Lake Shore Drive (song)

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Lake Shore Drive is a song written by Skip Haynes of the Chicago-based rock group Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, initially recorded on August 7, 1970, and released on their 1971 album of the same name. The song is an homage to the famed lakefront highway in Chicago. Despite the fact that "LSD" had long been an abbreviation for the Drive, many people thought the song referred to the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid diethylamide. Numerous fans of the song and residents of Chicago believe the song paints an accurate musical picture of living and driving in downtown Chicago.[1]


Despite the fact that composer Skip Haynes maintains that the song is not about LSD, the line "Just slippin' on by on L.S.D. / Friday night, trouble bound" has been construed as a double entendre of both driving on Lake Shore Drive and tripping on the drug.

Other references include the lines "Pretty blue lights along the way / Helping you right on by," which some think refer to the blue lights of the Chicago Police Department squad cars that patrol Lake Shore Drive. However, Lake Shore Drive was set up to have reversible lanes in the early years. As such, blue lighting helped depict the raised lane barriers when they were activated. The lighting was removed when the reversible lanes were removed. ""Rats on up to riches" denoted driving from the south side to the north side. Composer Skip Haynes says, "I was a northsider so I usually was 'runnin' south on LSD' looking for a good time."[2] Other lyrics in the song illustrate the physical features of the road and its surroundings: "It starts up north from Hollywood" refers to West Hollywood Avenue, which, running eastbound, becomes Lake Shore Drive, and "A ten-minute drive from the Gold Coast back / Makes you sure you’re pleasure bound" refers to the Gold Coast, a strip of affluent residential housing, hotels, university campuses, and office buildings along the Drive. "Concrete mountains rearing up / Throwing shadows just about five" refers to Chicago's downtown skyscrapers casting their shadows across the Drive as the sun sets in late afternoon.

"A ten-minute drive from the Gold Coast back / Makes you sure you’re pleasure bound" is described as "The thing to do when going to clubs (Sgt. Peppers, Sitzmark, Barnaby's, Beaver's etc,) on State street and Rush Street during the late sixties and early seventies was to double (or triple) park in front of the club and go in to hit on the waitresses and listen to the first set from bands like (Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, Aorta, Big Twist, the Illinois Speed Press, Mason Profitt, CTA etc.).

When the set was over (the club that inspired the song was Beavers on State Street), you would pile into the car, turn right on Oak Street, turn left at the Drive, shoot the loop at Foster Avenue, then back down to Oak Street, left on State Street, make an illegal U-turn on State and re-double park (with the first ticket you got still under your windshield wiper) in front of Beaver's then go back into the club.

This was the perfect amount of time to get high and be peaking just as you walked in and got a drink from the waitress as the band came on for the second set. That's it." [2]


When the blizzard of 2011 hit Chicago, many motorists leaving the city were stranded on Lake Shore Drive as weather conditions deteriorated.[3] Within days, Skip Haynes had reworked the lyrics of the song "Lake Shore Drive" and released it as "Snowed on LSD."[4]

Another variation of the song for the holiday season, "Christmas on LSD," was also released on Haynes's website,[5]

In popular culture[edit]

The song was featured in the 2017 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and was further included on the film's soundtrack album.


  1. ^ Lake Shore Drive by Aliotta-Haynes-Jeremiah Songfacts
  2. ^ a b Quote by Skip Haynes, the songwriter "The Story Behind "Lake Shore Drive" (Part Two)". Forgotten Hits. 2012-01-08. 
  3. ^ Blizzard shuts Lake Shore Drive, cars stranded
  4. ^ Skip Haynes - Lake Shore Drive - The Blizzard '11 Version
  5. ^ Lake Shore Drive: Skip Haynes and Aliotta, Haynes and Jeremiah