Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't Bogart That Banana -


Bananadine is an allegedly psychoactive substance which is extracted from banana peels. A recipe for its extraction from banana peel was originally published as a hoax in the Berkeley Barb in March 1967. It became more widely known when William Powell reproduced the method in The Anarchist Cookbook in 1970. Powell has since attempted to have the recipe withdrawn. However, as he no longer holds the copyright for the article, he has been unsuccessful in this.

Researchers at New York University have found that banana peel contains no intoxicating chemicals, and that smoking it does not produce a Psychedelic effect. Over the years, there has been considerable speculation regarding the psychoactive properties of banana skins.

Donovan's hit single "Mellow Yellow" was released a few months prior to the Berkeley Barb article, and in the popular culture of the era, the song was assumed to be about smoking banana peels. Shortly after the "Berkeley Barb" and the song, bananadine was featured in the New York Times. For years it was assumed that the song "Mellow Yellow" was the source for bananadine.

In the inner sleeve of Experience, the first full-length album by British band The Prodigy, Leeroy Thornhill is quoted saying "Respect to everyone I've met, you're welcome round to smoke some Banana skins anytime."

The Ray Stevens song "Old Hippie Class Reunion" alludes to this fad. There is a recurring exchange: "What happened to it?" "We smoked it..." about increasingly improbable things, until at the end of the song the two characters enthusiastically consider smoking the entire contents of a pet store.

The Frank Zappa song "Blue Light" from Tinsel Town Rebellion likewise alludes to the fad: "That was back in the days when you used to / Smoke a banana / You would scrape the stuff off the middle / You would bake it / You would smoke it / You even thought you was getting ripped from it" It may also be noted that Donovan is mentioned earlier in the previous verse.

Slade also allude to this fad in a more tongue-in-cheek way in "Thanks for the Memory" (from the album of the same name, released 1975) with the line "They knew bananas could get you high".

60s garage rock group, The Electric Prunes released a song called "The Great Banana Fad," featured on their 1967 album Underground.

1 comment:

alex brooks said...

there's also 'smokin banana peels' by the dead milkmen