The Best Psychedelic Rock Albums of 1966

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the best psychedelic rock albums of 1966.

The Beatles – Revolver

Released in the UK on August 5, 1966, Revolver was The Beatles’ seventh studio album and the first to be wholly recorded using four-track technology. Though Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band would ultimately eclipse it in terms of both commercial and critical success, Revolver is widely considered to be one of the finest albums in the band’s canon and one of the most important records of the 1960s.

Recorded primarily at Abbey Road Studios in London between April and June of 1966, Revolver found The Beatles pushing the boundaries of both their songwriting and their sound, experimenting with new instrumentation (sitar, Mellotron, organ) and techniques (backwardmasking, tape loops) under the guidance of producer George Martin. The results were often dazzling, as on the opener “Taxman,” the psychedelic tour de force “Tomorrow Never Knows” and the beautiful John Lennon-penned closer “I’m Only Sleeping.” Elsewhere, McCartney turned in two of his finest tracks to date in “Eleanor Rigby” and “For No One,” George Harrison showcased his burgeoning skills as a guitarist with “Love You To” and “I Want To Tell You,” and Ringo Starr delivered one of his most memorable performances on the rollicking rocker “Yellow Submarine.”

In many ways, Revolver was a harbinger of things to come not just for The Beatles but for rock music as a whole, poised as it was at the crossroads between pop and psychedelia. It’s an album that’s aged remarkably well over the past five decades, still sounding fresh and vital today.

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds: Although The Beach Boys had been experimenting with psychedelic sounds since 1965, it wasn’t until their eleventh studio album, “Pet Sounds”, that they fully embraced the genre. The album is widely regarded as one of the best of the 1960s, and contains some of the band’s most well-known tracks, including “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “God Only Knows”.

The Rolling Stones – Aftermath

Aftermath, released in 1966, is the fourth British studio album by the Rolling Stones. It was originally released in the United States as an LP record with a different sequence of tracks and without theŚćź track, which was edited out due to US drug laws at the time. The US version also included “Paint It, Black”, which had been a number 1 hit in the US.

The album reached number 1 on both the UK chart and the US Billboard 200 chart, and has sold over five million copies worldwide. Aftermath was hailed as a revolutionaryalbum when it was first released, and is credited as one of the first psychedelic rock albums. It features some of the Stones’ most famous songs, including “Paint It, Black”, “Under My Thumb”, and “Mother’s Little Helper”.

The Kinks – Face to Face

The Kinks released their fourth studio album, Face to Face, in 1966. The album was a commercial and critical success, reaching number four in the UK and number 45 in the US. It was praised for its catchy hooks and accessible songwriting, and is today considered one of the best psychedelic rock albums of 1966.

The Who – A Quick One

The Who – A Quick One is the second studio album by the English rock band The Who, released on 9 December 1966. The album was initially met with mixed reviews but has since been recognised as one of the best psychedelic rock albums of 1966.

The Animals – Animalism

The second album from The Animals is a classic example of psychedelic rock, and one of the best psychedelic albums of 1966. The record is full of excellent songs, including the classics “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.” Animalism is an essential album for any fan of psychedelic rock.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?

Are You Experienced is the debut studio album by English-American rock band the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Released in 1967, the LP was an immediate critical and commercial success, and it is widely regarded as one of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music. The album features Jimi Hendrix’s pioneering fusion of blues and rock guitar styles with overdubbed feedback and tape delay techniques that creates one of the first notable uses of psychedelic sound in popular music.

The Yardbirds – Roger the Engineer

Roger the Engineer is the third studio album by English rock band The Yardbirds. It was recorded in December 1965 and released in July 1966. Though often seen as a transitional album between the band’s R&B beginnings and their later psychedelic experiments, it actually contains elements of both. Individually, a number of tracks anticipated trends that would reach fruition during the next few years.

Released in Britain on 15 July 1966 by Columbia (EMI) and in America on 5 September by Epic (CBS), Roger the Engineer reached number four on Billboards Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and has been praised by many critics as one of the best psychedelic rock albums of 1966. In 2003, Rolling Stone included it at number 405 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

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