Quincy Jones on musicians and drugs: "It goes with the turf"

Music producer Quincy Jones
CBS

(CBS) There is no way to keep drug use out of the music world, music producer Quincy Jones says, suggesting that Tony Bennett may be right in his calls to legalize drugs.

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Bennett, who kicked his own cocaine habit 30 years ago, made a pitchon the Grammys red carpet for the legalization of all drugs as he reflected on the death of Whitney Houston, whose drug problems have been well documented.

Asked by CBS News whether drug use could be rooted out of the industry, Jones flatly said, "No." Then he added, "As Tony said the other night - legalize it."

The 78-year-old musician (a trumpeter, songwriter and conductor), who worked with music legends like Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra during his long career, added, "It goes with the turf, you know, it really does."

He pointed out that musicians work mostly on the road, and "hang out at night" together.

" I don't know, man, you can't stop it. Now, they got oxycontin and all that stuff.. That's reasonably new. It started on the East Coast."

Bennett was accompanied to the Grammys Sunday by Mitch and Janis Winehouse, whose daughter, Amy Winehouse, had a career pockmarked by drug and alcohol abuse. Winehouse did a duet with Bennett just before her death last summer at age 27.

"In Amsterdam they legalized drugs and it calmed everybody down," Bennett said Sunday. "It stopped a lot of gangsters who sneak around and get people to take drugs. Everybody gets wounded that way. By legalizing it, you won't have that problem."

The 85-year-old crooner acknowledged his call for legalization is controversial. But he said he stands by it.

"It's called the elimination of ignorance," Bennett said. "If you do something that makes things better, why not do it immediately, whatever it is."

Listen to Jones' full comments here and tell us what you think.

  • CBS News Staff

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