1960s Psychedelic Rock Songs to Listen to Now

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In the 1960s, Psychedelic Rock emerged as a new genre of music. Here is a list of some of the best Psychedelic Rock songs from the 1960s that you can listen to now.

The Beatles – “A Day in the Life”

Considered by many to be one of the best songs ever written, “A Day in the Life” was the finale on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. It was a perfect example of the band’s psychedelic experimentation, with its collage of sound effects, reversed tapes, and Lennon and McCartney’s contrasting vocals. The song also caused controversy because of its reference to an athlete who “blew his mind out in a car,” which was interpreted by some as a veiled reference to drug use.

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”
From their 1966 album Pet Sounds, “Good Vibrations” is one of The Beach Boys’ most iconic and well-loved tracks. The unique sound of the Theremin (played by Bruce Johnston) gives the song an otherworldly feeling that perfectly complements the lyrics about love and happiness.

The Doors – “Light My Fire”

“Light My Fire” is one of The Doors’ most popular and well-known tracks, and it epitomizes the Psychedelic Rock sound of the late 1960s. Released in 1967, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it one of only two tracks by The Doors to do so. “Light My Fire” is a lengthy track clocking in at almost 7 minutes, and its extended jam at the end is a perfect example of the band’s improvisational style.

Jimi Hendrix – “Purple Haze”

Jimi Hendrix’s anthemic “Purple Haze” is one of the most well-known psychedelic rock songs ever written. Hendrix’s unique brand of guitar playing and songwriting was heavily influenced by psychedelic drugs, and “Purple Haze” is a perfect example of his style. The song features Hendrix’s signature wah-wah guitar sound, as well as a catchy hook that will stay in your head for days.

Jefferson Airplane – “Somebody to Love”

“Somebody to Love” is a song by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane, released as the first single from their second album, Surrealistic Pillow, in 1967. The song was written by Darby Slick, the brother-in-law of band guitarist Jorma Kaukonen. It peaked at number #5 on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Cash Box Top 100 chart. In Canada, it reached number #2 on RPM’s national Top Singles chart.

The Kinks – “You Really Got Me”

The Kinks’ Ray Davies wrote “You Really Got Me” in 1964, when he was just 21 years old. The song is a perfect example of the British Invasion sound that was taking the world by storm in the 1960s. It’s also one of the first songs to feature heavy distortion and power chords, which would become a staple of hard rock and heavy metal in the 1970s and beyond.

The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black”

The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black”
Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, this song was released as a single in 1966 and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The lyrics are written in the first person point of view of a soldier who is describing the loss of his will to live after seeing the death and destruction around him. The dark, minimalist music reflects the soldier’s despair and features one of the earliest examples of a sitar being used in a pop song.

The Who – “My Generation”

The Who – “My Generation”: This is one of the most well-known psychedelic rock songs of all time, and for good reason. The driving guitars, pummeling drums, and Pete Townshend’s maniacal vocals come together to create a perfect sonic storm that is as exhilarating as it isbrutal.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Fortunate Son”

This energetic masterpiece was written by John Fogerty during the Vietnam War as an anti-war and anti-draft song. It became an instant hit, going to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the highest-charting anti-war song at the time. With its thumping bassline and searing guitars, “Fortunate Son” is one of the most iconic tracks of the 1960s.

Sly and the Family Stone – “Everyday People”

“Everyday People” is a song written by Sly Stone and releasd by his band Sly and the Family Stone in 1968. The song became an instant hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and winning a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Group. “Everyday People” is a classic example of psychedelic soul, with its groovy bassline, catchy hooks, and positive message.

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