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Psychedelic rock is
rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no ...
that is inspired, influenced, or representative of
psychedelic Psychedelics are a subset of hallucinogenic drugs whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary states of consciousness (known as psychedelic experience A psychedelic experience (known colloquially as a trip) is a temporary altered state ...
culture, which is centered on perception-altering
hallucinogen A hallucinogen is a psychoactive agent that often or ordinarily causes hallucinations A hallucination is a perception Perception (from the Latin ''perceptio'', meaning gathering or receiving) is the organization, identification, ...
ic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of
psychedelic drug Psychedelics are a class of hallucinogenic drugs A hallucinogen is a psychoactive agent that often or ordinarily causes hallucinations A hallucination is a perception in the absence of external stimulus (physiology), stimulus that has ...
s, most notably
LSD Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known colloquially as acid, is a psychedelic drug Psychedelics are a class of hallucinogenic drugs A hallucinogen is a psychoactive agent that often or ordinarily causes hallucinations A ...
. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, and the label is often applied spuriously. Originating in the mid-1960s among British and American musicians, the sound of psychedelic rock invokes three core effects of LSD:
depersonalization Depersonalization can consist of a detachment within the self, regarding one's mind or body, or being a detached observer of oneself. Subjects feel they have changed and that the world has become vague, dreamlike, less real, lacking in significanc ...
, dechronicization, and dynamization, all of which detach the user from reality. Musically, the effects may be represented via novelty studio tricks,
electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active devices to control electron flow b ...
or non-Western instrumentation, disjunctive song structures, and extended instrumental segments. Some of the earlier 1960s psychedelic rock musicians were based in
folk Folk or Folks may refer to: Sociology *Nation *People * Folklore ** Folk art ** Folk dance ** Folk hero ** Folk music *** Folk metal *** Folk punk *** Folk rock *** British folk rock ** Folk religion * Folk taxonomy Arts, entertainment, and media ...
,
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
, and the
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
, while others showcased an explicit
Indian classical Indian classical music is the classical music of the Indian subcontinent. It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called ''Hindustani classical music, Hindustani'', while the South Indian expression is called ...
influence called "
raga rock Raga rock is rock or pop music Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. The terms ''popular music'' and ''pop music'' are often used interchangeably, a ...
". In the 1960s, there existed two main variants of the genre: the more whimsical, surrealist British psychedelia and the harder American West Coast "
acid rock Acid rock is a loosely defined type of rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, developing into a range of different styles in the mid ...
". While "acid rock" is sometimes deployed interchangeably with the term "psychedelic rock", it also refers more specifically to the heavier, harder, and more extreme ends of the genre. The peak years of psychedelic rock were between 1967 and 1969, with milestone events including the 1967
Summer of Love The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions of dress and behavior, converged in San Francisco's neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury. ...

Summer of Love
and the 1969 Woodstock Rock Festival, becoming an international musical movement associated with a widespread
counterculture A counterculture is a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilitie ...
before beginning a decline as changing attitudes, the loss of some key individuals, and a back-to-basics movement led surviving performers to move into new musical areas. The genre bridged the transition from early blues and folk-based rock to
progressive rock Progressive rock (shortened as prog; also known as classical rock or symphonic rock; sometimes conflated with art rock) is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid-to late 1960s, peak ...
and
hard rock Hard rock or heavy rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These f ...

hard rock
, and as a result contributed to the development of sub-genres such as
heavy metal Heavy metal may refer to: *Heavy metals, a loose category of relatively dense metals and metalloids **Toxic heavy metal, any heavy metal chemical element of environmental concern *Heavy metal music, a genre of rock music **Heavy metal genres *Hea ...
. Since the late 1970s it has been revived in various forms of
neo-psychedelia Neo-psychedelia is a diverse genre of psychedelic music Psychedelic music (sometimes called psychedelia) is a wide range of popular music styles and genres influenced by 1960s psychedelia, a subculture A subculture is a group of people wi ...
.


Definition

As a musical style, psychedelic rock attempts to replicate the effects of and enhance the mind-altering experiences of
hallucinogen A hallucinogen is a psychoactive agent that often or ordinarily causes hallucinations A hallucination is a perception Perception (from the Latin ''perceptio'', meaning gathering or receiving) is the organization, identification, ...
ic drugs, incorporating new electronic sound effects and recording effects, extended solos, and improvisation. Common features include: *
electric guitar An electric guitar is a guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space between two fretbars on the neck (music), neck of a stringed instrument. Frets usually extend across the fu ...

electric guitar
s, often used with
feedback Feedback occurs when outputs of a system are routed back as inputs as part of a chain A chain is a assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a in that it is flexib ...
, wah-wah and
fuzzbox Distortion and overdrive are forms of audio signal processing used to alter the sound of amplified electric musical instruments, usually by increasing their gain (electronics), gain, producing a "fuzzy", "growling", or "gritty" tone. Distortion ...
effects unit An effects unit or effects pedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be cons ...
s; * elaborate studio effects (principally in British psychedelia), such as backwards tapes, panning,
phasing A phaser is an electronic sound processor used to filter Filter, filtering or filters may refer to: Science and technology Device * Filter (chemistry), a device which separates solids from fluids (liquids or gases) by adding a medium throug ...
, long delay loops, and extreme
reverb Reverberation (also known as reverb), in acoustics Acoustics is a branch of physics that deals with the study of mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including topics such as vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientis ...

reverb
; * elements of
Indian music Owing to India's vastness and diversity, Indian Music encompass numerous genres, multiple varieties and forms which include classical music Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including bot ...
and other
Eastern music Asian music encompasses numerous musical styles originating in many Asian countries. Musical traditions in Asia * Music of Central Asia ** Music of Afghanistan (when included in the definition of Central Asia) ** Music of Kazakhstan ** Music of ...
, including
Middle Eastern The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...
modalities; * non-Western instruments (especially in British psychedelia), specifically those originally used in
Indian classical music Indian classical music is the classical music Classical music generally refers to the formal musical tradition of the Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity) ...
, such as
sitar The sitar ( or ; ) is a plucked stringed instrument Plucked string instruments are a subcategory of string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device cr ...

sitar
, tambura and
tabla A tabla, prs, طبلا, gu, તબલા, hi, तबला, kn, ತಬಲಾ, ml, തബല, mr, तबला, ne, तबला, or, ତବଲା, ps, طبله, pa, ਤਬਲਾ, ta, தபலா, te, తబలా, ur, , group="n ...

tabla
; * elements of free-form jazz; * a strong keyboard presence, especially
electronic organ An electric organ, also known as electronic organ, is an electronic keyboard An electronic keyboard, portable keyboard, or digital keyboard is an electronic musical instrument, an electronic or digital derivative of keyboard instruments. B ...

electronic organ
s,
harpsichord A harpsichord ( it, clavicembalo, french: clavecin, german: Cembalo, es, clavecín, pt, cravo, nl, klavecimbel) is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that ...
s, or the
Mellotron The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical musical instrument developed in Birmingham, England, in 1963. It is played by pressing its keys, each of which pushes a length of magnetic tape against a Capstan (tape recorder), capstan, which pulls it ac ...

Mellotron
(an early tape-driven sampler); * extended instrumental segments, especially
guitar solo A guitar solo is a melodic A melody (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast E ...
s, or jams; * disjunctive song structures, occasional
key Key or The Key may refer to: Common meanings * Key (cryptography), a piece of information that controls the operation of a cryptography algorithm * Key (lock), device used to control access to places or facilities restricted by a lock * Key (map) ...

key
and
time signature The time signature (also known as meter signature, metre signature, or measure signature) is a notational convention used in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the U ...
changes, modal melodies and drones; *
electronic instrument An electronic musical instrument or electrophone is a musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is th ...
s such as
synthesizers A synthesizer (also spelled synthesiser) is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals. Synthesizers typically create sounds by generating Waveform, waveforms, through methods including subtractive synthesis, additive synt ...
and the
theremin The theremin (; originally known as the ætherphone/etherphone, thereminophone or termenvox/thereminvox) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument or electrophone is a musical instrument that produces sound using ...

theremin
; * lyrics that made direct or indirect reference to hallucinogenic drugs; * , whimsical, esoterically or literary-inspired lyrics with (especially in British psychedelia) references to childhood; *
Victorian-era In the history of the United Kingdom The history of the United Kingdom began in the early eighteenth century with the Treaty of Union and Acts of Union. The core of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and ...
antiquation (exclusive to British psychedelia), drawing on items such as
music box A music box (American English) or musical box (British English) is an automatic musical instrument in a box that produces Musical note, musical notes by using a set of pins placed on a revolving cylinder (geometry), cylinder or disc to pluck ...

music box
es,
music hall Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutions, financial markets and how they opera ...

music hall
nostalgia and circus sounds. The term "psychedelic" was coined in 1956 by psychiatrist
Humphry Osmond Humphry Fortescue Osmond (1 July 1917 – 6 February 2004) was an English psychiatrist who expatriated to Canada, then moved to work in the United States. He is known for inventing the word '' psychedelic'' and for his research into interesting ...
in a letter to LSD exponent
Aldous Huxley Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly 50 books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems. Born into the prominent Huxl ...

Aldous Huxley
and used as an alternative descriptor for hallucinogenic drugs in the context of
psychedelic psychotherapy Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, 2C-B, and MDMA. In psychedelic therapy, in contrast to the use of conventional psychiatric medication which is taken by t ...
. As the countercultural scene developed in San Francisco, the terms
acid rock Acid rock is a loosely defined type of rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, developing into a range of different styles in the mid ...
and psychedelic rock were used in 1966 to describe the new drug-influenced music and were being widely used by 1967. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but acid rock may be distinguished as a more extreme variation that was heavier, louder, relied on long jams, focused more directly on LSD, and made greater use of distortion.


Original psychedelic era


1960–65: Precursors and influences

Music critic
Richie Unterberger Richie Unterberger (born 19 January 1962) is an American author and journalist whose focus is popular music and travel writing. Life and writing Unterberger attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote for the university newspaper ''Th ...
says that attempts to "pin down" the first psychedelic record are "nearly as elusive as trying to name the first rock & roll record". Some of the "far-fetched claims" include the instrumental "
Telstar Telstar is the name of various communications satellite A communications satellite is an artificial satellite that relays and amplifies radio telecommunication signals via a Transponder (satellite communications), transponder; it creates a ...
" (produced by
Joe Meek Robert George "Joe" Meek (5 April 1929 – 3 February 1967) was an English record producer, musician, sound engineer and songwriter who pioneered space age and experimental pop music. He also assisted the development of recording practices li ...
for
the Tornados The Tornados were an English instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a big band setting. Through semantic widening, a b ...
in 1962) and
the Dave Clark Five The Dave Clark Five, often called The DC5, were an English rock and roll band formed in Tottenham in 1958. In January 1964 they had their first UK top ten single, "Glad All Over", which knocked the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top ...
's "massively reverb-laden" "
Any Way You Want It "Any Way You Want It" is a song by American rock band Journey. It was released in February 1980 as the lead single from their sixth studio album '' Departure''. Written by lead singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon, it peaked at number 23 ...
" (1964). The first mention of LSD on a rock record was the Gamblers' 1960 surf instrumental "LSD 25". A 1962 single by
the Ventures The Ventures are an American instrumental rock band, formed in 1958 in Tacoma, Washington, by Don Wilson and Bob Bogle. The band, a quartet for most of its existence, helped to popularize the electric guitar in the United States and across the w ...

the Ventures
, " The 2000 Pound Bee", issued forth the buzz of a distorted, "fuzztone" guitar, and the quest into "the possibilities of heavy, transistorised distortion" and other effects, like improved reverb and echo began in earnest on London's fertile rock 'n' roll scene. By 1964 fuzztone could be heard on singles by P.J. Proby, and the Beatles had employed feedback in "
I Feel Fine "I Feel Fine" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ring ...
", their sixth consecutive number 1 hit in the UK. According to
AllMusic AllMusic (previously known as All Music Guide and AMG) is an American online music database. It catalogs more than three million album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on (CD), , , or another medium. ...

AllMusic
, the emergence of psychedelic rock in the mid-1960s resulted from British groups who made up the
British Invasion The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis' ...
of the US market and
folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, a ...
bands seeking to broaden "the sonic possibilities of their music". Writing in his 1969 book ''The Rock Revolution'', Arnold Shaw said the genre in its American form represented generational
escapism Escapism is mental diversion from unpleasant or boring aspects of daily life Everyday life, daily life or routine life comprises the ways in which people typically act, think, and feel on a daily basis. Everyday life may be described as ...
, which he identified as a development of youth culture's "protest against the sexual taboos, racism, violence, hypocrisy and materialism of adult life". American folk singer
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in for more than 50 years. Much of ...

Bob Dylan
's influence was central to the creation of the folk rock movement in 1965, and his lyrics remained a touchstone for the psychedelic songwriters of the late 1960s. Virtuoso sitarist
Ravi Shankar Ravi Shankar (; born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury, (sometimes spelled as Rabindra Shankar Chowdhury); 7 April 192011 December 2012), whose name is often preceded by the title Pandit (scholar), was an Indian sitarist and composer. A sitar virt ...

Ravi Shankar
had begun in 1956 a mission to bring Indian classical music to the West, inspiring jazz, classical and folk musicians. By the mid-1960s, his influence extended to a generation of young rock musicians who soon made
raga rock Raga rock is rock or pop music Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. The terms ''popular music'' and ''pop music'' are often used interchangeably, a ...
part of the psychedelic rock aesthetic and one of the many intersecting cultural motifs of the era. In the British folk scene, blues, drugs, jazz and Eastern influences blended in the early 1960s work of
Davy Graham David Michael Gordon "Davey" Graham (originally spelled Davy Graham) (26 November 1940 – 15 December 2008) was a British guitarist and one of the most influential figures in the 1960s British folk revival. He inspired many famous practitioners ...
, who adopted modal guitar tunings to transpose Indian ragas and Celtic reels. Graham was highly influential on Scottish folk virtuoso
Bert Jansch Herbert Jansch (3 November 1943 – 5 October 2011) was a Scottish folk music Folk music includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk ...
and other pioneering guitarists across a spectrum of styles and genres in the mid-1960s. Jazz saxophonist and composer
John Coltrane John William Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in ...
had a similar impact, as the exotic sounds on his albums '' My Favorite Things'' (1960) and ''
A Love Supreme ''A Love Supreme'' is an album by American jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. He recorded it in one session on December 9, 1964, at Van Gelder Studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, leading a quartet featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garr ...

A Love Supreme
'' (1965), the latter influenced by the ragas of Shankar, were source material for guitar players and others looking to improvise or "jam".


1965: Formative psychedelic scenes and sounds

Barry Miles Barry Miles (born 21 February 1943) is an English author known for his participation in and writing on the subjects of the 1960s London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of Engla ...
, a leading figure in the 1960s
UK underground The British counter-culture A counterculture is a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, S ...
, says that "
Hippies A hippie, also spelled hippy, especially in UK English, was a member of the counterculture of the 1960s The counterculture of the 1960s was an anti-establishment An anti-establishment view or belief is one which stands in opposition ...
didn't just pop up overnight" and that "1965 was the first year in which a discernible youth movement began to emerge n the US Many of the key 'psychedelic' rock bands formed this year." On the US West Coast, underground chemist
Augustus Owsley Stanley III Augustus Owsley Stanley III (January 19, 1935 – March 12, 2011) was an American audio engineer and Clandestine chemistry, clandestine chemist. He was a key figure in the San Francisco Bay Area History of the hippie movement, hippie movement d ...
and
Ken Kesey Ken Elton Kesey (September 17, 1935 – November 10, 2001) was an American novelist, essayist and countercultural A counterculture is a culture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, som ...
(along with his followers known as the
Merry Pranksters The Merry Pranksters were comrades and followers of American author Ken Kesey Ken Elton Kesey (September 17, 1935 – November 10, 2001) was an American novelist, essayist and Counterculture of the 1960s, countercultural figure. He conside ...
) helped thousands of people take uncontrolled trips at Kesey's
Acid Tests The Acid Tests were a series of parties held by author Ken Kesey Ken Elton Kesey (September 17, 1935 – November 10, 2001) was an American novelist, essayist and countercultural A counterculture is a culture whose values and norms ...
and in the new psychedelic dance halls. In Britain,
Michael Hollingshead Michael Hollingshead (?-1984?) was a British researcher who studied psychedelic drugs, including psilocybin and LSD, at Harvard University in the mid-20th century. He was the father of comedian Vanessa Hollingshead. He evangelized the use of LSD to ...
opened the World Psychedelic Centre and
Beat Generation The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group of authors whose work explored and influenced American culture The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western culture, Western origin, but its influences i ...
poets
Allen Ginsberg Irwin Allen Ginsberg (; June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet and writer. As a student at Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is ...

Allen Ginsberg
,
Lawrence Ferlinghetti Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (March 24, 1919 – February 22, 2021) was an American poet, painter, social activist, and co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. The author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and ...

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
and
Gregory Corso Gregory Nunzio Corso (March 26, 1930 – January 17, 2001) was an American poet and a key member of the Beat movement. He was the youngest of the inner circle of Beat Generation The Beat Generation was a literary movement started by a group of ...
read at the
Royal Albert Hall The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall A concert hall is a cultural building with a stage (theatre), stage that serves as a performance venue and an auditorium filled with seats. While early halls built in the 18th and 19th centu ...

Royal Albert Hall
. Miles adds: "The readings acted as a catalyst for underground activity in London, as people suddenly realized just how many like-minded people there were around. This was also the year that London began to blossom into colour with the opening of the
Granny Takes a Trip Granny Takes a Trip was a boutique A boutique () is a small shop that deals in fashionable clothing or accessories. The word is French language, French for "shop", which derives ultimately from the Greek language, Greek wikt:ἀποθήκη ...
and Hung On You clothes shops." Thanks to media coverage, use of LSD became widespread. According to music critic
Jim DeRogatis James Peter DeRogatis (born September 2, 1964) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), c ...
, writing in his book on psychedelic rock, ''Turn on Your Mind'', the Beatles are seen as the "Acid Apostles of the New Age". Producer
George Martin Sir George Martin (3 January 19268 March 2016) was an English record producer, arrangement, arranger, composer, conducting, conductor, audio engineer, and musician. He was referred to as the "Fifth Beatle" in reference to his extensive involv ...

George Martin
, who was initially known as a specialist in
comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humor Humour (Commonwealth English The use of the English language English is a West Germanic la ...
and
novelty record A novelty song is a type of song built upon some form of novel concept, such as a gimmick, a piece of humor Humour ( Commonwealth English) or humor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes call ...
s, responded to the Beatles' requests by providing a range of studio tricks that ensured the group played a leading role in the development of psychedelic effects. Anticipating their overtly psychedelic work, " Ticket to Ride" (April 1965) introduced a subtle, drug-inspired drone suggestive of India, played on rhythm guitar. Musicologist William Echard writes that the Beatles employed several techniques in the years up to 1965 that soon became elements of psychedelic music, an approach he describes as "cognate" and reflective of how they, like
the Yardbirds The Yardbirds are an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...
, were early pioneers in psychedelia. As important aspects the group brought to the genre, Echard cites the Beatles' rhythmic originality and unpredictability; "true" tonal ambiguity; leadership in incorporating elements from Indian music and studio techniques such as vari-speed, tape loops and reverse tape sounds; and their embrace of the avant-garde. In Unterberger's opinion,
the Byrds The Byrds () were an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compou ...
, emerging from the Los Angeles folk rock scene, and the Yardbirds, from England's blues scene, were more responsible than the Beatles for "sounding the psychedelic siren". Drug use and attempts at psychedelic music moved out of acoustic folk-based music towards rock soon after the Byrds, inspired by the Beatles' 1964 film '' A Hard Day's Night'', adopted electric instruments to produce a chart-topping version of Dylan's " Mr. Tambourine Man" in the summer of 1965. On the Yardbirds, Unterberger identifies lead guitarist
Jeff Beck Geoffrey Arnold Beck (born 24 June 1944) is an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals inc ...

Jeff Beck
as having "laid the blueprint for psychedelic guitar", and says that their "ominous minor key melodies, hyperactive instrumental breaks (called ), unpredictable tempo changes, and use of Gregorian chants" helped to define the "manic eclecticism" typical of early psychedelic rock. The band's "
Heart Full of Soul "Heart Full of Soul" is a song recorded by English Rock music, rock group the Yardbirds in 1965. Written by Graham Gouldman, it was the Yardbirds' first single after Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton as lead guitarist. Released only three month ...
" (June 1965), which includes a distorted guitar riff that replicates the sound of a
sitar The sitar ( or ; ) is a plucked stringed instrument Plucked string instruments are a subcategory of string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instrument A musical instrument is a device cr ...

sitar
, peaked at number 2 in the UK and number 9 in the US. In Echard's description, the song "carried the energy of a new scene" as the guitar-hero phenomenon emerged in rock, and it heralded the arrival of new Eastern sounds.
The Kinks The Kinks were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, ...
provided the first example of sustained Indian-style drone in rock when they used open-tuned guitars to mimic the tambura on "
See My Friends "See My Friends" is a song by the English rock band the Kinks, written by the group's singer and guitarist, Ray Davies. Released in July 1965, it reached number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. The song incorporates a Drone (music), drone-effect play ...
" (July 1965), which became a top 10 hit in the UK. The Beatles' " Norwegian Wood" from the December 1965 album ''
Rubber Soul ''Rubber Soul'' is the sixth studio album by the English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals inc ...
'' marked the first released recording on which a member of a Western rock group played the sitar. The song sparked a craze for the sitar and other Indian instrumentation – a trend that fueled the growth of raga rock as the India exotic became part of the essence of psychedelic rock. Music historian George Case recognises ''Rubber Soul'' as the first of two Beatles albums that "marked the authentic beginning of the psychedelic era", while music critic
Robert Christgau Robert Thomas Christgau (; born April 18, 1942) is an American music journalist Music journalism (or music criticism) is media criticism and reporting about music topics, including popular music, classical music, and traditional music. Journa ...

Robert Christgau
similarly wrote that "Psychedelia starts here". San Francisco historian recalled the album being "the soundtrack of the
Haight-Ashbury Haight-Ashbury () is a district of San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in the ...

Haight-Ashbury
, Berkeley and the whole circuit", as pre-hippie youths suspected that the songs were inspired by drugs. Although psychedelia was introduced in Los Angeles through the Byrds, according to Shaw, San Francisco emerged as the movement's capital on the West Coast. Several California-based folk acts followed the Byrds into folk rock, bringing their psychedelic influences with them, to produce the " San Francisco Sound". Music historian Simon Philo writes that although some commentators would state that the centre of influence had moved from London to California by 1967, it was British acts like the Beatles and
the Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones are an English band formed in London in 1962. Active for almost six decades, they are one of the most popular and enduring bands of the rock era. In the early 1960s, the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, heavier-drive ...

the Rolling Stones
that helped inspire and "nourish" the new American music in the mid-1960s, especially in the formative San Francisco scene. The music scene there developed in the city's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in 1965 at basement shows organised by
Chet Helms Chester Leo "Chet" Helms (August 2, 1942 – June 25, 2005), often called the father of San Francisco's 1967 "Summer of Love," was a music promoter and a counterculture of the 1960s, counterculture figure in San Francisco during its hippie peri ...
of the Family Dog; and as
Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Airplane was an American Rock music, rock band based in San Francisco, California, that became one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Ar ...

Jefferson Airplane
founder
Marty Balin Martyn Jerel Buchwald (January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018), known as Marty Balin (), was an American singer, songwriter, and musician best known as the founder/leader and one of the lead singers and songwriters of Jefferson Airplane Je ...

Marty Balin
and investors opened
The Matrix ''The Matrix'' is a 1999 science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it often e ...
nightclub that summer and began booking his and other local bands such as the
Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead was an American rock music, rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, Folk music, folk, country music, country, jazz, bluegrass music, bluegrass, ...
,
the Steve Miller Band The Steve Miller Band is an American rock music, rock band formed in 1966 in San Francisco, California. The band is led by Steve Miller (musician), Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals. The group had a string of mid- to late-1970s hit singles th ...
and
Country Joe & the Fish Country Joe and the Fish was an American psychedelic rock musical ensemble, band formed in Berkeley, California, in 1965. The band was among the influential groups in the San Francisco Sound, San Francisco music scene during the mid- to late 1960 ...
. Helms and
San Francisco Mime Troupe The San Francisco Mime Troupe is a theatre of political satire Political satire is satire that specializes in gaining entertainment from politics; it has also been used with subversive intent where Political discourse analysis, political speech a ...
manager Bill Graham in the fall of 1965 organised larger scale multi-media community events/benefits featuring the Airplane, the Diggers and Allen Ginsberg. By early 1966 Graham had secured booking at
The Fillmore The Fillmore is a historic music venue in San Francisco, California. Built in 1912 and originally named the Majestic Hall, it became the Fillmore Auditorium in 1954. It is in Western Addition, on the edge of the Fillmore District and Lower Pacific ...

The Fillmore
, and Helms at the
Avalon Ballroom The Avalon Ballroom was a music venue in the Polk Gulch Polk Street (also sometimes referred to by its German name, ''Polkstrasse'') is a street in San Francisco, California, that travels northward from Market Street (San Francisco), Market Stre ...
, where in-house psychedelic-themed light shows replicated the visual effects of the psychedelic experience. Graham became a major figure in the growth of psychedelic rock, attracting most of the major psychedelic rock bands of the day to The Fillmore. According to author Kevin McEneaney, the Grateful Dead "invented" acid rock in front of a crowd of concertgoers in
San Jose, California San Jose, officially San José (; ; ), is the largest city in Northern California Northern California (colloquially known as NorCal) is a geographic and cultural region that generally comprises the northern portion of the U.S. state of Califor ...
on 4 December 1965, the date of the second Acid Test held by novelist
Ken Kesey Ken Elton Kesey (September 17, 1935 – November 10, 2001) was an American novelist, essayist and countercultural A counterculture is a culture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, som ...
and the Merry Pranksters. Their stage performance involved the use of
strobe light A strobe light or stroboscopic lamp, commonly called a strobe, is a device used to produce regular flashes of light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visua ...
s to reproduce LSD's "surrealistic fragmenting" or "vivid isolating of caught moments". The Acid Test experiments subsequently launched the entire psychedelic subculture.


1966: Growth and early popularity

Echard writes that in 1966, "the psychedelic implications" advanced by recent rock experiments "became fully explicit and much more widely distributed", and by the end of the year, "most of the key elements of psychedelic topicality had been at least broached." DeRogatis says the start of psychedelic (or acid) rock is "best listed at 1966". Music journalists
Pete Prown Pete Prown (born 1963) is an American writer, author, guitarist, and music journalist. Works Fiction Books. Among other projects, Prown writes fantasy fiction, publishing the following via Amazon.com: * Thimble Down' (2013) * Devils & Demons' (2 ...
and Harvey P. Newquist locate the "peak years" of psychedelic rock between 1966 and 1969. In 1966, media coverage of rock music changed considerably as the music became reevaluated as a new form of art in tandem with the growing psychedelic community. In February and March, two singles were released that later achieved recognition as the first psychedelic hits: the Yardbirds' "
Shapes of Things "Shapes of Things" is a song by the English rock group the Yardbirds The Yardbirds are an English rock band, formed in London in 1963. The band's core lineup featured vocalist and harmonica player Keith Relf, drummer Jim McCarty, rhythm ...
" and the Byrds' "
Eight Miles High "Eight Miles High" is a song by the American Rock music, rock Musical ensemble, band the Byrds, written by Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn, Jim McGuinn (a.k.a. Roger McGuinn), and David Crosby. It was first released as a Single (music), single on Mar ...
". The former reached number 3 in the UK and number 11 in the US, and continued the Yardbirds' exploration of guitar effects, Eastern-sounding scales, and shifting rhythms. By overdubbing guitar parts, Beck layered multiple takes for his solo, which included extensive use of fuzz tone and harmonic feedback. The song's lyrics, which Unterberger describes as "stream-of-consciousness", have been interpreted as pro-environmental or anti-war. The Yardbirds became the first British band to have the term "psychedelic" applied to one of its songs. On "Eight Miles High",
Roger McGuinn James Roger McGuinn (born James Joseph McGuinn III; July 13, 1942) is an American musician. He is best known for being the frontman and leader of the Byrds The Byrds () were an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) ...

Roger McGuinn
's 12-string Rickenbacker guitar provided a psychedelic interpretation of
free jazz Free jazz is an experimental approach to jazz improvisation Jazz improvisation is the spontaneous invention of melodic solo lines or accompaniment parts in a performance of jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-Ameri ...
and , channelling Coltrane and Shankar, respectively. The song's lyrics were widely taken to refer to drug use, although the Byrds denied it at the time. "Eight Miles High" peaked at number 14 in the US and reached the top 30 in the UK. Contributing to psychedelia's emergence into the pop mainstream was the release of the Beach Boys' ''
Pet Sounds ''Pet Sounds'' is the eleventh studio album by the American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals i ...
'' (May 1966) and the Beatles' ''
Revolver A revolver (also called a six shooter or a wheel gun) is a repeating handgun A handgun is a short-barrelled firearm that can be held and used with one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are revolvers and semi-automa ...
'' (August 1966). Often considered one of the earliest albums in the canon of psychedelic rock, ''Pet Sounds'' contained many elements that would be incorporated into psychedelia, with its artful experiments, psychedelic lyrics based on emotional longings and self-doubts, elaborate sound effects and new sounds on both conventional and unconventional instruments.R. Unterberger
"British Psychedelic"
, AllMusic. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
The album track "
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" is a song by American rock band the Beach Boys from their 1966 album ''Pet Sounds''. Written by Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, the lyrics describe the disillusionment of someone who struggles to fit into society ...
" contained the first use of theremin sounds on a rock record. Scholar Philip Auslander says that even though psychedelic music is not normally associated with the Beach Boys, the "odd directions" and experiments in ''Pet Sounds'' "put it all on the map. ... basically that sort of opened the door – not for groups to be formed or to start to make music, but certainly to become as visible as say Jefferson Airplane or somebody like that." DeRogatis views ''Revolver'' as another of "the first psychedelic rock masterpieces", along with ''Pet Sounds''. The Beatles' May 1966 B-side "
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", recorded during the ''Revolver'' sessions, was the first pop recording to contain reversed sounds. Together with further studio tricks such as varispeed, the song includes a droning melody that reflected the band's growing interest in non-Western musical form and lyrics conveying the division between an enlightened psychedelic outlook and conformism. Philo cites "Rain" as "the birth of British psychedelic rock" and describes ''Revolver'' as "most sustained deployment of Indian instruments, musical form and even religious philosophy" heard in popular music up to that time. Author Steve Turner recognises the Beatles' success in conveying an LSD-inspired worldview on ''Revolver'', particularly with "
Tomorrow Never Knows "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison ...
", as having "opened the doors to psychedelic rock (or acid rock)". In author
Shawn Levy Shawn Adam Levy (born July 23, 1968) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ...
's description, it was "the first true drug album, not
ust UST or Ust may refer to: Organizations * UST (company), American digital technology company * Equatorial Guinea Workers' Union The Equatorial Guinea Workers' Union (UST) is an unregistered trade union in Equatorial Guinea. The Government has r ...

ust
a pop record with some druggy insinuations", while musicologists Russell Reising and Jim LeBlanc credit the Beatles with "set
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ing
the stage for an important subgenre of psychedelic music, that of the messianic pronouncement". Echard highlights early records by
the 13th Floor Elevators The 13th Floor Elevators was an American rock band from Austin, Texas Austin (, ) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas, as well as the county seat, seat and largest city of Travis County, Texas, Travis County, with portions e ...
and
Love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and ...
among the key psychedelic releases of 1966, along with "Shapes of Things", "Eight Miles High", "Rain" and ''Revolver''. Originating from Austin, Texas, the first of these new bands came to the genre via the garage scene before releasing their debut album, ''
The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators ''The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators'' is the debut studio album packaged in book form, like a photograph album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), Phonograph record, v ...
'' in December that year. It was the first rock album to include the adjective in its title, although the LP was released on an independent label and was little noticed at the time. Having formed in late 1965 with the aim of spreading LSD consciousness, the Elevators commissioned business cards containing an image of the
third eye The third eye (also called the mind's eye or inner eye) is a mystical and esoteric Western esotericism, also known as esotericism, esoterism, and sometimes the Western mystery tradition, is a term under which scholars have categorised a wide rang ...

third eye
and the caption "Psychedelic rock". ''
Rolling Stone ''Rolling Stone'' is an American monthly magazine that focuses on music, politics, and popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish ...
'' highlights the 13th Floor Elevators as arguably "the most important early progenitors of psychedelic garage rock". The Beach Boys' October 1966 single "
Good Vibrations "Good Vibrations" is a song by the American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Ch ...
" was another early pop song to incorporate psychedelic lyrics and sounds. The single's success prompted an unexpected revival in theremins and increased the awareness of
analog synthesizer An analog (or analogue) synthesizer is a synthesizer A synthesizer (also spelled synthesiser) is an electronic musical instrument An electronic musical instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound using electronics, electronic ...
s. As psychedelia gained prominence, Beach Boys-style harmonies would be ingrained into the newer psychedelic pop.


1967–69: Continued development


Peak era

In 1967, psychedelic rock received widespread media attention and a larger audience beyond local psychedelic communities. From 1967 to 1968, it was the prevailing sound of rock music, either in the more whimsical British variant, or the harder American West Coast acid rock. Music historian David Simonelli says the genre's commercial peak lasted "a brief year", with San Francisco and London recognised as the two key cultural centres. Compared with the American form, British psychedelic music was often more arty in its experimentation, and it tended to stick within pop song structures. Music journalist Mark Prendergast writes that it was only in US garage-band psychedelia that the often whimsical traits of UK psychedelic music were found. He says that aside from the work of the Byrds, Love and
the Doors The Doors were an American Rock music, rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential ro ...
, there were three categories of US psychedelia: the "acid jams" of the San Francisco bands, who favoured albums over singles; pop psychedelia typified by groups such as the Beach Boys and
Buffalo Springfield Buffalo Springfield was an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical co ...
; and the "wigged-out" music of bands following in the example of the Beatles and the Yardbirds, such as
the Electric Prunes The Electric Prunes are an American psychedelic rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in Cali ...

the Electric Prunes
, the Nazz, the Chocolate Watchband and
the Seeds The Seeds were an American psychedelic Psychedelics are a subset of hallucinogenic drugs whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary states of consciousness (known as psychedelic experience A psychedelic experience (known colloquiall ...
. In February 1967, the Beatles released the double A-side single "
Strawberry Fields Forever "Strawberry Fields Forever" is a song by the English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals inclu ...

Strawberry Fields Forever
" / "
Penny Lane "Penny Lane" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matte ...
", which
Ian MacDonald Ian MacCormick (known by the pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which differs from their original or true name (orth ...
says launched both the "English pop-pastoral mood" typified by bands such as
Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compo ...
,
Family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same Politic ...
,
Traffic Traffic on roads A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadway A carriageway (British English Briti ...
and
Fairport Convention Fairport Convention are a British folk rock British folk rock is a form of folk rock which developed in the United Kingdom from the mid 1960s, and was at its most significant in the 1970s. Though the merging of folk and rock music came fro ...

Fairport Convention
, and English psychedelia's LSD-inspired preoccupation with "nostalgia for the innocent vision of a child". The
Mellotron The Mellotron is an electro-mechanical musical instrument developed in Birmingham, England, in 1963. It is played by pressing its keys, each of which pushes a length of magnetic tape against a Capstan (tape recorder), capstan, which pulls it ac ...

Mellotron
parts on "Strawberry Fields Forever" remain the most celebrated example of the instrument on a pop or rock recording. According to Simonelli, the two songs heralded the Beatles' brand of
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
as a central tenet of psychedelic rock. Jefferson Airplane's ''
Surrealistic Pillow ''Surrealistic Pillow'' is the second album by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane, released by RCA Victor on February 1, 1967. It is the first album by the band with vocalist Grace Slick and drummer Spencer Dryden. The album peaked at ...
'' (February 1967) was one of the first albums to come out of San Francisco that sold well enough to bring national attention to the city's music scene. The LP tracks "
White Rabbit The White Rabbit is a fictional and anthropomorphic Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological cl ...
" and " Somebody to Love" subsequently became top 10 hits in the US. Pink Floyd's "
Arnold Layne "Arnold Layne" is the debut single released by the English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals i ...
" (March 1967) and "
See Emily Play "See Emily Play" is a song by English rock band Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. Gaining an early following as one of the first British psychedelic groups, they were distinguished for their exten ...
" (June 1967), both written by
Syd Barrett Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett (6 January 1946 – 7 July 2006) was an English singer, songwriter, and musician who co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) ...
, helped set the pattern for pop-psychedelia in the UK. There, "underground" venues like the
UFO Club The UFO Club (pronounced "you-foe") was a short-lived part of the UK underground, British counter-culture scene in London during the 1960s. The club was established by Joe Boyd and John Hopkins (political activist), John "Hoppy" Hopkins and fe ...
, Middle Earth Club, The Roundhouse, the Country Club and the Art Lab drew capacity audiences with psychedelic rock and ground-breaking liquid light shows. A major figure in the development of British psychedelia was the American promoter and record producer Joe Boyd, who moved to London in 1966. He co-founded venues including the UFO Club, produced Pink Floyd's "Arnold Layne", and went on to manage folk and folk rock acts including Nick Drake, the Incredible String Band and Fairport Convention.B. Sweers, ''Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music'' (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), , p. 86. Psychedelic rock's popularity accelerated following the release of the Beatles' album ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'' (May 1967) and the staging of the Monterey Pop Festival in June. ''Sgt. Pepper'' was the first commercially successful work that critics recognised as a landmark aspect of psychedelia, and the Beatles' mass appeal meant that the record was played virtually everywhere. The album was highly influential on bands in the US psychedelic rock scene and its elevation of the LP format benefited the San Francisco bands. Among many changes brought about by its success, artists sought to imitate its psychedelic effects and devoted more time to creating their albums; the counterculture was scrutinised by musicians; and acts adopted its non-conformist sentiments. The 1967
Summer of Love The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions of dress and behavior, converged in San Francisco's neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury. ...

Summer of Love
saw a huge number of young people from across America and the world travel to Haight-Ashbury, boosting the area's population from 15,000 to around 100,000. It was prefaced by the Human Be-In event in March and reached its peak at the Monterey Pop Festival in June, the latter helping to make major American stars of Janis Joplin, lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix, and the Who. Several established British acts joined the psychedelic revolution, including Eric Burdon (previously of the Animals) and the Who, whose ''The Who Sell Out'' (December 1967) included the psychedelic-influenced "I Can See for Miles" and "Armenia City in the Sky". The Incredible String Band's ''The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion'' (July 1967) developed their folk music into a pastoral form of psychedelia. According to author Edward Macan, there ultimately existed three distinct branches of British psychedelic music. The first, dominated by Cream (band), Cream, the Yardbirds and Hendrix, was founded on a heavy, electric adaptation of the blues played by the Rolling Stones, adding elements such as the Who's power chord style and feedback. The second, considerably more complex form drew strongly from
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
sources and was typified by Traffic, Colosseum (band), Colosseum, If (band), If, and Canterbury scene bands such as Soft Machine and Caravan (band), Caravan. The third branch, represented by the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum and the Nice, was influenced by the later music of the Beatles. Several of the post-''Sgt. Pepper'' English psychedelic groups developed the Beatles' classical influences further than either the Beatles or contemporaneous West Coast psychedelic bands. Among such groups, the Pretty Things abandoned their R&B roots to create ''S.F. Sorrow'' (December 1968), the first example of a psychedelic rock opera.


International variants

The US and UK were the major centres of psychedelic music, but in the late 1960s scenes began to develop across the world, including continental Europe, Australasia, Asia and south and Central America. In the later 1960s psychedelic scenes developed in a large number of countries in continental Europe, including the Netherlands with bands like The Outsiders (Dutch band), The Outsiders, Denmark where it was pioneered by Steppeulvene, and Germany, where musicians began to fuse music of psychedelia and the electronic avant-garde. 1968 saw the first major German rock music festival, festival, the in Essen, and the foundation of the Zodiak Free Arts Lab in Berlin by Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and Conrad Schnitzler, which helped bands like Tangerine Dream and Amon Düül achieve cult status. A thriving psychedelic music scene in Cambodia, influenced by psychedelic rock and soul broadcast by US forces radio in Vietnam, was pioneered by artists such as Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Serey Sothea. In South Korea, Shin Jung-hyeon, Shin Jung-Hyeon, often considered the godfather of Korean rock, played psychedelic-influenced music for the American soldiers stationed in the country. Following Shin Jung-Hyeon, the band Sanulrim, San Ul Lim (Mountain Echo) often combined psychedelic rock with a more folk sound. In Turkey, Anatolian rock artist Erkin Koray blended classic Turkish music and Middle Eastern themes into his psychedelic-driven rock, helping to found the Turkish rock scene with artists such as Cem Karaca, Mogollar, Baris Manco and Erkin Koray. In Brazil, the Tropicalia movement merged Music of Brazil, Brazilian and Music of Africa, African rhythms with psychedelic rock. Musicians who were part of the movement include Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, and the poet/lyricist Torquato Neto, all of whom participated in the 1968 album ''Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis'', which served as a musical manifesto.


1969–71: Decline

By the end of the 1960s, psychedelic rock was in retreat. Psychedelic trends climaxed in the 1969 Woodstock festival, which saw performances by most of the major psychedelic acts, including Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, and the Grateful Dead. LSD had been made illegal in the UK in September 1966 and in California in October; by 1967, it was outlawed throughout the United States. In 1969, the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca by Charles Manson and his Manson Family, cult of followers, claiming to have been Helter Skelter (Manson scenario), inspired by Beatles' songs such as "Helter Skelter (song), Helter Skelter", has been seen as contributing to an anti-hippie backlash. At the end of the same year, the Altamont Free Concert in California, headlined by the Rolling Stones, became notorious for the fatal stabbing of black teenager Death of Meredith Hunter, Meredith Hunter by Hells Angels, Hells Angel security guards. George Clinton (funk musician), George Clinton's ensembles Funkadelic and Parliament (band), Parliament and their various spin-offs took psychedelia and funk to create their own unique style,J. S. Harrington, ''Sonic Cool: the Life & Death of Rock 'n' Roll'' (Milwaukie, MI: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2002), , pp. 249–50. producing over forty singles, including three in the US top ten, and three platinum albums. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Peter Green (musician), Peter Green and Danny Kirwan of Fleetwood Mac and
Syd Barrett Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett (6 January 1946 – 7 July 2006) was an English singer, songwriter, and musician who co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) ...
of Pink Floyd were early "acid casualties", helping to shift the focus of the respective bands of which they had been leading figures. Some groups, such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, broke up. Hendrix died in London in September 1970, shortly after recording ''Band of Gypsys'' (1970), Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose in October 1970 and they were closely followed by Jim Morrison of
the Doors The Doors were an American Rock music, rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential ro ...
, who died in Paris in July 1971. By this point, many surviving acts had moved away from psychedelia into either more back-to-basics "roots rock", traditional-based, pastoral or whimsical folk, the wider experimentation of progressive rock, or riff-based heavy rock.


Revivals and successors


Psychedelic soul

Following the lead of Hendrix in rock, psychedelia began to influence African American musicians, particularly the stars of the Motown label.[ "Psychedelic soul"], ''Allmusic''. Retrieved 27 June 2010. This psychedelic soul was influenced by the civil rights movement, giving it a darker and more political edge than much psychedelic rock. Building on the funk sound of James Brown, it was pioneered from about 1968 by Sly and the Family Stone and The Temptations. Acts that followed them into this territory included Edwin Starr and the Undisputed Truth. George Clinton (funk musician), George Clinton's interdependent Funkadelic and Parliament (band), Parliament ensembles and their various spin-offs took the genre to its most extreme lengths making funk almost a religion in the 1970s, producing over forty singles, including three in the US top ten, and three platinum albums. While psychedelic rock began to waver at the end of the 1960s, psychedelic soul continued into the 1970s, peaking in popularity in the early years of the decade, and only disappearing in the late 1970s as tastes began to change. Songwriter Norman Whitfield wrote psychedelic soul songs for The Temptations and Marvin Gaye.


Prog, heavy metal, and krautrock

Many of the British musicians and bands that had embraced psychedelia went on to create
progressive rock Progressive rock (shortened as prog; also known as classical rock or symphonic rock; sometimes conflated with art rock) is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid-to late 1960s, peak ...
in the 1970s, including Pink Floyd, Soft Machine and members of Yes (band), Yes. King Crimson's album ''In the Court of the Crimson King'' (1969) has been seen as an important link between psychedelia and progressive rock. While bands such as Hawkwind maintained an explicitly psychedelic course into the 1970s, most dropped the psychedelic elements in favour of wider experimentation. The incorporation of jazz into the music of bands like Soft Machine and Can also contributed to the development of the jazz rock of bands like Colosseum (band), Colosseum. As they moved away from their psychedelic roots and placed increasing emphasis on electronic experimentation, German bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Can (band), Can and Faust (band), Faust developed a distinctive brand of electronic rock, known as kosmische musik, or in the British press as "Kraut rock". The adoption of electronic synthesisers, pioneered by Popol Vuh (German band), Popol Vuh from 1970, together with the work of figures like Brian Eno (for a time the keyboard player with Roxy Music), would be a major influence on subsequent electronic rock. Psychedelic rock, with its distorted guitar sound, extended solos and adventurous compositions, has been seen as an important bridge between blues-oriented rock and later
heavy metal Heavy metal may refer to: *Heavy metals, a loose category of relatively dense metals and metalloids **Toxic heavy metal, any heavy metal chemical element of environmental concern *Heavy metal music, a genre of rock music **Heavy metal genres *Hea ...
. American bands whose loud, repetitive psychedelic rock emerged as early heavy metal included the Amboy Dukes and Steppenwolf (band), Steppenwolf. From England, two former guitarists with the Yardbirds, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, moved on to form key acts in the genre, The Jeff Beck Group and Led Zeppelin respectively.B. A. Cook, ''Europe Since 1945: an Encyclopedia, Volume 2'' (London: Taylor & Francis, 2001), , p. 1324. Other major pioneers of the genre had begun as blues-based psychedelic bands, including Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest and UFO (band), UFO. Psychedelic music also contributed to the origins of glam rock, with Marc Bolan changing his psychedelic folk duo into rock band T. Rex (band), T. Rex and becoming the first glam rock star from 1970. From 1971 David Bowie moved on from his early psychedelic work to develop his The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Ziggy Stardust persona, incorporating elements of professional make up, mime and performance into his act.P. Auslander, "Watch that man David Bowie: Hammersmith Odeon, London, 3 July 1973" in I. Inglis, ed., ''Performance and Popular Music: History, Place and Time'' (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), , p. 72. The jam band movement, which began in the late 1980s, was influenced by the
Grateful Dead The Grateful Dead was an American rock music, rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, Folk music, folk, country music, country, jazz, bluegrass music, bluegrass, ...
's improvisational and psychedelic musical style. The Vermont band Phish developed a sizable and devoted fan following during the 1990s, and were described as "heirs" to the Grateful Dead after the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. Emerging in the 1990s, stoner rock combined elements of psychedelic rock and doom metal. Typically using a slow-to-mid tempo and featuring low-tuned guitars in a bass guitar, bass-heavy sound, with melodic vocals, and 'retro' production,[ "Stoner Metal"], ''Allmusic''. Retrieved 22 May 2009. it was pioneered by the Californian bands Kyuss and Sleep (band), Sleep.E. Rivadavia, [ "Sleep"], ''Allmusic''. Retrieved 22 May 2009. Modern festivals focusing on psychedelic music include Levitation (festival), Austin Psych Fest in Texas, founded in 2008, Liverpool Psych Fest, and Desert Daze in Southern California.


Neo-psychedelia

There were occasional mainstream acts that dabbled in
neo-psychedelia Neo-psychedelia is a diverse genre of psychedelic music Psychedelic music (sometimes called psychedelia) is a wide range of popular music styles and genres influenced by 1960s psychedelia, a subculture A subculture is a group of people wi ...
, a style of music which emerged in late 1970s post-punk circles. Although it has mainly been an influence on alternative rock, alternative and indie rock bands, neo-psychedelia sometimes updated the approach of 1960s psychedelic rock. Neo-psychedelia may include forays into psychedelic pop, jangly guitar rock, heavily distorted free-form jams, or recording experiments. Some of the scene's bands, including the Soft Boys, the Teardrop Explodes, Wah!, Echo & the Bunnymen, became major figures of neo-psychedelia. In the US in the early 1980s it was joined by the Paisley Underground movement, based in Los Angeles and fronted by acts such as Dream Syndicate, the Bangles and Rain Parade. In the late 80s in the UK the genre of Madchester emerged in the Manchester area, in which artists merged alternative rock with acid house and rave culture, dance culture as well as other sources, including psychedelic music and 1960s pop.Echard, William (2017). Psychedelic Popular Music: A History through Musical Topic Theory. Indiana University Press. pp. 244–246 The label was popularised by the British music press in the early 1990s. Erchard talks about it as being part of a "thread of 80s psychedelic rock" and lists as main bands in it the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets. The rave-influenced scene is widely seen as heavily influenced by drugs, especially ecstasy (MDMA), and it is seen by Erchard as central to a wider phenomenon of what he calls a "rock rave crossover" in the late 80s and early 90s UK indie scene which also included the ''Screamadelica'' album by Scottish band Primal Scream. Later according to Treblezines Jeff Telrich: "Primal Scream made [neo-psychedelia] dancefloor ready. The Flaming Lips and Spiritualized took it to orchestral realms. And Animal Collective—well, they kinda did their own thing."


See also

* List of electric blues musicians * List of psychedelic rock artists


Notes


References


Bibliography

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Further reading

* * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Psychedelic Rock Psychedelic rock, Psychedelic music Counterculture of the 1960s 1960s fads and trends 1970s fads and trends 1960s neologisms 1966 introductions British rock music genres American rock music genres