering. And it’s been known in the world of pharmaceuticals that one person’s life saver can be another person’s poison. However, back in the good ol’ days, you didn’t have an agency like the FDA, clinical trials, or other stuff like that to see that the drugs on the market won’t kill you. Sure it might lead to a lot of drugs on the market that might help people, but more often than not, it created an ideal environment for your local snake oil salesman along with so many other substances marketed as pharmaceuticals under dubious medical claims. And many of these drugs led to all kinds of harm such as addiction and/or death. Not that drugs were less harmful once the US had the FDA back then. Because a lot of drugs that you might have sold over the counter in the early 1900s have become the illegal street drugs that have caused a menace to society, with the possible exception of marijuana. So for your reading pleasure, here I give you a treasury of vintage pharma ads from the not so good old days of medicine.

 

  1. For dysepsia and blood, take some Quaker Bitters.
Why is that girl in a barrel? Seriously, that's just crazy for God's sake.

Why is that girl in a barrel? Seriously, that’s just crazy for God’s sake.

2. For upset stomach, take some 7 Up Lithiated Soda.

Yes, soft drinks were once used as medicines before they became regular beverage. And yes, the original 7 Up did contain lithium which is today used to treat manic depression.

Yes, soft drinks were once used as medicines before they became regular beverage. And yes, the original 7 Up did contain lithium which is today used to treat manic depression.

3. To relieve all kinds of pain, you might want to try some St. Jacobs Oil.

According to the Center for Inquiry, it's said to contain chloroform, turpentine, camphor, ether, alcohol, Carbolic acid, capsicum, and aconite. Aconite, by the way is a deadly poison from the Monk's Hood flower that's also known as Wolfsbane and Jacob's Chariot.

According to the Center for Inquiry, it’s said to contain chloroform, turpentine, camphor, ether, alcohol, Carbolic acid, capsicum, and aconite. Aconite, by the way is a deadly poison from the Monk’s Hood flower that’s also known as Wolfsbane and Jacob’s Chariot.

4. Cigares de Joy are said to bring immediate relief for all kinds of respiratory problems.

In 1875, these were ‘very useful little agents for inhaling the smoke of stramonium.’ A common remedy for asthma, Datura stramonium is a hallucinogenic. Also, smoking is very bad for your lungs.

In 1875, these were ‘very useful little agents for inhaling the smoke of stramonium.’ A common remedy for asthma, Datura stramonium is a hallucinogenic. Also, smoking is very bad for your lungs.

5. Got menstrual problems, try some Ergoapiol.

Sold in the early 1900s, this drug contains the ergot fungus and Apiol. One can reduce blood flow that gangrene sets in as well as cause hallucinations. The other can damage your liver and kidneys.

Sold in the early 1900s, this drug contains the ergot fungus and Apiol. One can reduce blood flow that gangrene sets in as well as cause hallucinations. The other can damage your liver and kidneys.

6. “Midol helps me forget my time of the month wherever I am.”

Except in the bathroom. Or when you have change your pad or tampon at regular intervals. Or when you find blood stains on your underwear. Seriously, this isn't an accurate representation of a woman during her "time of the month."

Except in the bathroom. Or when you have change your pad or tampon at regular intervals. Or when you find blood stains on your underwear. Seriously, this isn’t an accurate representation of a woman during her “time of the month.”

7. Whether it’s menstruation or men, always count on Midol.

If your guy is your No. 1 reason for Midol, ladies, you might want to reevaluate your relationship. Because Midol is mainly used for menstrual cramps.

If your guy is your No. 1 reason for Midol, ladies, you might want to reevaluate your relationship. Because Midol is mainly used for menstrual cramps.

8. For obese and cranky patients, give them Ambar.

For one, these people don't seem "obese" in the modern sense of the term. More like overweight. Also, this ad really gets obesity wrong. Yes, stress and overeating may be factors. But so are genetics, not having time to exercise, and unhealthy food choices.

For one, these people don’t seem “obese” in the modern sense of the term. More like overweight. Also, this ad really gets obesity wrong. Yes, stress and overeating may be factors. But so are genetics, not having time to exercise, and unhealthy food choices.

9. For relief from coughs, try Heroin-Hydrochloride from Bayer.

On second thought, don't or you'll get instantly addicted for a certain period of time before dying of an overdose. There's a reason why the US is suffering a terrible heroin problem of epidemic proportions. Thanks for fucking up everything, Bayer.

On second thought, don’t or you’ll get instantly addicted for a certain period of time before dying from an overdose if you don’t seek treatment. There’s a reason why the US is suffering a terrible heroin problem of epidemic proportions. Thanks for fucking up everything, Bayer.

10. Is housework making your life a prison, take some Serax.

Sorry, but I don't think medication will solve this woman's problem. Maybe having her husband pick up the slack would. Or hiring a maid.

Sorry, but I don’t think medication will solve this woman’s problem. Maybe having her husband pick up the slack would. Or hiring a maid.

11. Hamlin’s Wizard Oil will cure your rheumatism.

Contains 50-70% alcohol along with camphor, ammonia, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine. In other words, it's a quack medicine but it was quite popular.

Contains 50-70% alcohol along with camphor, ammonia, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine. In other words, it’s a quack medicine but it was quite popular.

12. Hall’s Wine brings the bloom of perfect health.

Tonic wines were also common at the time. This one was known to contain cocaine. However, initial criticism of this drug had nothing to do with the infamous white substance.

Tonic wines were also common at the time. This one was known to contain cocaine. However, initial criticism of this drug had nothing to do with the infamous white substance. Also, I don’t think that woman is smiling.

13. For hay fever and other woes, try Allen’s Cocaine tablets.

Side effects may include seriously disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, psychotic delusions and hallucinations, and severe depression upon withdrawal. Also addiction and death. So if you're smart, walk it off.

Side effects may include seriously disrupted eating and sleeping patterns, psychotic delusions and hallucinations, and severe depression upon withdrawal. Also addiction and death. So if you’re smart, walk it off.

14. Enjoy relief with the great taste of Coca Cola.

Yes, this was seen as a medicine, too. But initially contained cocaine in its early years. Not kidding on that one.

Yes, this was seen as a medicine, too. But initially contained cocaine in its early years. Not kidding on that one.

15. Dr. Hart’s Pain Conqueror relieves all pains.

I'm sure this is ineffective as medicine. But, man, those little gnomes in this ad are so creepy. Possible cocaine hallucination? Maybe.

I’m sure this is ineffective as medicine. But, man, those little gnomes in this ad are so creepy. Possible cocaine hallucination? Maybe.

16. With Midol, Sally’s gay.

I know what they're trying to get at here. And no, ladies, Midol does not turn women into lesbians unlike how some might interpret it.

I know what they’re trying to get at here. And no, ladies, Midol does not turn women into lesbians unlike how some might interpret it.

17. Tyrant in the house? Calm him down with Thorazine.

Thorozine: the drug for when your angry old folks get out of hand. Also posted another one similar to this last year, by the way.

Thorozine: the drug for when your angry old folks get out of hand. Also posted another one similar to this last year, by the way.

18. For the ills of life, take some Peruna tonic.

So what if it's a Prohibition era medicine that just happens to contain 18% alcohol? It was apparently popular at the time.

So what if it’s a Prohibition era medicine that just happens to contain 18% alcohol? It was apparently popular at the time.

19. For women’s minor ills, take Dr. Caldwell’s Syrup Pepsin, the Family Laxative.

Because if a woman is cranky all day, she's probably constipated. After all, women must be angry all the time due to irregular bowel movements. What a load of sexist bullshit.

Because if a woman is cranky all day, she’s probably constipated. After all, women must be angry all the time due to irregular bowel movements. What a load of sexist bullshit.

20. For pain relief, take a dose of Methadone.

Methadone is an opioid that's used to detoxify people from heroin addiction. However, while it may not be as bad, it's said to contribute to 26% of opioid related deaths. So it can be a very harmful drug in its own right.

Methadone is an opioid that’s used to detoxify people from heroin addiction. However, while it may not be as bad, it’s said to contribute to 26% of opioid related deaths. So it can be a very harmful drug in its own right.

21. Depressed? Try Methadrine.

Contains methamphetamine. You know, the kind of drug that prematurely ages you and rots your teeth. Or what Walter White made in Breaking Bad. Yes, that drug.

Contains methamphetamine. You know, the kind of drug that prematurely ages you and rots your teeth. Or what Walter White made in Breaking Bad. Yes, that drug.

22. For over stressed housewives, try some Meprospan 400.

It's a tranquilizer. You know something we use to treat people with psychological problems. Not something for ordinary housewives.

It’s a tranquilizer. You know something we use to treat people with psychological problems. Not something for ordinary housewives.

23. For anxious kids, Nembutal is guaranteed to give relief.

From: Best Medical Degrees: "Although pentobarbital is an FDA-approved sedative and is used to treat seizures and insomnia, it would seem dangerous to utilize it to treat nervous children (by inserting it as a suppository). Not only can pentobarbital impede thinking and slow reactions, it can also be addictive, while overdoses may be fatal." Also, that kid is as creepy as hell.

From: Best Medical Degrees: “Although pentobarbital is an FDA-approved sedative and is used to treat seizures and insomnia, it would seem dangerous to utilize it to treat nervous children (by inserting it as a suppository). Not only can pentobarbital impede thinking and slow reactions, it can also be addictive, while overdoses may be fatal.” Also, that kid is as creepy as hell.

24. Brown’s Household Panacea is a great pain reliever.

Why the hell is that guy holding a stove? He can get himself burned that way.

Why the hell is that guy holding a burning stove? He can get himself burned that way, especially if he’s holding it with his bare hands.

25. Have stuffy noses, ladies, take Mentholatum.

Because being pleasing to men is more important than tending to your own stuffy nose. Hey, we may not like sniffly noses, but this ad is just inherently sexist.

Because being pleasing to men is more important than tending to your own stuffy nose. Hey, we may not like sniffly noses, but this ad is just inherently sexist.

26. Stay fit and slim with Amphetamine.

While Ampetamine is a controlled substance today, this ad promotes it as a weight loss drug which is very harmful. Also, diet pills are terrible for you as well and should never be taken.

While Ampetamine is a controlled substance today, this ad promotes it as a weight loss drug which is very harmful. Also, diet pills are terrible for you as well and should never be taken.

27. Karswood Creosote is the greatest cure on earth.

What the fuck? Creosote is a substance people call sweeps to get rid of in their chimneys. It's a toxic carcinogenic substance. Yet, here it's being promoted as medicine?

What the fuck? Creosote is a substance people call sweeps to get rid of in their chimneys. It’s a toxic carcinogenic substance. Yet, here it’s being promoted as medicine?

28. Settle down the kids with some of Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup.

From Best Medical Degrees: "In 1849, Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow launched her Soothing Syrup in Maine. The cocktail, which combined ingredients such as sodium carbonate and aqua ammonia, may have been relatively harmless – except for one point: it contained 65mg of morphine per fluid ounce. The syrup was advertised as providing relief for children who were teething, and one mother wrote to The New York Times claiming its effect on her son was “like magic; he soon went to sleep, and all pain and nervousness disappeared.” Unfortunately, children ran the risk of being put to sleep permanently as a result of morphine overdose. The American Medical Association denounced the syrup as a “baby killer” in 1911, although it remained on the market in the UK until 1930."

From Best Medical Degrees: “In 1849, Mrs. Charlotte N. Winslow launched her Soothing Syrup in Maine. The cocktail, which combined ingredients such as sodium carbonate and aqua ammonia, may have been relatively harmless – except for one point: it contained 65mg of morphine per fluid ounce. The syrup was advertised as providing relief for children who were teething, and one mother wrote to The New York Times claiming its effect on her son was “like magic; he soon went to sleep, and all pain and nervousness disappeared.” Unfortunately, children ran the risk of being put to sleep permanently as a result of morphine overdose.”

29. For every day stress, ladies, take Butisol.

The kind of happy pills that make you enjoy being tied up by your daughter playing Indian. Yeah, that's kind of freaky.

The kind of happy pills that make you enjoy being tied up by your daughter playing Indian. Yeah, that’s kind of freaky.

30. Daughter being a brat? Give her Castoria.

Because if your kid is acting up, then it must be because she's constipated. I think real moms in the 1950s knew better than that.

Because if your kid is acting up, then it must be because she’s constipated. I think real moms in the 1950s knew better than that.

31. Aggressive elders? Loxapac should do the trick.

Great for helping old folks with cactus head according to this ad. Yes, he's become a bit prickly lately.

Great for helping old folks with cactus head according to this ad. Yes, he’s become a bit prickly lately.

32. For cold and flu, take some Coriforte.

This ad from South Africa may seem harmless enough. But one this drug's ingredients is none other than methamphetamine. Yeah, probably something you should avoid.

This ad from South Africa may seem harmless enough. But one this drug’s ingredients is none other than methamphetamine. Yeah, probably something you should avoid.

33. To relieve coughs, try some Cosadein.

Contains codeine, marijuana, and chloroform. Talk about a real drug cocktail here.

Contains codeine, marijuana, and chloroform. Talk about a real drug cocktail here.

34. Ambition Pills, the drug for weak and nervous men.

This 19th century supplement was promoted to build strength, ambition, as well as combat ailments. However, each box was later found to contain enough strychnine to kill an adult. Because strychnine is a known toxic pesticide.

This 19th century supplement was promoted to build strength, ambition, as well as combat ailments. However, each box was later found to contain enough strychnine to kill an adult. Because strychnine is a known toxic pesticide.

35. Men, does your wife have “nerves,” give her Nervine.

Contains bromide which can lead to side effects like alteration in central nervous system functioning with headache, irritability, fatigue, slurred speech, ataxia, emotional instability, tremor and hallucinations. According to a report from 1997 no less.

Contains bromide which can lead to side effects like alteration in central nervous system functioning with headache, irritability, fatigue, slurred speech, ataxia, emotional instability, tremor and hallucinations. According to a report from 1997 no less.

36. Mebaral is great for the guy who overreacts to everything.

However, I want to know why they'd use an image of a guy about to jump off a building. Because that looks pretty scary. And I think that guy might need an undertaker at this point.

However, I want to know why they’d use an image of a guy about to jump off a building. Because that looks pretty scary. And I think that guy might need an undertaker at this point.

37. As Eli Lily said, Ampedroxyn is great for all kinds of problems like obesity, depression, and narcolepsy.

Uh, let's not kid ourselves, Eli Lily has an ad promoting methamphetamine. You know, meth. It might help you lose weight and overcome problems with sleep and depression, but it will make you look ugly.

Uh, let’s not kid ourselves, Eli Lily has an ad promoting methamphetamine. You know, meth. It might help you lose weight and overcome problems with sleep and depression, but it will make you look ugly.

38. Have peace of mind with Serenace.

This is one from Japan. It depicts a naked woman rising out of the water inside a hand. I don't understand what that's supposed to mean.

This is one from Japan. It depicts a naked woman rising out of the water inside a hand. I don’t understand what that’s supposed to mean.

39. Calm the storm in your life with Rivotril.

So what's with the naked woman holding the umbrella in a storm? I don't get this at all.

So what’s with the naked girl holding the umbrella in a storm? I don’t get this at all.

40. Relieve your worries with Serenace.

This picture might do well as a work of Surrealist art. But in a Pharma ad, this is just plain weird.

This picture might do well as a work of Surrealist art. But in a Pharma ad, this is just plain weird.

41. Got rough seas ahead, take Deliton.

Unfortunately, Deliton can't cure shell-head. But it can make you feel better with shell-head.

Unfortunately, Deliton can’t cure shell-head. But it can make you feel better with shell-head.

42. Sernace is great for coping with life’s biggest worries.

Like when you're about to get picked up in the desert by a giant bird of prey for dinner. Yeah, it's for problems like that.

Like when you’re about to get picked up in the desert by a giant bird of prey for dinner. Yeah, it’s for problems like that.

43. Restore them to their senses with Thorazine.

But is having a duck tank in this ad really necessary? And there's a guy who fell in the the water. Poor thing.

But is having a dunk tank in this ad really necessary? And there’s a guy who fell in the the water. Poor thing.

44. Baby can’t sleep? How about some Laudanum?

Laudanum is opium by the way and it was used to treat various ailments from the late 1600s to the 19th century. Can cause addiction, constipation, respiratory distress, and pupil constriction. Yeah, screw Junior up for life.

Laudanum is opium by the way and it was used to treat various ailments from the late 1600s to the 19th century. Can cause addiction, constipation, respiratory distress, and pupil constriction. Yeah, screw Junior up for life.

45. Divorced? Depressed? You might have ADHD.

This ad really doesn't show ADHD in a great light. Besides, there are a lot of divorced and depressed people who don't have ADHD. But this is a drug ad so they don't give a shit.

This ad really doesn’t show ADHD in a great light. Besides, there are a lot of divorced and depressed people who don’t have ADHD. But this is a drug ad so they don’t give a shit.

46. Feel like a battered parent? Miltown may be the answer.

It's particularly effective when you're having to care for giant children. As if normal sized children aren't a handful to deal with already.

It’s particularly effective when you’re having to care for giant children. As if normal sized children aren’t a handful to deal with already.

47. To be the person within, take Invega.

Is she getting out of her skin? Okay, that's really disgusting. And freaky. Really freaky.

Is she getting out of her skin? Okay, that’s really disgusting. And freaky. Really freaky.

48. Stuck in the woods with the head of a jackass? Take Cipramil.

I don't think Shakespeare's Bottom showed any signs of anxiety when he was with Titania. If ever, he seemed to take everything in stride and he perfectly fine the next morning. Someone's got their Shakespeare screwed up.

I don’t think Shakespeare’s Bottom showed any signs of anxiety when he was with Titania. If ever, he seemed to take everything in stride and he was perfectly fine by the next morning. Someone’s got their Shakespeare screwed up.

49. For coughs, try Kimball’s White Pine and Tar Cough Syrup.

Contains chloroform, which according to Best Medical Degrees: "But despite the drug being hailed as a good substitute for ether, cases emerged of chloroform causing fatal cardiac or respiratory arrest. Multiple patients died after breathing it in, prompting doctors to revert back to using ether. In spite of this, however, chloroform was still used in mouthwashes and ointments. Eventually, in 1976, the Federal Drug Administration prohibited the use of chloroform for human consumption after the substance was found to cause cancer in lab animals."

Contains chloroform, which according to Best Medical Degrees: “But despite the drug being hailed as a good substitute for ether, cases emerged of chloroform causing fatal cardiac or respiratory arrest. Multiple patients died after breathing it in, prompting doctors to revert back to using ether. In spite of this, however, chloroform was still used in mouthwashes and ointments. Eventually, in 1976, the Federal Drug Administration prohibited the use of chloroform for human consumption after the substance was found to cause cancer in lab animals.”

50. For morning sickness, take Morninide because his need for breakfast doesn’t suffice with your pregnancy.

This was a drug used to treat morning sickness which was later pulled by the FDA for causing low blood pressure and liver damage. But at least her husband got his breakfast (asshole).

This was a drug used to treat morning sickness which was later pulled by the FDA for causing low blood pressure and liver damage. But at least her husband got his breakfast (asshole).

51. Baby not feeling good, Mrs. Winslow’s should help.

That should knock the kiddie out for awhile. Perhaps permanently if you give the tyke too much.

That should knock the kiddie out for awhile. Perhaps permanently if you give the tyke too much.

52. For depression relief try Norodin.

Otherwise known by the more familiar term, "meth." From Best Medical Degrees: "The advertisement above claimed that Norodin was “useful in dispelling the shadows of mild mental depression” and that it has “relatively few side effects.” Never mind the fact that it can result in various alarming physiological effects, including anorexia, tooth grinding, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. It is also extremely addictive and is one of the hardest dependencies to overcome."

Otherwise known by the more familiar term, “meth.” From Best Medical Degrees: “The advertisement above claimed that Norodin was “useful in dispelling the shadows of mild mental depression” and that it has “relatively few side effects.” Never mind the fact that it can result in various alarming physiological effects, including anorexia, tooth grinding, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. It is also extremely addictive and is one of the hardest dependencies to overcome.”

53. Wolcott’s Instant Pain Annihilator gives you instant relief.

I'm sure this is bound to have the same medicinal properties as snake oil. But the artwork advertising is pretty badass.

I’m sure this is bound to have the same medicinal properties as snake oil. But the artwork advertising is pretty badass.

54. Daley’s Magical Pain Extractor can let you handle anything.

Because how else was Molly Pitcher able to man her husband's cannon at the Battle of Monmouth? Because she had to be under a lot of stress at the time.

Because how else was Molly Pitcher able to man her husband’s cannon at the Battle of Monmouth? Because she had to be under a lot of stress at the time.

55. Quaaludes always give you a good night sleep and a sunny morning.

Quaaludes: the drugs that people got high on in The Wolf of Wall Street. Also used as Bill Cosby's rape drug of choice during the 1970s. Oh, and it was said Elvis was on them, too.

Quaaludes: the drugs that people got high on in The Wolf of Wall Street. Also used as Bill Cosby’s rape drug of choice during the 1970s. Oh, and it was said Elvis was on them, too.

56. Hear voices? Seroquel can help.

Because whenever you see talking mouths in the bushes, you might have a problem. Unless you're not taking the brown acid already.

Because whenever you see talking mouths in the bushes, you might have a problem. Unless you’re not taking the brown acid already.

57. Clamps got you down? Urodonal may be the answer.

Because those clamps shouldn't be weighing you down. Seems like this guy is being tortured for some reason.

Because those clamps shouldn’t be weighing you down. Seems like this guy is being tortured for some reason.

58. Aspironal is better than whiskey for colds and flu.

You mean they were using whiskey for colds and flu? Said to contain 10% alcohol and suitable for children. According to this, that is.

You mean they were using whiskey for colds and flu? Said to contain 10% alcohol and suitable for children. According to this, that is.

59. Broncil is known as a safeguard for children’s health.

And thanks to Broncil, you can make your kid shovel snow in your driveway all you want. Even when your kid is complaining because the other children are having fun sledding and building snow forts.

And thanks to Broncil, you can make your kid shovel snow in your driveway all you want. Even when your kid is complaining because the other children are having fun sledding and building snow forts.

60. Zeldox is a great drug to treat schizophrenia.

And if was available during Vincent Van Gogh's time, then he wouldn't have cut his ear off. Seriously, this is kind of messed up.

And if was available during Vincent Van Gogh’s time, then he wouldn’t have cut his ear off. Seriously, this is kind of messed up.

61. Risperdal Range always helps deter relapses.

And I'm not sure what mythological creature this is supposed to be. Seems like it's half-human and half-dog from what I can tell by the legs. Yes, this is freaky.

And I’m not sure what mythological creature this is supposed to be. Seems like it’s half-human and half-dog from what I can tell by the legs. Yes, this is freaky.

62. For nervousness, try Dr. Carter’s Little Nerve Pills.

Caption: "Advertisement for Carter's Little Nerve Pills depicting a very young child sitting on the ground looking up at a standing, talking frog." Since when should anyone take such advice from a talking frog? That's not right.

Caption: “Advertisement for Carter’s Little Nerve Pills depicting a very young child sitting on the ground looking up at a standing, talking frog.” Since when should anyone take such advice from a talking frog? That’s not right.

63. For pain relief, try Pantafon Opium that’s straight from the poppy.

You know how addictive opiates are and the problems they cause in our society? Give this drug a pass. Seriously, avoid it like the plague.

You know how addictive opiates are and the problems they cause in our society? Give this drug a pass. Seriously, avoid it like the plague.

64. Thomas Edison always finds relief in Mariani wine.

By the way, Mariani wine contains cocaine. Edison endorsed it because it helped him stay awake longer to work on his inventions. Wonder why.

By the way, Mariani wine contains cocaine. Edison endorsed it because it helped him stay awake longer to work on his inventions. Wonder why.

65. Papine Battle & Co. prepares the safest and most pleasant opium.

Sorry, guys, but that's not really saying much given that opium is highly addictive. Then again, that might've helped their business.

Sorry, guys, but that’s not really saying much given that opium is highly addictive. Then again, that might’ve helped their business.

66. Cannabis Americana has been recommended by clinicians everywhere.

You might know this as marijuana. Though I'm confident of its medicinal properties, I'm sure some patients would prefer smoking it instead of taking it from a bottle.

You might know this as marijuana. Though I’m confident of its medicinal properties, I’m sure some patients would prefer smoking it instead of taking it from a bottle.

67. For new moms and babies, try Anhauser-Busch’s Malt Nutrine.

Because only in the Gilded Age could you sell such beer as a health tonic to nursing mothers. Yes, you got that right.

Because only in the Gilded Age could you sell such beer as a health tonic to nursing mothers. Yes, you got that right.

68. Thorazine always helps control agitation.

Because in domestic abuse situations, how else are you going to calm him if you can't get him institutionalized or obtain a restraining order? Seriously, this could almost look like domestic abuse here.

Because in domestic abuse situations, how else are you going to calm him if you can’t get him institutionalized or obtain a restraining order? Seriously, this could almost look like domestic abuse here.

69. For more pep try some cocaine pills.

Now this old man seems terrifying and bound to give anyone nightmares. Wouldn't want to see this guy on cocaine at any rate.

Now this old man seems terrifying and bound to give anyone nightmares. Wouldn’t want to see this guy on cocaine at any rate.

70. Got a headache and emotional fatigue? Try Anacin.

Yes, housewives, take Anacin because they relief that's acceptable for you is drugs. Never mind if the guy in the corner is your husband and the woman he's with is not you.

Yes, housewives, take Anacin because they relief that’s acceptable for you is drugs. Never mind if the guy in the corner is your husband and the woman he’s with is not you.

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Evaluating Patriotic Songs of America

The 4th of July is the kind of holiday where one is bound to hear a lot of patriotic tunes expressing patriotic pride. Yet, while some certainly celebrate the spirit of the U. S. of A., others have rather cheesy lyrics. Ever since the US was a country, people have been writing patriotic anthems showing their love for America. However, not every patriotic tune can make an American wave the flag in pride. So here I devote this post evaluating songs expressing love for America.

 

The Best:

“The Star Spangled Banner” – I have to admit since Francis Scott Key wrote down the lyrics while witnessing the Battle of Fort McHenry as a prisoner on a British ship, this has been a perennial favorite in the US that it has often served as an unofficial national anthem until it was officially designated as such in 1931. Sure the lyrics might be set to an English drinking song at the time but it’s great as an instrumental for bands as well as for talented singers. As long as you don’t have pop stars butchering it in sporting events.

“America the Beautiful” – Once considered a contender for the national anthem, this one really expresses one’s love for the American landscape that have become iconic images of the American psyche. The Ray Charles version is the best in my opinion. Said to be easier to sing, more melodic, and adaptable to various orchestrations.

“Battle Hymn of the Republic” – Set to “John Brown’s Body,” with lyrics written by Julia Ward Howe during the American Civil War, this song may have religious connotations as well as something you really don’t want to play among certain demographics like Southerners or non-Christians. After all, this was a Northern anthem during the American Civil War and it was written when adding Christian references in such material was acceptable and even encouraged. And the abolitionists frequently used Christianity to justify why slavery was wrong. I also know that it has references to the apocalypse as well as kind of justifies war. However, it’s the very fact that it’s a Christian song with Julia Ward Howe’s style that make this song so powerful, inspirational, and unforgettable that plenty of non-Christian Americans don’t really care if you play it at public events (even if it’s just instrumental).

“You’re a Grand Old Flag” – Famously composed by George M. Cohan who was a pioneer in the Broadway musical. This is definitely one that’s great for grandstanding patriotic pride on the 4th of July.

“The Yankee Doodle Boy”- Another Cohan song even though most people only sing the chorus. Most famously performed by James Cagney in the George M. Cohan biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy. Of course, Cohan wasn’t really born on the 4th of July, but who cares. It’s awesome.

“Over There”- Yet, another George M. Cohan song that was written to get young men to enlist during the US entry in the WWI. Expect to hear this whenever the US enters a major world war.

“The Stars and Stripes Forever” – Sure this song may not have lyrics to sing to (oh, wait, there are but nobody sings them anyway). But this was composed with the genius of John Philip Sousa and is packed with so much patriotic pep that you’d want to cheer for the USA.

US Military Songs- You can understand why the military takes to bands and marches since a lot of these songs seem to echo a certain badassery, dignity, and courage of each branch making a grandiose entrance. For the Navy, you can’t forget “Anchors Aweigh.” For the Army, it’s “The Army Keeps Rolling Along.” The Marines have “The Marine Hymn” or “Semper Fidelis” (also by Sousa but you’ve probably heard it).  Then there’s “Wild Blue Yonder” from the US Air Force. Finally, there’s “Semper Paratus” for the US Coast Guard. And for all of them, you can go with “Eternal Father, Strong to Save” best played during ship sinkings. All these songs surely make a great American patriotic soundtrack

“Appalachian Spring” – from Paste Magazine: “This wakens a sense of patriotism in us that little else can. It’s an orchestral suite, so it’s not technically a “song,” but the music is so uniquely American (borrowing from the traditional Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts”) and so sonically vivid, that it expresses the beauty of our country better than any set of lyrics we know. Copland was undoubtedly the Norman Rockwell of music—both intensely patriotic and populist but in a gentle and agreeable way. The piece premiered as a ballet score during the tail end of WWII, and was rearranged as suite the following year during the height of American patriotism.” However, most people might think of the lines “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” at the end since it was once used in a commercial.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” – Written by NAACP head James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother, this was a major song from the Civil Rights Movement. Seen as an anthem of African Americans for a good reason since it features very inspirational lyrics that surely encouraged blacks to fight for their rights.

“Hail to the Chief” – This is the theme song for the US President when he or she makes an entrance. And yes, it echoes American grandeur. However, I sure hope that this song is played when Donald Trump makes an entrance because that would be really bad.

“Fanfare for the Common Man” – Composed by Aaron Copland, you probably have heard this song in recruitment commercials and previews for movies. Inspired by a Henry Wallace speech during the Great Depression. Definitely a piece for any American patriotic soundtrack on the 4th of July.

“Living in America”- A famous staple from the Godfather of Soul James Brown that was played on Rocky IV as the theme for Apollo Creed. Also inspired Weird Al’s parody, “Living with a Hernia.” Has a very catchy chorus and tune.

“Philadelphia Freedom” –Sure it was written and recorded by Brits. But it’s a catchy song that hasn’t been played enough. Also, was done for Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s friend Billie Jean King who was on the Philadelphia Freedom professional tennis team.

“America” – This Simon and Garfunkel gem was used in a Bernie Sanders campaign ad. And you can understand why. It’s about going on cross country trip. What can be better than that?

“The Washington Post” –You might recognize this song by John Philip Sousa. Yes, he cranked out a lot of these marches of American patriotic goodness. Still, if you want to listen to some patriotic music on the 4th of July, Sousa is your guy.

“We Shall Overcome”- Another unofficial anthem of the American Civil Rights Movement. Yet, it’s one that doesn’t acknowledge perfection as well as inspires that Americans can overcome their problems caused by societal hatred. Truly a gem.

“National Emblem” – Features a march version of “The Star Spangled Banner” as well as got a good write up from none other than John Philip Sousa. In fact, it was one of Sousa’s favorite march tunes that wasn’t composed by him, which says something.

“Ragged Old Flag” – From Paste Magazine: “The intro is almost as great as the song itself—a simple, compelling tune about loving one’s country for what it stands for, and despite its mistakes. No one was ever as earnestly cool as Johnny Cash. My kind of patriot.”

The Worst:

“God Bless the USA” – From Amog: “I didn’t know that this was released way back in 1984, but I do remember it being overplayed during the first Gulf War. Even as a kid, more now as an adult, I’ve always known that this track sucked, for lack of a better word. To add insult to injury, it gets stuck in my head, if I’m subjected to it, which makes me want to gauge my ear drums out with a power drill.” This song is just annoyingly cheesy with clichéd sentiment. Kill it. Kill it with fire.

“Let the Eagle Soar”- From Amog: “Besides this being a horrible, horrible tribute to America, it was written and performed by former Attorney General John Ashcroft. As if politicians needed anymore proof that they’re a bunch a clowns and give the rest of the world a reason to mock us. But it gets worse. This atrocity was performed at George W. Bush’s second inauguration. At least Ashcroft had someone else, Guy Hovis, perform it at the inauguration. Actually, that’s a jerk move. Letting someone else take the fall for you in front of millions is rather diabolical.”

“Have You Forgotten?” – From Amog: “Another recording, out of the hundreds of others, to express how an artist felt on September 11, 2001. What makes this a horrible patriotic song is that Worley justifies bombing pretty much the entire world because of 9/11. It’s tacky, contrived and features shameless footage from 9/11 all in the name of making a buck.”

“Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)” – From Amog: “In a way you can’t blame Toby Keith for this. He was feeling like many of us were at the time. Then again, many of us aren’t musicians who will be forever immortalized through their music. Nearly a decade after this song was released most rational thinking people would agree that putting “a boot in you ass” isn’t the American way and really doesn’t help our standing in the global community.”

“Red, White & Blue” – From Amog: “This gem was written by what’s left of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Strike one. It also contains the lines: “My hair is white, my neck has always been red, and my collar’s still blue,” for a second strike. The final strike goes to another masterpiece of a line, “If they don’t like it they can just get the hell out”. They should have just stuck to butchering the band’s classics while on the road with musicians like Kid Rock.”

“Dixie”- Yes, I know that it’s a catchy tune and I know it’s well beloved by white Southerners (and others like Abraham Lincoln, though it was more of a pop song in his day). But it’s inherently racist since it was first performed in blackface minstrel shows (popular 19th century entertainment that was chock full of offensive black stereotypes). It was used as a theme for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. To African Americans, this song is considered offensive since it echoes Old South nostalgia and was played by supporters of segregation.

“American Soldier” – From LA Weekly: “We’re not sure there’s anything worse than starting a war based on blatant lies, then sending young men and women to die for the vanity of elderly assholes who would rather bleed this country dry than actually part with a single dime at tax time. But if there is, it’s the songs celebrating the sacrifices of the people sent to die in those wars, written by people who themselves would never join the military.” Well, I guess “Goodnight Saigon” might be on the same level as this one since it pertains to the Vietnam War since Billy Joel never went there either. But at least he consulted his friends who actually served in Vietnam before he went through with it and tried to depict the conflict through their point of view. Not sure if Toby Keith has done the same.

“Ballad of the Green Berets” – This song was written and recorded in the 1960s and used in the 1968 John Wayne movie The Green Berets which depicted the Vietnam War in a positive light (a war the US never should’ve gotten involved in but was going to anyway). Yes, I get that people want to honor their country and its armed forces. But this doesn’t mean you should use it in a god awful movie that glamorizes a war as well as make George Takei wish he’d stick with being on more Star Trek episodes (because he’s in this).

American Revolution Songs sans “Yankee Doodle” -Yes, our Founding Fathers had their patriotic songs, too like “The Liberty Song,” “Chester,” or “War and Washington.” Have you heard of these? There’s probably a good reason.

“Marching Through Georgia”- Yes, it’s a lively tune that was written during the American Civil War. However, it’s hard for a white Georgian to show patriotic pride while hearing a song about Union soldiers mowing through their state and destroying everything in their midst. Sure this was William Tecumseh Sherman’s strategy of “Total War” which was intended to make the Confederates lose their will to fight. But white Southerners still paint the guy as a villain.

A lot of Patriotic country songs- To be fair, there may be good country songs out there showing one’s love for America. But in contemporary times, this genre has gotten a major bad rap for cheesy lyrics of blind patriotism that’s sometimes tinged with American conservativism. Okay, it’s fine for one to express their love for the US. But please, make sure it’s not a song filled with empty gestures. There’s a reason why College Humor satirized a lot of them with “America Sucks Less,” which might be a better song about patriotism in general.

“This Ain’t No Rag, It’s A Flag” – From Nerve: “The title of this Charlie Daniels single tells you everything you need to know. By the end of the first few verses, he’s mocked the practice of wearing headscarves, explained that Americans “believe in God” (say what you will about Islamist terrorists, but they don’t lack religion), and told “dirty” Arabs to crawl back into their “holes.” As a response to 9/11, the song offers nothing that couldn’t be gained from going down to the corner bar and listening to a bunch of drunk racists.” Sorry, Charlie Daniels, but loving your country doesn’t need to resort to blatant Islamophobia.

Your Mileage May Vary:

“God Bless America”- Yes, it has a great orchestration and I think the lyrics are quite good as well as easy to remember. However, the fact it was used by Christian conservatives in the 1960s to silence dissenters speaking out against US involvement in the Vietnam War sort of ruins it for me. Also, it’s used by the Flyers.

“This Is My Country” – Well, it’s easy to sing. But it doesn’t have a lot going for it and the lyrics seem quite childish.

“My Country Tis of Thee” – Well, it’s a simple song to remember. But it also uses the same melody as “God Save the Queen.” And the American lyrics are fairly childish.

“This Land Is Your Land”- Written by Woody Guthrie, this is an overall decent folksy American song that evokes a sense of patriotism. However, there are some verses that are highly critical about the US and the fact it was to protest the notion of private property. The fact that it was used as a protest song in radical politics during the 1930s, doesn’t help much.

“Hail Columbia”- This song was used as a de facto national anthem in the US for most of the 19th century. On one hand, it has a lovely melody that might’ve been catchy at the time. However, it fails to capture the kind of emotional punch akin to “The Star Spangled Banner” and some of the tune is reminiscent of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” It’s obvious to see “The Star Spangled Banner” is the US national anthem and it’s not. “The Star Spangled Banner” is a song that’s stood the test of the time since it was first written. This one seems very antiquated in comparison.

“America” – From Examiner: “Unlike ‘This Land is Your Land’ Neil Diamond’s ‘America’ highlights the rich history this country has as a beacon for those seeking refuge in a harsh world. It doesn’t make light of the struggles of immigrants that have flocked here for security and opportunity since the very beginning. The song is more than just a sugary spouting of patriotic words haphazardly strung together, its a testament to the American dream and how its always there no matter how irrelevant it seems in the hard times.” However, this isn’t among Neil Diamond’s best songs, kind of cheesy, and hard to take seriously if it’s sung by a guy in a sparkly jumpsuit.

“American Pie”- From Examiner: “Regardless of age, race, gender or creed, everyone who lives in the U.S. can appreciate this song. Something about the lyrics paired with the upbeat sound is reminiscent of things like summer road trips, Coca-Cola, warm nights at amusement parks, drive-in movies and shooting off firecrackers. In short, it’s an awesome feel-good song that never gets old and it’s timelessly American as…well, apple pie.” However, though I really like this song, I have to admit that it’s more about rock n’ roll and the events that happened after Buddy Holly’s death than America in general.

“Yankee Doodle” – Sure there’s an interesting story about this song which pertains to British making fun of Americans during the French and Indian War. And yes, it’s kind of cool that American patriots adopted this song as a “fuck you” to the Brits during the American Revolution. But seriously, it’s kind of annoying and the lyrics are pretty stupid.

“Born in the USA” – Though most people see this as a pro-America rock staple, it’s actually a scathing critique of the Vietnam War and the phenomenon that working class youth have little hope for the future being pushed into military service because they have nowhere else to turn. Also, I am no fan of Bruce Springsteen. Oh, and it was used to torture prisoners at Gitmo (sorry, Bruce).

“Columbia Gem of the Ocean” – Well, it does have a great grandstanding march to be a contender for the national anthem. However, it’s not very well known.

“Home on the Range” – More of a western song than a song about the US in general. But I understand why some people are attached to it.

“The Liberty Bell”- It’s a grand march written by John Philip Sousa which has been played at US presidential inaugurations. However, if there is any reason why it might not be included on a patriotic soundtrack, it’s probably because it’s better remembered as the theme from Monty Python.

“Goodnight Saigon”- Written by Billy Joel for The Nylon Curtain, it’s about the soldiers’ experience in Vietnam which honors their service while glamorizing absolutely none of what they’ve been through. Though Joel never served in Vietnam, he was encouraged to write and record this song by his friends who did. Nevertheless, it’s more of a song for Memorial Day or Veterans Day than 4th of July because it doesn’t show a lot of patriotic pep.

“Ashoka Farewell” –When you hear this song in the Ken Burns documentary series The Civil War, you’d almost think it was played by American soldiers at their army camps before a battle. Yet, it was actually composed by New York Jews in the 1980s but it has an unforgettable and beautiful melody. However, it’s kind of a sad song that’s more appropriate for Memorial Day than 4th of July.

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” – This is a highly adaptable song and can be played in many different tones in instrumentals as indicated by the Ken Burns documentary. However, while the lyrics point to the glorious anticipation of a soldier coming home from duty, remember that many US soldiers didn’t.

“Taps”- It’s a nice song but it’s more appropriate for military funerals and Memorial Day.

“Pink Houses” – From Cheat Sheet: “John Mellencamp is popularly considered to be a patriotic rock singer, who writes songs about good working-class people enjoying their small town lives. From the chorus, it seems as though the song is an ode the classic American dream of living in suburbia with a house, a spouse, and children. “Ain’t that America somethin’ to see baby / Ain’t that America home of the free / Little pink houses for you and me,” Mellencamp sings in the chorus. But, like many of the songs on this list, if you take a closer listen to the verses — and the last one in particular — the song is more critical than it seems. “There’s winners and there’s losers / But they ain’t no big deal / ‘Cause the simple man baby pay for the thrills, the bills / The pills that kill,” he sings in the final verse, drawing attention to this country’s problems with inequality.”

“Fortunate Son” – Had to include this one from CCR since it was used in a Wrangler Jeans commercial as a patriotic anthem. However, if you’ve actually heard the whole thing, it’s about how people in wealth and power use patriotism to get less privileged young guys to fight their wars while sheltering their own kids from combat. To be fair, it’s a great song in its own right. But not one to play at a 4th of July barbecue.