Psychedelic music can be found in all genres of music. Rock n’ roll does not have the corner on this form of expression. True its roots primarily come from rock n’ roll of the 1960’s when artists would combine electric sounds and Eastern influences stimulated by the use of mind-altering drugs (LSD being the catalyst for most psychedelic music of the Sixties). Nevertheless, psychedelic music could be found in folk, pop, soul and even Western art music.
Also known as Acid Rock, psychedelic music can be defined as simply surrealism or dream like. The Beatles are well known for their psychedelic music of the mid Sixties. Songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “I Am the Walrus” were supposedly drug induced. Many artists and their music of the Sixties have been associated with hallucinogenic drug use. Acts included Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. The real question being, were these acid rock songs written while on acid (LSD) or is it simply music one listens to while on acid? If I were to guess I would say a little of both.
One needs to keep this in the back of his mind–the music business is just that a business. A big part of an artist’s success is perception, good or bad. Whatever will sell records.
Other acts of the Sixties that have over the years been considered psychedelic music makers are Iron Butterfly, The Byrds, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Country Joe and the Fish. Even the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson’s efforts to match The Beatles released the album “Pet Sounds”. Later the single “Good Vibrations” would become a big Beach Boys hit.
Since its conception in the Sixties, psychedelic rock or acid rock still plays an influential roll to artists and performers today.