THE TOP 13 HISTORIC, CLASSIC and OBSCURE 1960s PSYCHEDELIC SONGS
A Psychedelic song, like an LSD trip, is experienced by people differently. However, many Psychedelic songs share classic common sounds that everyone experiences; distorted electric guitars, image-rich and/or deep meaningful lyrics, long spacey jams, feedback, reverb, wah-wah, echoes, sitars, and improvisational experimentation.
These are some of the easily recognized sounds of Psychedelic Music.
But that is just the sound, and not the feeling behind it.
The one difference that typifies a Psychedelic Song from others is that in its original state it was music made mostly by Heads for Heads . . . and that’s probably the easiest and best definition of an original Psychedelic Song.
It’s the reason that musicians were exploring these types of sounds – to musically express the mind-expanding feelings of the Psychedelic Hallucinogenic LSD Mescaline Psilocybin Opium, Hashish, Marijuana Trip experience.
That doesn’t mean that anyone else couldn’t appreciate the song, but what it does mean is that once “experienced”, expanded consciousness reveals important life concepts about art, people, nature, life and love – and in this case it opens you up to a whole new level of appreciation and understanding of many categories and genres of music.
A good example is that before psychedelics, 00individual just couldn’t get into jazz that much, tried, but didn’t have the ability to understand and relate – it was too unstructured.
After psychedelics, 00individual became unstructured himself, and eagerly embraced nearly all forms of Jazz throughout the decades.
Herbie Mann’s “I’m Comin’ Home” Live from The Villager Gate 1961 was a staple late night groove back at the Beach Pad in ’69 and a perfect LSD end-trip mellower.
There are three on this list that actually have the power to achieve a Psychedelic level that transcends the rest – not better, but deeper – they reach a Psychedelic emotional level where the words and music become one sound that allow you an emotional peek behind the curtain to experience that sound’s environment in its dimension.
THE TOP 13 HISTORIC, CLASSIC and OBSCURE 1960s PSYCHEDELIC SONGS
Presented in chronological order – ‘cept the last.
Before the spacey sounds of Pink Floyd there were The Ventures, who along with Dick Dale, were the seminal innovators of guitar-driven Rock.
The Ventures in Space album reigns as the very first instrumental Space Rock album with its mesmerizing otherworldly Rock tracks, beats, rhythms and spacey guitars from the future.
What makes this album truly amazing is that the slip cover states “that all the unique, unworldly sounds featured in the album’s tracks were made with musical instruments, rather than with electronic devices.”
An All Time Favorite – this album is Solid Space-Guitar Drum-tastic Rock evidenced by entering The Fourth Dimension.
This painfully obvious and excruciatingly wonderful Psychedelic song is the Historical linchpin of Psychedelic Rock and the zenith of The Beach Boys Legacy.
Almost too good to be relegated to any list, this was the perfect blend of Pop / Rock / Psychedelia and it came at the height of the British Invasion to pretty much show the world that although the UK dominated the airwaves, the US had The Beach Boys who embodied all that was good coming out of the UK and the U.S., and at the same time Good Vibrations was the seminal song to lead the Psychedelic era and the Summer of Love and truly rivaled anything on Sgt. Peppers.
THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION
Help I’m a Rock – 8:37 – 1966
The term, Freak Out, became part of the Hippie Lexicon along with Far Out, Groovy, Right On and hold-overs; Cool, Wicked and Bitchen.
At fifteen and a half 00individual was at that age where he could taste the future – a license and a car were still at least another six months away. A car would provide unlimited freedom to make things happen; like a private place to spend some quality time with his girlfriend(s) and also the freedom to motivate around town and flex his freaky muscles.
But at the same time he was still a kid and enjoyed senseless kid stuff. One such outlet was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention; like all of the heroes of the day they thumbed their noses at rules and restrictions and gave us a sense of power and plenty of smiles.
At this juncture the Freak Out album was like our theme to stay young, for just a while longer.
Now this isn’t to say that Zappa’s music was childish and immature, far from it, and we knew it; the biting sardonic wit and general satiric attitude fit perfectly with our adolescent/young adult Heads.
Back in the mid-to-late sixties those of us with licenses and cars would cruise Sunset Strip and Hollywood Boulevard and then make a stop at Wallich’s Music City because they had record listening booths. We’d grab the Mothers’ Freak Out Double LP and play it over and over having a great time ‘til we could eventually sing along and about then we would be asked to leave.
Psychedelic? Well,while writing this post 00individual had a goofy psychedelic grin-on while listening and singing along with this song for the first time in a long time. This was a Trip! The avante garde wit and musical “rap” choreography was quite psychedelic in that your head goes away for a while, if you pay close attention, which 00individual did, and his mind manifested, so yeah, definitely psychedelic.
The Yardbirds were way ahead of everyone else with their Having a Rave Up album in regard to embracing the Psychedelic Sound.
With I’m A Man they created and introduced Beck’s tight manic Psychedelic strum – a sound that climaxed with those acid rush peak feelings when your brain squirts out of the top of your head, momentarily.
Shapes of Things was a quasi anti-war zeitgeist Hard Rockin’ Psychedelic track of deep meaning and questions of the future, the present and the past – and with a guitar break featuring Beck introducing “Truth”.
00individual can’t say enough about The Yardbirds (but will have to, due to self-limitations) as they were and still are one of his Top Favorite Bands of All Time and that’s even before he knew of the fact that the band had three of Rock’s Top Guitarists of All Time. Wicked tracks!
This song is a perfect example of a highly Psychedelic song coming in under the radar.
Some sources say that “Sunshine Superman” was one of the first Psychedelic songs, and depending where your head is at, this could be true. Donovan infused his unique Folk Rock into a Mystical Cosmic Rock all of his own and became a leading Counter Culture figure of the Psychedelic Sound. Where Your Love Like Heaven, The Trip, Hurdy Gurdy and many others oozed with iconic Psychedelic goodness.
But for 00individual, the Psychedelic Shadow cast by Season of the Witch was far more reaching. Whereas all the others literally took you to another place, SOTW took you to an inner place.
Preceding The Doors by a year, the tone of this Gem is a place where pleasure and paranoia mix with lyric and vocals that are so musical that the aura is really that of LSD and Heroin; a world of heightened psychedelic mellowness with a groovy underlying heavy vibe. Great Jimmy Page guitar throughout.
A very stoned psychedelic classic that fell right in the groove, then, and now.
COUNTRY JOE & THE FISH
Section #43 – 7:27 – 1967
Some Psychedelic songs are so emblematic of the period that dropping the needle at any point within the track will emit a strange but true time machine element that encapsulates the entire Psychedelic era of Head Shops, Record Stores, Patchouli incense, Concerts, hangin’ out gettin’ high, cruisin’ gettin’ high and living the Counter Culture Vibe. Section #43 is that.
THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
Purple Haze – 2:46 – 1967
What can one say?
THE LEMON PIPERS
Through With You – 9:06 – 1967
With “Through With You” the Lemon Pipers showed a much deeper feel for the psychedelic fun of their big hit “Green Tambourine” .
After the short beginning vocals this nine minute plus excursion into creative psychedelic exploration really takes off. This track exemplifies the free-form music that represents the Counter Culture’s appreciation for extended jams to enjoy while tripping out – whether stoned, or not.
This song was a fun zeitgeist combination of trippy lyrics, a Hard Rockin’ beat, a great vocal by Kenny Rogers, psychedelic demonic/angelic choruses and some nice back-trackin’ guitar.
The Overt mind-bending lyrics filled with psychedelic imagery, which now to some will seem silly, were appreciated and welcomed fun for us Hippies as we weren’t cynical and negative – we heard these lyrics as a close approximation of verbal and aural interpretations of what we had felt or seen while on hallucinogenics.
Whether this song was meant as a warning about LSD or its endorsement didn’t matter, it Rocked.
This track is stone-connected to 00individual’s early serious drug exploration days and was a perfect mystical album imprint for psychedelic experiences.
The occult power behind this infectious Cajun Voodou Rocker was mesmerizing, mystical, groovy –Psychedelic!
It created a mood of twilight in the Bayou; of people seen and heard through the silhouetted trees as they danced around a fire, of clandestine meetings where spirits were contacted, of psychotropic ingestion, of skulduggery afoot, of romance and lust, of spells cast under the full moon, of thrills and intrigue, of an inviting ivy-covered archway entrance at the edge of the woods that compels you to enter and step off into the cosmos, for you must be able to say,
“I Walk On Guilded Splinters” with the King of the Zulu.”
Pictured is the original Island Records vinyl album cover of this electronic tripped-out album.
We were busy Psychedelic Kidz and only late at night or on a time-out from an LSD trip did we engage in this electronic ambient soundscape as it could get intense.
Tangerine Dream’s Electronic Meditation album, only available as Import vinyl, was the closest to this experimental music – both were thee visionary leaders of electronica with TD eventually reaching astonishing heights in Rock Music Electronica,Ambient Soundtrack History.
Both bands are the karmic direct descendants of Edgard Varese; the Father of Electronic Music.
The whole An Electric Storm album is great; side two contains this psychedelic track and the super spooky Visitation.
CTA (CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY / TERRY KATH
Free Form Guitar – 6:47 – 1969
Before there was Chicago, there was CTA; Chicago Transit Authority.
And before they became the brilliant but middle-of-the-road hit factory band Chicago, they were a unique extremely talented influential Jazz/Big Band Rock Group.
It took a bit for 00individual to warm up to these tracks as the horn and jazz arrangements took some getting used to, BUT underlying it all was a sold base of exuberant Rock. And while Chicago in any form could never be labeled a Psychedelic Band, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t the desire or ability.
Terry Kath, vocalist and guitarist, cuts loose with this Psychedelic Masterpiece, Free Form Guitar, on their debut ’69 double album.
00individual is not a guitarist and can’t read one note of music, but hearing this solo he knows that to some ears this is just noise, but to the Psychedelic Ear it is an Opera, a Full Length Action Movie, a Sonic Spectacle, and a soulful Epic Tour De Force with Kath giving a Jackson Pollack delivery of intuitive and deliberate evocation.
Like Dr. John the Night Tripper’s entry, and Donovan’s, some songs delivered Psychedelic moods and feelings that were mystical, elusive, but connected to that Psychedelic part of the brain that altered the mental environment.
Here is a nearly Occult song with a very mysterious psychedelic aura. This feeling was not quite understood by 00individual’s 12 year old ears and mind in 1963. There was something eerily enchanting and otherworldly about this song and it still haunts 00individual to this day. He is not alone, many musicians and artists agree.
This is an example of the direct feelings one gets when on psychedelics; a shift in consciousness that is noticeable even if not explainable.
There were a few pre-Psychedelic-era songs that touched off LSD feelings way before 00individual actually took his first trip.
This song was one of the first Trips 00individual took without drugs – unless of course, that this track was actually, by design or accident, a sonic drug with a perfect combination of aural sounds to trigger one’s neurotransmitters and cause a psychedelic euphoric mood and feeling.
00individual strongly believes through experience, that this is true and that certain sounds and whole songs or albums even, have the power to not only exhilarate but to deliver a psychedelic dose equal to that of any aspect of a low-level LSD trip and/or a euphoric state of mind.
Sally Go ‘Round The Roses has that Psychedelic ability. Dig It.
00individual speaks Tribal Truth.
CHECK OUT THE ORIGINAL PART ONE
THE TOP 13 HISTORIC and CLASSIC 1960s PSYCHEDELIC SONGS
Top 13 Historic & Classic Psychedelic Albums 1967
Top 13 Historic and Classic 1970s Psychedelic Songs
Top 13 Historic and Classic 1970s Psychedelic Songs
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