Rock & Roll: The Psychedelic Years

Psychedelic rock was a musical genre that emerged in the mid-sixties due to the popularity of such mind-altering drugs as LSD, mescaline, cannabis and peyote mushrooms.  The roots of Psychedelic Rock begin here: On Friday April 16, 1943 (a day later to be known as “Better Friday”) a Swiss chemist named Albert Hoffman, who worked for a company called Sandoz Pharmaceuticals, synthesized a drug called lysergic acid diethylamide which would later be known as LSD-25.  In the course of experimenting with the drug in his lab, Hoffman accidently dosed himself with LSD-25 and began to experience hallucinations.  When Hoffman reported what had happened to his supervisor, he described his experience as “an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness…accompanied by an intense kaleidoscopic play of colors.”  The following Monday, when Hoffman returned to work in his lab, he decided to experiment further with LSD-25 by dissolving 250 micrograms of the drug in a glass of water.  Within an hour of consuming the drug, Albert Hoffman began to embark on the first deliberate acid “trip”. 

 

Eventually, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals decided to market the drug for use in the treatment of people suffering from various types of psychotic illness.  Sandoz also worked with the CIA who employed LSD-25 and other mind altering drugs for use in interrogations.  "The CIA and the military never did find the truth serums or mind-bending weapons that they sought from LSD, psilocybin, and a vast array of other psychedelic drugs. Nor did the psychopharmacologists ever find in psychedelics the wonder drugs that they had hoped for (in part, perhaps, because the powers-that-be eventually put a premature stop to their research). However, this strange conglomeration of historical actors and forces— powerful drugs developed by a profit-driven pharmaceutical industry, well-funded and well-intentioned research scientists and doctors, and the anything-goes mentality of the Cold War intelligence agencies— did succeed in unintentionally spawning a cultural revolution that would, it is not an exaggeration to say, transform the United States and the world in its wake. " (Rick Dodgson. It’s All a Kind of Magic University of Wisconsin Press)

 

WHAT IS PSYCHEDELIC MUSIC?

From the udiscoversite: "Considering it was widely dismissed at the time as merely another momentary fad, and erroneously presumed to be pretty much dead in the water by the middle of 1968, the influence of psychedelic rock runs long and deep. If one is to broadly interpret the term as a catch-all synonym for expansion of the consciousness, psychedelia has been a significant (often drug-assisted) cultural pursuit since ancient times, whether conducted with the utmost ritualistic discipline and seriousness as a means of attaining spiritual enlightenment, or simply as a hedonistic derangement of the senses.

or entire swathes of the record-buying public, their first encounter with psychedelic music was provided by Revolver – the game-changing Beatles album, released in August 1966, that contained so many of the exotic elements that came to define the form. It beguiled, ensnared and, in some cases, disturbed the listener with its fresh, unorthodox textures: reality-shifting tape reversal techniques, tape loops, undulant sitars and opaque lyrics. 

Of course, nothing simply materialises out of nowhere. The mind-remapping initiatives eagerly showcased on Revolver represented a flowering that couldn’t help but burst forth; in a beneficially reciprocal loop, contributors to The Beatles’ expanded worldview included musical peers such as the coolly enigmatic Byrds and the previously surfing-fixated Beach Boys. Bob Dylan, too, though musically far removed from the psychedelic sounds of The Beatles and co, exerted his influence as a conundrum-generating lyricist, and, crucially, as the genial host who allegedly turned John, Paul, George and Ringo on to marijuana in a room of New York’s Hotel Delmonico in August 1964. Furthermore, when George Harrison’s dentist irresponsibly spiked the coffees of Harrison, John Lennon and their wives with LSD at a dinner party in April 1965, his recklessness would have profound implications. 

As is well known, the concluding (and most extreme) track on Revolver was actually the first to be tackled when sessions began in April 1966. ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ drew its eerie  lyric (“Lay down all thought, surrender to the void – it is shining”) from Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert’s book The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based On The Tibetan Book Of The Dead – a much-discussed tome of the day which Lennon had picked up in London’s Indica bookshop in Mason’s Yard. (The bookshop in question, a beacon for London’s arty inner set, was also supported by Paul McCartney.)

Lennon’s desire to sound like “the Dalai Lama singing from the highest mountain top” inspired producer George Martin – a meticulous and ingenious facilitator – to route the vocal through a rotating Leslie speaker, normally used in tandem with Hammond organs. Lennon’s startling, otherworldly declamation consequently sat atop a forbidding edifice of super-compressed drums and chirruping, pinging tape loops, ridden on separate faders during the mix to form the track’s hallucinatory sound collage. In addition, a hard, bright, backward guitar solo bisects the track like ribbon lightning, while others entwine themselves around the mushily enticing somnolence of ‘I’m Only Sleeping’. 

 

The Beatles’ first experiment with reversed tapes on the vocal coda to Rain, the B-side to the band’s Paperback Writer single, had been released two months previously. Lennon always claimed that the notion came about as he accidentally played the tape backwards on his Brenell recorder at home, but George Martin maintained that it was he who suggested applying the technique – an equally credible claim....Also keenly aware of the prevailing swirls in the upper atmosphere were The Beach Boys. 'Psychedelic music will cover the face of the world and colour the whole popular music scene,' Brian Wilson enthused in a 1966 interview. 'Anybody happening is psychedelic.' As ambassadors of universal love, brotherhood and spiritual betterment, they were theoretically bang on trend with the tenets of “flower power” (psychedelia’s entry-level adjunct), while October 1966’s ‘Good Vibrations’ deserves a seat at the very head of the table for the audacity of its multi-layered construction and its impressionistic shimmer alone. The Americana-encompassing SMiLE album project – which Wilson embarked upon after being introduced to erudite fellow songwriter Van Dyke Parks in early 1966 – promised to boldly broach a whole new series of frontiers.

 

Among other pioneering psych adopters were Texas’ 13th Floor Elevators – raving garage-rockers in essence, but lent a philosophical mystique by the studiously earnest LSD evangelism of lyricist and electric jug player Tommy Hall. Their November 1966 debut album, The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators, couldn’t have nailed their freak flag to the mast any more overtly. Hall, by no means an acid dilettante, anonymously penned a provocative sleevenote which countenanced a “quest” towards a higher consciousness – and the churning, roiling ‘Fire Engine’ contains a punning paean to the intensely hallucinogenic drug DMT (dimethyltryptamine). The Elevators’ unstinting acid regimen – actually taking to the stage tripping as a matter of principle – contributed in no small part to Erickson’s pitilessly swift mental decline. The Elevators even shocked the emblematic Grateful Dead, the key figures in San Francisco’s psychedelic scene, when they gigged in the city in August/September 1967. No mean acid crusaders themselves – guitarist Jerry Garcia was affectionately nicknamed Captain Trips – the Dead came to epitomise cosmic freedom for generations of festival-going, tie-dyed Deadheads, right into the 21st Century. From the Dead’s July 1968 second album, Anthem Of The Sun, ‘That’s It For The Other One’ represents an exploratory peak, with instruments panning giddily back and forth across the stereo spectrum, and bluff electronic elements surfacing through the mix like monsters from the id....

Nearly 400 miles south, Los Angeles had its own burgeoning music scene – one capable of accommodating the psychedelic soul of The Chamber Brothers (whose ‘Time Has Come Today’ nearly cracked the US Top 10 in December 1967), the fitful brilliance of the ill-assorted West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (‘I Won’t Hurt You’ from Part One being a faintly creepy, low-glowing highlight) and the opportunistic psych-lite of the exuberantly overdressed Strawberry Alarm Clock, paisley-bedecked human soft furnishings whose ‘Incense And Peppermints’ went all the way to No.1 in May 1967. 

 

Two of LA’s most original acts, however, only skirted psychedelia by default. Love, the well-ahead-of-the-curve multiracial ensemble fronted by the redoubtable Arthur Lee, may have sported a modishly bendy logo and cover art on 1968’s unimpeachable Forever Changes – but in its gentle, troubled introspection, the album was already looking over the next hill. ‘The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This’ does at least constitute an interlude of experiential wonder (“Hummingbirds hum, why do they hum?”), and even features a token wrap of tape manipulation as the track ends. 

 

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, meanwhile, were already well on the way to reconfiguring the psychogeography of gutbucket R&B, convincingly elevating it to a boundary-breaching Dadaist realm. When producer Bob Krasnow applied then state-of-the-art studio effects to Beefheart’s October 1968 second album, Strictly Personal (ie, the backward cymbal and treated vocal on ‘Beatle Bones’n’Smokin’ Stones’), an initially acquiescent Beefheart quickly went on record to decry what he saw as an unnecessary, gimmicky dressing-up of music that was sufficiently edgy in its own right. (Nevertheless, many listeners are just fine with those gimmicks.)

Among the effects in question was phasing, arguably psychedelia’s single most obvious identifier – and, for once, The Beatles were only indirectly responsible. While holed up in London’s Olympic Studios in June 1967 to record the backing track for ‘All You Need Is Love’, their producer George Martin asked for “ADT” (automatic or artificial double-tracking, a technique originated at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios) to be placed on Lennon’s vocal. Unable to comply because Olympic’s tape machines operated differently to EMI’s, tape operator George Chkiantz pledged to devise his own outlandish tape effect – and came up with the sense-warping, harmonic frequency sweep which became known as phasing or flanging...Oddly enough, The Beatles themselves only ever deployed phasing on Magical Mystery Tour’s entranced Blue Jay Way. Their brief psych chapter nevertheless took in such indomitable glories as Strawberry Fields Forever, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and It’s All Too Much, so their pre-eminence in the pantheon is inarguable.

 

The toast of London’s psychedelic underground were Pink Floyd: wilful experimentalists whose audio-visual ambition, not to mention their spectacular incongruity where conventional touring doctrine was concerned, anticipated the festivals and dedicated concert events that proliferated in the following decade. With the precociously talented Syd Barrett at the helm, Pink Floyd produced psychedelia’s most matchless, concise Top 5 snapshot, See Emily Play, while their mysterious August 1967 debut album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, showcased Barrett’s uniquely charming, childlike muse (‘Matilda Mother’, ‘The Gnome’, ‘The Scarecrow’). 

Tragically, Barrett’s psyche unravelled with distressing rapidity, his prodigious LSD intake the major (if not sole) factor, and by April 1968 his place in the band had been taken by David Gilmour. The Mk II Floyd ostensibly blazed a trail for progressive rock with their penchant for extended pieces and commensurately lengthy live performances, but it was a member of Canterbury Scene godheads Soft Machine – Pink Floyd’s regular accomplices in London’s underground clubs – who carried the flame for psychedelia into the 70s and well beyond."

 

The Birth of Psychedelic Rock

From the ebonmusic site: "Psychedelic Rock was derived from the term psychedelia which is the term tagged to people whose culture is strangely affected by psychedelic drugs with their art generally expressing bright colors and animations. This type of music is made popular by bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds and The Yardbirds.  The musicians intended to express mind-altering experiences with hallucinogenic drugs through their music and lyrics. Perhaps under the influence of LSD or (Lysergic acid diethylamide), cannabis and other hallucinogenic drugs, these musicians were able to made music that are truly powerful and influential. 

Psychedelic rock is characterized by soft and meaningful lyrics, heartwarming solos and complex melodies and song structures. They make use of electric guitars, keyboard especially organs and harpsichords. They also make use of studio effects such as the backward tapes, planning and phasing and they associate their music with the non-western style and Indian Music. 

It was the writings of Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley and Arthur Koestler that greatly influenced the minds and thinking of the new generations when it comes to music. The practice of drug use in the music industry has long been used by jazz and blues musicians in the early 1960′s and had only spread among the folk and rock musicians during the late 1960′s and begun including drug references in their music. 

 

It was thought that The Holy Modal Rounders first used the term Psychedelic to describe their music on their version of “Hesitation Blues” in 1964. However, it was at the end of 1965 that the 13th Floor Elevators from Texas first publicized themselves as psychedelic rock.  Bob Dylan and The Beatles were the first to experiment with drugs as their music reference. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Dylan was the most influential and yet after The Beatles was introduced to cannabis, they started to experiment with LSD. They were able to popularized “I feel Fine”, “Norwegian Wood” using a Sitar and also introduced the reversed audio tapes on their 1966 “Rain”. It was in their song “Tomorrow Never Knows” that the drug references became definite. 

Although it started from United Kingdom and United States, it has become phenomenal in between 1967 and 1969 with the Summer of Love and Woodstock Rock Festival. The influence of psychedelic rock had created variations such as the Psychedelic pop and psychedelic soul, it had also made possible for the transition of folk music to progressive rock, hard rock and subsequently emerged to heavy metal. The psychedelic culture and music began to develop in California by the mid-1960. 

It was San Francisco that started American Psychedelic in the music scene but the spread through the American cities was inevitable due to the emergence of quite a number of psychedelic bands such as the Count Butterfly, Love and Spirit from Los Angeles. New York City also had it shares of band such as The Fugs, The Godz and Pearls before Swine and Vanilla Fudge. The last years of 1960′s was when psychedelic rock finally reached its climax and  LSD and other drugs were declared illegal, psychedelic rock took its flight slowly and anti-hippie groups started to emerge."

From the San Francisco Chronicle - Psychedelic rock era opens with gig at Wild West saloon: "Fifty-Four years ago this month, an unknown San Francisco rock group called the Charlatans played at the opening of a saloon in Virginia City, Nev., called the Red Dog. That gig was a key moment in the history of the San Francisco rock scene and the hippie revolution it inspired. The history of the obscure band was expertly told the other day in The Chronicle by Joel Selvin. Equally intriguing is the story of how the Charlatans’ first gig came about — and the weird and wonderful saloon where it happened...The idea for the Red Dog Saloon was hatched by three friends during a six-hour Risk game in a two-room cabin on the outskirts of Virginia City, a dilapidated former Wild West boom town where a young writer working under the pen name Mark Twain had cut his journalistic teeth 100 years earlier...As Mary Works relates in her 1996 film, “Rockin’ at the Red Dog: The Dawn of Psychedelic Rock,” Laughlin joked that the endless game “featured LSD and treaties, both of which turned out to be a mistake.” Somewhere along the way, they began kicking around the idea of opening a Wild West saloon in Virginia City....When the blizzard ended and the acid wore off, Unobsky and his pals decided to make their fantasy a reality. They succeeded beyond their most chemically enhanced dreams. Unobsky’s father lent him $5,000 to purchase and restore an old Virginia City gambling hall called the Comstock House. Unobsky painted the old joint fire-engine red and fixed up the interior in Wild West fashion, with an antique mirror behind a long hardwood bar, red walls, and velvet drapes and gold braids from San Francisco’s old Fox Theater. Light show pioneer Bill Ham came up from the pre-Haight hippie enclave on Pine Street in San Francisco to provide the place with suitably mind-blowing illumination. Unobsky dispatched Laughlin to San Francisco to get more antique fixtures and find the Red Dog a house band. Someone told Laughlin about a new rock group called the Charlatans. 

 

The Charlatans were the brainchild of a San Francisco State boy wonder architect named George Hunter, whom Family Dog commune co-founder Luria Castell called “the first hippie I ever saw in San Francisco.” Hunter had long hair and an immaculate, enigmatic sense of style. He dreamed up the concept of the Charlatans, right down to their clothes and the lettering on their posters. Hunter himself was not a musician, but the band could play. When Chandler tracked them down and asked if they wanted to audition for the Virginia City gig, they jumped at the chance and drove to Nevada.  Unobsky was throwing a dinner for his staff, and he decided that their audition would double as the evening’s entertainment. To make things more interesting, before the band played, he dosed them and everyone else there with LSD. By the time the band hit the stage, they had no idea what they were doing. The gig was an intergalactic train wreck, which ended up with band members trying to play each other’s instruments. After Hunter stumbled offstage, a still-laughing Unobsky greeted him. 'That was the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life', he told Hunter. 'You guys are hired!'...After various mishaps and delays, the Red Dog Saloon finally opened June 29, 1965...

 

A poster designed by Hunter and keyboardist Michael Ferguson touted the Amazing Charlatans, direct from San Francisco as “the limit of the marvelous.” It was the first psychedelic rock poster. It is extremely rare: A mint copy of what is known simply as the Seed is on sale online for $18,250....A big crowd turned out for opening night. They saw a band of Edwardian-attired longhairs playing unclassifiable, roots-American rock, with hypnotic lights flickering on the walls, a bar girl who looked like Miss Kitty, a pistol-firing bartender and a huge Washoe Indian bouncer at the door. The atmosphere was irresistibly odd and exciting, a Mobius strip of acid-fueled self-invention. It felt as if the Old West itself was blaring out through the band’s 10-watt amplifier.  Word about this jumping saloon on the other side of the Sierra got back to San Francisco. People began making the four-hour drive to Virginia City. The two-week gig was extended. 

But the good times in the sagebrush did not last... The Virginia City police raided the Red Dog, found venison in the freezer (the staff claimed it was planted) and arrested Unobsky for poaching. The Charlatans packed up and left town. No sooner had they driven away than a converted bus, painted in psychedelic swirls, drove up to the Red Dog. It was Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, come to check out the craziest saloon on planet Earth. 

The Charlatans never hit the big time. They released several singles, but their only album — made up of bits and pieces and assorted oddities — wasn’t released until 1996. They did not have the impact of groups like the Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother or the Grateful Dead. But they were the first exemplar of what came to be known as the San Francisco Sound. Their style, their sound, the scene they created — these, like their poster, were seeds."

By the mid-sixties, the youth culture which was exploding with new ideas in lifestyles, fashion and music. The rise of the psychedelic counterculture was responsible for such things as… 

Black Light Posters 

A black light poster was capable of mimicking the effects of the new wonder drugs. These colorful posters had the ability to glow and vibrate under ultraviolet light, the posters could simulate the sensations and visual distortions one experienced during an acid trip. 

Along with the groovy black light posters, there was a movement to create new artistic statements for the psychedelic music scene that was rapidly developing.

From the BBC.com site: 

The Trippy Music Posters That Defined The Counterculture

"The psychedelic graphics of the late 1960s evoked the anarchic, iconoclastic energy of the era. Joobin Bekhrad explores a kaleidoscopic world.  With their kaleidoscopes of colour, undulating typography, and all manner of mythical beings, the rock ’n’ roll posters of the late 1960s were often even more psychedelic than the music they represented. In Britain and the US, independent artists and creative collectives aimed not only to spread the word about the musical acts of the day, but also to encapsulate their musical vision and energy via fly-posters.

At the forefront of the rock ’n’ roll poster scene in London towards the end of the decade were Nigel Waymouth and Michael English, who together formed design duo Hapshash and the Coloured Coat. Although the pair only worked together for 18 months, between 1967 and 1969, they nonetheless created some of the most iconic and defining images of their genre, and were instrumental in pushing the boundaries of the rock ’n’ roll poster as a communication medium.

 

While Waymouth worked as an artist with English, his involvement with rock ’n’ roll transcended graphic design. In 1966, a year before partnering with English, Waymouth, along with then-girlfriend Sheila Cohen and John Pearse, opened the fashion boutique Granny Takes a Trip on the King’s Road. One of Swinging London’s prime sartorial destinations (if not the destination), Granny’s regulars included the likes of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, who could often be spotted wearing the store’s hip offerings. In that sense, Granny laid the foundations of Hapshash, which went on to create posters for the boutique, too. 

It was thanks to the founders of London’s UFO club that Waymouth and English, both former art school students, met. Initially, the duo dubbed itself Cosmic Colours, but later changed its name as it was looking for something more novel. “It was an accident,” Waymouth tells BBC Designed. “It was originally supposed to be ‘Hatsheput’, based around the idea of Queen Hatsheput, one of the most powerful women in Egypt who ruled as king… We thought, ‘What a funny idea’, and then got inspired by the biblical story of Joseph and his coloured coat. We wanted a name that people would pay attention to.”

Arresting in their intricacy and sheer beauty, Hapshash’s posters – multiple copies of which were often pasted at a time – not only attracted the interest of passersby, but also demanded attention. “Our designs had a startling effect on the fly-posters of London,” recalls Waymouth. “I’ve often described a block of 20 to 30 posters of a single one of our designs as a ‘powerful visual shock’”. Fly-posting was, of course, illegal, but Hapshash managed to routinely evade the authorities by virtue of their visual appeal. “We got away with the posters as they were so pretty to look at,” says Waymouth. 

So pretty were they, in fact, that many took to collecting them. “They were eye candy to match any psychedelic experience,” says Waymouth, “and it was gratifying as an artist when people started tearing them down to decorate their own walls at home”. That said, it wasn’t only in prohibited public spaces that Hapshash’s posters could be seen; they were also displayed in “outlets that were sympathetic to the underground, counterculture movement”, according to Waymouth, such as particular record, clothing, and book stores, as well as various music venues for which the duo designed posters. 

From a marketing perspective, Waymouth and English’s approach to poster design may seem illogical. Their advertisements – Hapshash was not in the business of creating art for art’s sake – were often difficult to read, especially from afar, and required viewers to invest time making sense of their explosions of words and images. The word ‘UFO’, for instance, on a poster designed for the eponymous London nightclub, can easily be mistaken for a meaningless cluster of squiggles, or the date 1986. On another poster (designed for the same club), the names of the acts scheduled to play and the dates of their performances look as if they are part of the extraterrestrial illustration.

So where did Hapshash’s influence come from? Aside from the music of groups like Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience that they were aiming to reflect, Waymouth and English also looked to particular visual artists and artistic movements. A woman in a promotional poster for the Soft Machine, for instance, brings to mind Aubrey Beardsley’s depiction of Salomé as she appears in the illustrations for the Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name. “We had the work of … Beardsley in our minds,” says Waymouth. Some of their other female figures are similar to those in the work of Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, and elsewhere, there are smatterings of the Tolkienesque (winged dragons and elves), and even Disney characters. “Pop art was obviously prevalent,” recalls Waymouth. “We found our inspiration from a lot of places, but mainly from [artistic] styles from the 1890s to the 1960s. There were [also] a lot of 1920s Art Deco influences around the scene, generally… and I remember we discussed the ephemeral nature of Marcel Duchamp’s Dadaist artworks in great length.”

 

Their posters were meticulously crafted by hand, without the use of any technology. “They designed a unique, new image practically every week, all by hand,” curator John Brett points out. Hapshash’s designs were printed using silkscreens and relatively expensive types of ink, and even techniques such as gradation were painstakingly executed manually by English. What makes the duo’s work even more surprising is the fact that it was made with limited resources. “We were trying to achieve a ‘look’ by working on several layers of silkscreen at a time,” Waymouth explains. “Once the design was nailed, we went into production mode… Each week, Michael and I would go [to our printer] and ask, ‘What colours have you got?’, and he’d bring down a selection that he had available – it was really pot luck… In the ’60s, it wasn’t that high-end. We had to do it cheaply, with set budget costs.” 

Despite all the difficulties involved in their production, Hapshash’s posters were a hit among Londoners. “They loved them!” Waymouth exclaims. “When Joe Boyd and John Hopkins, who ran the UFO Club, realised [this], they started to print off extra posters and runs for sale… They were also distributed by the International Times, [as] John was a co-founder [of] and editor for the paper.” Today, these same posters are not only auctioned for tens of thousands of pounds, but also continue to inspire other artists and creatives. “A lot of the font and printing techniques cultivated during the period can still be seen today,” says Brett. “Hapshash and their contemporaries were pioneers… If you really wanted me to name one artist [they’ve influenced specifically], then it would be Banksy. You can see how his work is influenced by ‘60s counterculture magazines such as OZ, [which was] one title that Hapshash contributed a lot to back in the day.”

Lava Lamps 

From the smithsonianmag.com site - The History of The Lava Lamp: "At a certain moment in the late 1960's, the lava lamp came to symbolize all things counter-cultural and psychedelic—although, as you might expect, those who basked in its lurid glow sometimes had trouble recalling exactly why. It’s like asking, 'Why did we like Jackson Pollock?' says Wavy Gravy, the longtime peace activist and Grateful Dead sidekick. 'Because it was amazing! It causes synapses in your brain to loosen up'. The mesmerizing light fixture...has risen and sunk and shifted its shape in the cultural consciousness for decades. The lamp was invented by Edward Craven Walker, a British accountant whose other claim to fame was making underwater nudist films. He was passing the time in a pub when he noticed a homemade egg timer crafted from a cocktail shaker filled with alien-looking liquids bubbling on a stove top. Determined to perfect the design, and to install a light bulb as the heat source, he settled on a bottle used for Orange Squash soda...Craven Walker’s lamp paired two mutually insoluble liquids: one water-based, the other wax-based. The exact recipe is a proprietary secret, but a key ingredient is the solvent carbon tetrachloride, which adds weight to the otherwise buoyant wax. The heat source at the bottom of the lamp liquefies the waxy blob. As it expands, its density decreases and it rises to the top—where it cools, congeals and begins to sink back down. By the end of the decade, Craven Walker’s company was manufacturing millions of Astro Lamps, as he called them, per year. In 1965, he sold the U.S. manufacturing rights to a company called Lava Lite. Craven Walker didn’t envision the lamps as paragons of grooviness. 'They weren’t marketed like that—they were almost staid', Granger says. Indeed, an ad in a 1968 edition of the American Bar Association Journal touted the executive model—mounted on a walnut base alongside a ballpoint pen."

 

Tie-Dyed Clothing

From Wikipedia: "Tie-dye is a modern term invented in the mid-1960's in the United States but known in an earlier form in 1941 as tied-and-dyed, for a set of ancient resist-dyeing techniques... The process of tie-dye typically consists of folding, twisting, pleating, or crumpling fabric or a garment and binding with string or rubber bands, followed by application of dyes. The manipulations of the fabric prior to application of dye are called resists, as they partially or completely prevent the applied dye from coloring the fabric. Unlike regular resist-dyeing techniques, tie-dye is characterized by the use of bright, saturated primary colors and bold patterns. These patterns, including the spiral, mandala, and peace sign, and the use of multiple bold colors, have become cliched since the peak popularity of tie-dye in the 1960s and 1970s."

 

From the adairgroup.com site: The History of the Tie Dyed T-Shirt: "The term “tie-dye” first appeared in the United States during the 1960’s.  Hippies, who were protesting the Vietnam War and promoting peace and love, began wearing clothing with vibrant colors and psychedelic designs.  This clothing is called tie-dye.   Tie-Dye T-Shirts and dresses were a symbol of non-violence and their popularity quickly spread among America’s youth.  Not to mention how cool the shirts look.  You can imagine how the design and colors of these shirts stood out in the 1960’s amongst all the bland conservative clothing looks of the time.  If you wore tie dye you stood for something!   Around this time, rock ‘n roll bands started to emerge and their message permeated through this counter-culture.  The most prominent was a band called The Grateful Dead. They began playing shows in Palo-Alto, California in 1965 and developed a hardcore lesion of fans known as “deadheads”.  Deadheads would follow them around, city to city, seeing as many live concerts as possible.  Along the way, they had to make money to pay for food and gas in order to get to the next show.   Many of these fans began selling merchandise in the parking lot before and after the Grateful Dead would perform.  The most popular items sold were homemade tie-dye t-shirts."

Many music lovers began wearing tie dyed clothes after seeing such popular musicians as John Sebastian and Janis Joplin wearing tied dyed garments.

 

Origins & Evolution of Psychedelic Music

From the medium.com site - Origin and Evolution of Psychedelic Music: "It is evident in the history that the 1960's was the era of The Hippie Movement. Although, this movement had its roots in the social movements of the 19th century Europe, it was a new wave of social recognition and rebel against system and norms of society. The fundamental idea of this movement was to create and follow the Counterculture, hence gaining the title of Counterculture of the 1960's. The protest and rebellion towards the standard culture of 1960's revolved around the phenomenon of ‘experimentation’ and ‘freedom’ regarding social norms and living standards. This idea of experimentation was also expressed in the form of art and music. As the use of psychedelic drugs had generally become popular in that era, it widely became a source of expression of freedom for the hippie movement as well. As the result of experimentation, rebellion and expression of social power, the Psychedelic music was born. Undoubtedly, the Psychedelic music might have been influenced by the drug use, but on a bigger perspective, the drug intake was itself a form of protest in the 1960's. Consequently, it would not be completely deceitful to claim that the Psychedelic music was the product of the inception of a new culture...At the beginning, many rock artists started composing records of psychedelic nature and soon psychedelic-rock became a popular genre in 1960's. Summer of Love, John Lennon, The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones were the most famous musicians and bands that introduced psychedelia into the rock music."

From the Ebon Music site: “Psychedelic Rock was derived from the term psychedelia which is the term tagged to people whose culture is strangely affected by psychedelic drugs with their art generally expressing bright colors and animations. This type of music is made popular by bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds and The Yardbirds.  The musicians intended to express mind-altering experiences with hallucinogenic drugs through their music and lyrics. Perhaps under the influence of LSD, cannabis and other hallucinogenic drugs, these musicians were able to made music that are truly powerful and influential.  Psychedelic rock is characterized by soft and meaningful lyrics, heartwarming solos and complex melodies and song structures. They make use of electric guitars, keyboard especially organs and harpsichords. They also make use of studio effects such as the backward tapes, planning and phasing and they associate their music with the non-western style and Indian Music....Bob Dylan and The Beatles were the first to experiment with drugs as their music reference. Subterranean Homesick Blues by Dylan was the most influential and yet after The Beatles was introduced to cannabis, they started to experiment with LSD...On Norwegian Wood they used a Sitar and they also introduced the reversed audio tapes on their 1966 Rain. It was in their song Tomorrow Never Knows that the drug references became definite. Although it started from United Kingdom and United States, it has become phenomenal in between 1967 and 1969 with the Summer of Love and Woodstock Rock Festival. The influence of psychedelic rock had created variations such as the Psychedelic pop and psychedelic soul, it had also made possible for the transition of folk music to progressive rock, hard rock and subsequently emerged to heavy metal. The psychedelic culture and music began to develop in California by the mid-1960. It was San Francisco that started American Psychedelic in the music scene but the spread through the American cities was inevitable due to the emergence of quite a number of psychedelic bands such as the Count Butterfly, Love and Spirit from Los Angeles. New York City also had it shares of band such as The Fugs, The Godz and Pearls before Swine and Vanilla Fudge. The last years of 1960′s was when psychedelic rock finally reached its climax when the Beatles released Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. When LSD and other drugs were declared illegal, psychedelic rock took its flight slowly and anti-hippie groups started to emerge." (Ebon Music site)

 

Here’s a short list of some of the best psychedelic albums

that populated my life back in the day...: 

The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was a definite game changer that reflected the youth culture's experimentation with drugs and fascination with alternate states of being.  From the Psychedelic Sight website: "If asked to cite a psychedelic music album, most casual music fans would reply, without hesitation: The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The Fabs’ embrace of flower power and trippy-dopey imagery was in full bloom in the summer of 1967, when the multicolored Sgt. Pepper tumbled onto the world stage. This was not, however, the Fabs’ first visit to the land of psychedelia: Tomorrow Never Knows from Revolver startled fans the summer before, with its frenzied pace and sea of tape loops. Lennon’s slithery acid-tinged Strawberry Fields Forever arrived as a single more than three months before, sharing the vinyl with the gentle psychedelia of Penny Lane."

 

Are You Experienced, one of the most definitive masterworks of the pyschedelic era, announced the arrival of acid rock via a creative firestorm of sound.  The one track that really jumped out at me at that time was Third Stone From The Sun; an instrumental  that was awash in bizarre howling guitar and whooshes of sound that jumped out of the little stereo speakers in my bedroom. At that moment, I suddenly realized that this album had announced that rock & roll had entered a new phase.  From the All Music website: "Jimi Hendrix synthesized various elements of the cutting edge of 1967 rock into music that sounded both futuristic and rooted in the best traditions of rock, blues, pop, and soul. It was his mind-boggling guitar work, of course, that got most of the ink, building upon the experiments of British innovators like Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend to chart new sonic territories in feedback, distortion, and sheer volume. It wouldn't have meant much, however, without his excellent material, whether psychedelic frenzy (Foxey LadyManic DepressionPurple Haze), instrumental freak-out jams (Third Stone from the Sun), blues (Red House, Hey Joe), or tender, poetic compositions (The Wind Cries Mary) that demonstrated the breadth of his songwriting talents. Not to be underestimated were the contributions of drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding, who gave the music a rhythmic pulse that fused parts of rock and improvised jazz."

Kaleidoscope – Side Trips 

The band Kaleidoscope were, in a word, eclectic.  Side Trips, their debut album that was released in 1967, featured a unique mix of a wide variety of genres such as ethereal Indian music, straight ahead roots music, light country pop and world music.  The band was renowned for their collective abilities many instruments. David Lindley (Guitar/banjo/fiddle/mandolin), Solomon Feldthouse (Sax/bouzouki/ dobro/ vina/oud/dombeck/dulcimer/fiddle/guitar/vocals), Chester Crill aka Fenrus Epp and Max Buda (Violin/ viola/ bass/ keyboards/ harmonica), Chris Darrow (Bass/guitar/ mandolin/vocals) and John Vidican (percussion). From the All Music site: “Although the Bay Area may have seemed to corner the market on the psychedelic "Summer of Love", the equally bountiful Los Angeles scene was the breeding ground for one of the more inventive units of the mid- to late-'60s. The incipient incarnation of Kaleidoscope synthesized rock & roll with roots and world music, first yielding Side Trips (1967), arguably the most diverse effort of 1967. Their ten-track outing features multi-instrumentalists Solomon Feldthouse (Although the Bay Area may have seemed to corner the market on the psychedelic "Summer of Love", the equally bountiful Los Angeles scene was the breeding ground for one of the more inventive units of the mid- to late-'60s. The incipient incarnation of Kaleidoscope synthesized rock & roll with roots and world music, first yielding Side Trips (1967), arguably the most diverse effort of 1967… The combo evolved from Lindley's string band interests, Darrow's love of the Beatles' early records and Feldthouse's exotic-sounding Eastern excursions. After being signed by Epic, they initially wanted to operate under the surreal moniker of the Neoprene Lizards with Barry Friedman (aka Frazier Mohawk) collaborating from the producer's chair. Further galvanizing Kaleidoscope and Side Trips is the strength of the original material. The mid-tempo ballad Please was picked as the single, while the album's overall mood and cerebral vibe are front and center on Darrow's trippy If the Night and Keep Your Mind Open. Feldthouse's suitably surrealistic Egyptian Gardens concisely demonstrates his distinct contributions, as does the Lindley composition Why Try. From the other side of the pop spectrum are the layered vocal harmonies of Pulsating Dream and the overt jug band influence heard on Cab Calloway's signature Minnie the Moocher, as well as the traditional tunes Come On In and Hesitation Blues.”

 

Love - Forever Changes

Love was a psychedelic combo out of Los Angeles that created Forever Changes, one of most enduring psychedelic albums of all time.  As a 15 year old boy in 1967, it took awhile before I realized how amazing  this album was .  From the All Music website: "Love's Forever Changes made only a minor dent on the charts when it was first released in 1967, but years later it became recognized as one of the finest and most haunting albums to come out of the Summer of Love, which doubtless has as much to do with the disc's themes and tone as the music, beautiful as it is. Sharp electric guitars dominated most of Love's first two albums, and they make occasional appearances here on tunes like A House Is Not a Motel and Live and Let Live, but most of Forever Changes is built around interwoven acoustic guitar textures and subtle orchestrations, with strings and horns both reinforcing and punctuating the melodies. The punky edge of Love's early work gave way to a more gentle, contemplative, and organic sound on Forever Changes, but while Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean wrote some of their most enduring songs for the album, the lovely melodies and inspired arrangements can't disguise an air of malaise that permeates the sessions. A certain amount of this reflects the angst of a group undergoing some severe internal strife, but Forever Changes is also an album that heralds the last days of a golden age and anticipates the growing ugliness that would dominate the counterculture in 1968 and 1969; images of violence and war haunt A House Is Not a Motel, the street scenes of Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hillsdale reflects a jaded mindset that flower power could not ease, the twin specters of race and international strife rise to the surface of The Red Telephone, romance becomes cynicism in Bummer in the Summer, the promise of the psychedelic experience decays into hard drug abuse in Live and Let Live, and even gentle numbers like Andmoreagain and Old Man sound elegiac, as if the ghosts of Chicago and Altamont were visible over the horizon as Love looked back to brief moments of warmth. Forever Changes is inarguably Love's masterpiece and an album of enduring beauty, but it's also one of the few major works of its era that saw the dark clouds looming on the cultural horizon, and the result was music that was as prescient as it was compelling."

 

Released in late 1967 by Warner Bros. Records, Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle album was an eclectic masterwork that featured  a cavalcade of various music genres, including bluegrass, ragtime, and show tunes, and frames classical styles in the context of 1960s pop music. 

From the All Music site: "an Dyke Parks moved on from the Beach Boys' abortive SMiLE sessions to record his own solo debut, Song Cycle, an audacious and occasionally brilliant attempt to mount a fully orchestrated, classically minded work within the context of contemporary pop. As indicated by its title, Song Cycle is a thematically coherent work, one which attempts to embrace the breadth of American popular music; bluegrass, ragtime, show tunes -- nothing escapes Parks' radar, and the sheer eclecticism and individualism of his work is remarkable. Opening with "Vine Street," authored by Randy Newman (another pop composer with serious classical aspirations), the album is both forward-thinking and backward-minded, a collision of bygone musical styles with the progressive sensibilities of the late '60s; while occasionally overambitious and at times insufferably coy, it's nevertheless a one-of-a-kind record, the product of true inspiration."

Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun 

Anthem of the Sun, Grateful Dead’s second album, was released in 1968 and I remember buying it at a Woolworth's store when it came out.  I have to admit that the album really caught me off guard as it challenged the average listener in many ways.  Mickey Hart, who had recently become the band’s second drummer, has stated that Anthem of the Sun “...was our springboard into weirdness.”  

From the Wikipedia site: “The band entered American Studios in Los Angeles in November 1967 with David Hassinger, the producer of their eponymous debut album. However, determined to make a more complicated recorded work than their debut release, as well as attempt to translate their live sound into the studio, the band and Hassinger changed locations to New York City. By December they had gone through two other studios, Century Sound and Olmstead Studios.  Eventually, Hassinger grew frustrated with the group's slow recording pace and quit the project entirely while the band was at Century Sound, with only a third of the album completed. It has been reported that Hassiner left after guitarist Bob Weir requested he create the illusion of ‘thick air’ in the studio by mixing recordings of silence taken in the desert and the city. Returning to San Francisco's Coast Recorders, the band recruited their soundman, Dan Healy, to help produce. In between studio sessions, the band also began recording their live dates. Healy, Garcia, and Lesh then took these concert tapes (encompassing two Los Angeles shows from November 1967, a tour of the Pacific Northwest in January and early February 1968, and a California tour from mid-February to mid-March 1968) and began interlacing them with existing studio tracks. Garcia called this mixing it for the hallucinations.  Drummer Bill Kreutzmann explained, ‘Phil and Jerry were the ones who figured out that we could exploit studio technology to demonstrate how these songs were mirrors of infinity, even when they adhered to their established arrangements. It's the old paradox of improvisational compositions. Jazz artists knew all about the balance between freedom and structure, but a few rock bands were now catching on. Most rock bands, however, tended to head in an opposite direction, afraid of the uncertainty of improvisation. We decided that Anthem of the Sun was going to be our statement on the matter’. 

Tom Constanten, a friend of Lesh and Garcia, joined the band in the studio while on leave from the United States Air Force to provide piano, prepared piano, and electronic tape effects influenced by John Cage. Constanten would formally join the band following his discharge in November 1968; however, his contributions to the band's sound were more evident in the studio than in live shows, and Anthem of the Sun was no exception. Constanten developed piano pieces that sounded like three gamelan orchestras playing at once and created effects by setting a spinning gyroscope on the piano soundboard. Likewise, the rest of the band used a large assortment of instruments in the studio to augment the live tracks that were the base of each song, including kazoos, crotales, harpsichord, timpani, trumpet, and a güiro. Garcia commented that parts of the album were ‘far out, even too far out... We weren't making a record in the normal sense; we were making a collage.’ He also acknowledged the influence of Lesh's study of Stockhausen and other avant-garde artists. Warner Bros. executive Joe Smith was noted as characterizing Anthem of the Sun as 'the most unreasonable project with which we have ever involved ourselves.' Drummer Bill Kreutzmann's description of the production process describes the listening experience of the album as well: ‘...Jerry and Phil went into the studio with Dan Healy and, like mad scientists, they started splicing all the versions together, creating hybrids that contained the studio tracks and various live parts, stitched together from different shows, all in the same song — one rendition would dissolve into another and sometimes they were even stacked on top of each other... It was easily our most experimental record, it was groundbreaking in its time, and it remains a psychedelic listening experience to this day.'"

The Zombies - Odyssey and Oracle

i consider the Zombies Odessey & Oracle a true lost psychedelic classic.  From the pitchfork website: "The Zombies' 1968 classic is generally categorized as a psych-pop treasure, but despite what its cover art and legacy suggest, its complex arrangements and baroque instrumentation-- much like The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society-- were idealized harbingers of today's indie pop. Decades ahead of its time, Odessey and Oracle is the final statement from an unfortunately short-lived band, and stands as one of the late 60s' greatest achievements...While Odessey and Oracle is definitely one of the great rediscovered works of the psychedelic era-- an under-appreciated record of beauty and foresight-- albums like Love's Forever Changes, Van Dyke Parks' Song Cycle, and even the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, expanded minds with wider sonic palettes and more daring song structures. The Zombies' four-track recordings subsist on the band's unique style and succinct composition: carefully crafted vocal melodies, bold chord changes and winding resolutions, all colored by heavenly harmonies and strings. While it wasn't exactly "freakout" music aimed at squares, Odyssey and Oracle is still notable for its experimental bend. The Zombies convinced EMI to let them record it at Abbey Road free of all corporate influence (read: no producers), allowing the band to indulge whatever musical fantasies they came up with. Some members of the band-- most prominently keyboardist Rod Argent-- would go on to careers in prog-rock, and seeds of that genre poke through here. The first clue is an unhealthy preoccupation with historical and literary figures, from the Shakespeare quote in the liner notes, to the Faulkner-derived "A Rose for Emily", to "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)"-- inspired by bassist Chris White's WWI obsession-- The Zombies wore over-education on their sleeves. In many ways, Odessey foretells the flowery baroque prose of 10-minute prog epics to come. Classicism extends to The Zombies' playing as well; they were formally trained musicians with overt interests in "art music" and jazz. More overtly, there's the sectional composition of their songs, apparent in "Changes", which is most emblematic of the jarring cut-and-paste thematic shifts that separated the fans from the great unwashed.  Though it may not represent the sprawling, tripped-out experimentation of their times, The Zombies' unique brand of lyric wit and daring arrangement expanded the limits of pop. Odessey and Oracle stands as the band's fully realized statement of intent, the parting shot from one of the few originals in the devolving tail-end of the 1960s."

 

 

Here's some of my favorite Psychedelic Singles

that populated my life back in the day...

 

01. Eight Miles High - The Byrds

02. Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix

 

03. Hot Smoke & Sassafras - Bubble Puppy

04. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles

05. Fallin Off The Edge of My Mind - The Seeds

06. Sunshine Superman- Donovan

07. Time Has Come Today - The Chambers Brothers

 

08. I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night - The Electric Prunes

09. Crimson & Clover - Tommy James & The Shondells

10. Over Under Sideways Down - The Yardbirds

11. Itchycoo Park - Small Faces

12. Paper Sun - Traffic

13. I Can See For Miles - The Who

14. My White Bicycle - Tomorrow

15. Open My Eyes - Nazz

 

16. 2000 Light Years From Home - Rolling Stones

17. People Are Strange - The Doors

18. I Feel Free - Cream

 

17. Journey To The Center of Your Mind - The Amboy Dukes

18. Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan

19. Pictures of Matchstick Men - Status Quo

 

20. Flowers in the Rain - The Move

 

The End of the Psychedelic Era

From Wikipedia: "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. In 1966, LSD had been made illegal in the US and UK.[ In 1969, the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca by Charles Manson and his cult of followers, claiming to have been inspired by Beatles' songs such as 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 Meredith Hunter by Hells Angel security guards. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Peter Green and Danny Kirwan of Fleetwood Mac and Syd Barrett 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, 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."

 

From the New York Times (June 2, 1985)

Psychedeli Rock Stages A Comeback (Robert Palmer)

"Do you think you might be able to find your old paisley shirts, Nehru jacket, granny glasses and love beads in the back of a closet somewhere? If so, get them out; you're going to be needing them. Psychedelic rock is back, complete with electric sitars, ragalike droning, fuzztone guitars, loopy lyrics inviting you to 'open your mind,' and song titles like Radar EyesSundown on Venus, and Euphoric Trapdoor Shoes. It's beginning to look like the summer of 1985 will be a replay of the summer of '67 - the ''summer of love. 

The season's most talked-about hit album, Prince's Around the World in a Day is pure psychedelia, from its garish, multicolored cover art to its musical styles and lyrics. Open your heart, open your mind, its first song invites, for 'a wonderful trip through our time,' with an accompaniment of cello, oud, and finger-cymbals. Prince is even calling his private recording studio Paisley Park. When he first played his new album for Warner Bros. records, earlier this spring, the company's conference room was ankle-deep in flowers, and Prince pointedly sniffed at a fragrant blossom throughout. 

You don't have to look much further to encounter Tom Petty's hit single Don't Come Around Here No More, an affectionate revival of late-60's raga-rock that features David A. Stewart of Eurhythmics on electric sitar. The song's promotional video uses the 'Alice in Wonderland' imagery so beloved by 60's psychedelic bands, with Mr. Stewart, dressed as a caterpillar, playing his sitar atop a large toadstool.

 

These evocations of vintage psychedelia at the top of the pop charts -and there are quite a few others - are reflections of a trend that has been on the rise in the rock underground for the past several years. As recently as the early 1980's, most up-and-coming new bands would have laughed at the very idea of love beads, flower power, long hair and hallucinatory lyrics. These things were associated with hippies, and since the birth of punk and new wave rock in the mid-1970's, hippies have been decidedly out of fashion. 

Now, hippie-come-lately rock groups are sprouting everywhere. In Los Angeles, bands like Green on Red and the Three O'Clock have been lumped together in a paisley underground, and like-minded bands have been springing up in Arizona (Meat Puppets), Milwaukee (Plasticland), New York (Vipers, Mosquitoes and so forth) and elsewhere. A few of these bands - Washington's Slickee Boys and New York's Fuzztones, for example - are built around older musicians who were playing psychedelic rock in the 60's. But most of them consist of young musicians who were children back when the Beatles sang that all you need is love. A group like the Jet Black Berries can get excited about liquid light-shows, early Pink Floyd records, psychotronic films (a term for trash-horror and youth-cult movies popularized by Michael Weldon's definitive book, Encyclopedia of Psychotronic Film), and the collected works of the 19th-century British occultist Aleister Crowley because for them, these things are new discoveries.

What makes a specific group or album psychedelic? The most widely accepted terminology can be confusing, particularly when it comes to distinguishing psychedelia or the paisley revival from the widespread garage-band revival, which is patterned on the mid-60's American bands that responded to the period's British invasion - the Seeds, the Standells, and the Music Machine, for example. 

Perhaps the most useful distinction can be derived from the term psychedelic itself, which was intended to mean mind opening or mind expanding. In the broadest sense, the newer psychedelic bands all aim to expand or alter the listener's awareness, some with mesmerizing music, others with provocative lyrics, many with both. And psychedelic bands make music that is firmly rooted in the more progressive rock of the middle and late 60's, whether the preferred models are Syd Barrett's early Pink Floyd, the Beatles from Rubber Soul through Magical Mystery Tour, or the harder-edged, more rhythm-and-blues-inflected styles of the Rolling Stones and the American garage-rockers."

 

From the medium.com site (April 26, 2018)

Origin and Evolution of Psychedelic Music

"In present, the main purpose of this Psychedelic music is to create the state of ‘trance’ or ‘rapture’ with intense and high notes of music to alter the state of human consciousness. For those who do not agree with the idea of drug intake, the goal is to create the effects of drugs without the actual use of drugs. At the beginning, many rock artists started composing records of psychedelic nature and soon psychedelic-rock became a popular genre in 1960s. Summer of Love, John Lennon, The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones were the most famous musicians and bands that introduced psychedelia into the rock music.

The obsession with psychedelia was far spreading and by the 1970s other genres of music also got infused with the wave of psychedelic culture. As a result, multiple sub-genres of Psychedelic music kept emerging including; psychedelic pop, psychedelic funk, psychedelic soul, chillwave, hypnagogic pop and many other standard genres imbued with the traces of psychedelia.

In the 1990s, the electronic music was also impacted by the psychedelic culture which resulted in the inception of Psychedelic Trance, Acid Techno, Acid house and Rave genres of music. Irrespective of other genres, the Psychedelic rock or Psych-rock was the most prominent genre of psychedelic music until the end of 20th century. 

In the 21st century, ‘Neo-hippies’-the descendants of 1960s hippies, introduced new forms of arts and music still following the phenomenon of counterculture. Most musical bands of this era are eccentric and fusions of more than one genre. A 2005 rock band, “The War on Drugs”, for instance, is a combination of neo-psychedelia, indie rock, heartland rock and Americana. Another emerging band “Revolushn” found in 2014, is a fusion of psychedelic rock and hard rock. The band perfectly portrays its influence of the rebellious and unconventional music of 1960s. However, it manages to maintain the balance by incorporating the more conventional form of hard rock music into its new album called Further.

The music of this generation has evolved into multiple genres to the point where it get confusing and hard to discriminate. However, the fusion of different genres of music is undoubtedly fascinating and serves a greater cause of freedom of expression and experimentation to this day."



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2 comments

  • jersey joe

    jersey joe Ohio

    Wow. Hot Smoke & Sassafras. Your page is like an epic. Are you prepping a book or do you just jot this stuff down in 15 minutes? Thanks for the share. You made me add “I Had too Much to Dream Last Night” to my play list. Keep on.

    Wow. Hot Smoke & Sassafras. Your page is like an epic. Are you prepping a book or do you just jot this stuff down in 15 minutes?
    Thanks for the share. You made me add “I Had too Much to Dream Last Night” to my play list.
    Keep on.

  • Mind Smoke Records

    Mind Smoke Records

    Jersey Joe....Donovan said best, "Sunshine came softly a-through my a-window today Could've tripped out easy a-but I've a-changed my ways..."

    Jersey Joe....Donovan said best, "Sunshine came softly a-through my a-window today
    Could've tripped out easy a-but I've a-changed my ways..."

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