LISTEN: Bill Cosby Tells Kids to ‘Say No to Pills’ on 1971 Anti-Drug Album

Tracks from a 1970s-era Bill Cosby anti-drug children’s album have resurfaced online in the wake of dozens of allegations of sexual assault against the comedian by women who claim Cosby used drugs to take advantage of them.

“Hi, this is Bill Cosby. I’d like you to pay close attention to this album because it’s very important,” Cosby says at the start of the 1971 album Bill Cosby Talks to Kids About Drugs. “We’re going to talk about amphetamines, cocaine, depressants, barbiturates, opiates, alcohol, tobacco, hallucinogens, and we want you and your parents to give a listen.”

Cosby’s anti-drug album would go on to win Best Recording for Children at the 1972 Grammy Awards, according to the Washington Post. And as the paper notes, there was nothing unusual about a popular family comedian cutting an anti-drug PSA for children.

But now, as Cosby suffers legal setbacks in some of the lawsuits against him, the recordings highlight the difference between Cosby’s image in American culture as a moral authority figure and that of the private, “cavalier playboy,” who appeared to use his fame to seduce women.

“Okay, now let’s talk about pills,” Cosby says on the album’s opening track. “People take pills to get high. Now some pills are called downers. So, if we take a downer, it kind of makes us feel sleepy. And we think we feel good.”

To demonstrate the point, the record slows down into a psychedelic horn break.

“There’s you’re on a downer now. You’ve taken one, and now it’s starting to react in your body, and now you feel like this,” Cosby says, his voice slurred by the slowing of the record. “That’s not much fun, is it? You thought you were gonna get high, but you’re just very drowsy and sleepy, and bumping into people. You don’t want to bump into people.”

“Now let’s feel an upper,” the track continues. “Oh my goodness, this isn’t any fun, either, is it? Now you’re walking faster, you think, and you’re talking faster. But the only thing that’s really happening, is that you’re thinking you’re doing things faster, but you’re not. And guess what? You won’t be able to get to sleep.”

“Say no to pills,” the track concludes.

Listen to the introductory track from the album above, and the track “Dope Pusher” below:


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