Top 10 Psychedelic Rock Albums of 1969

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin II, we’re taking a look back at the top 10 psychedelic rock albums of 1969.


Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was characterized by distorted guitars, psychedelic effects, and extended improvisation. The genre emerged in the United States and Britain, and reached its peak in the late 1960s.

Some of the most influential psychedelic rock albums were released in 1969, a year often cited as the peak of the genre. This list explores ten of the best psychedelic rock albums released that year.

The Beatles – Abbey Road

Abbey Road is the eleventh studio album by English rock band the Beatles, released on 26 September 1969 by Apple Records. The recording sessions for the album were the last in which all four Beatles participated. Although Let It Be was the final album that the Beatles completed before the band’s dissolution in April 1970, most of the album had been recorded before the Abbey Road sessions began.

And your number two psychedelic rock album of 1969 is… The Beatles’ Abbey Road! Arguably one of their tightest albums from a musicianship standpoint, and definitely one of their darkest and most experimental releases, Abbey Road took The Beatles in a different direction than they had gone before. This time, with only three songs per side, they were able to create longer, more involved tracks that flowed better and weren’t as jarring as some of their past experimentation (cough cough Revolution 9 cough).

The Rolling Stones – Let it Bleed

The Rolling Stones were at the peak of their powers when they released Let it Bleed in 1969. This was the last album to feature Brian Jones, who died shortly after its completion, and it’s also one of the Stones’ darkest and most unsettling releases. Recorded against the backdrop of the Manson Family murders, Let it Bleed is a dark and cynical album that reflects the paranoia and fear of the times. The opening track, “Gimme Shelter,” is one of the Stones’ all-time classics, and the rest of the album is nearly as good. If you’re looking for a taste of late-period Rolling Stones at their best, this is the album to start with.

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin II is the second studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released on 22 October 1969 in the United States and on 31 October 1969 in the United Kingdom by Atlantic Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at several locations in both the United Kingdom and North America from January to August 1969. It was produced by guitarist Jimmy Page.

This album is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential albums of all time. In 2003, Rolling Stone placed it at #49 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2004, they ranked it at #75 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The Who – Tommy

1. The Who – Tommy
2. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
3. Pink Floyd – Ummagumma
4. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II
5. Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
6. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
7. Yes – Yes
8. Genesis – From Genesis to Revelation
9. The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet
10. Cream – Disraeli Gears

Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland

Few debut albums are as groundbreaking and influential as Electric Ladyland, the third and final album from the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Released in 1968, it was the first rock album to be recorded entirely in Hendrix’s own studio, and he took full advantage of the freedom this afforded him, experimenting with new sounds and ideas. The result is a heady, intoxicating blend of psychedelic rock, soul, blues and pop that wowed critics and fans alike. From the opener “…And the Gods Made Love” to the closing cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” Electric Ladyland is a tour de force of late-60s rock.

Pink Floyd – Ummagumma

Released in October of 1969, Ummagumma was the fourth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd. The double album was written and recorded during a period of transition for the band, as they had just added new member David Gilmour and were experimenting with their sound.

The first half of the album is made up of live recordings from a show at the Paris Theater in London, while the second half contains new studio material. The live tracks showcase the band’s strengths as a psychedelic rock band, with extended jams and atmospheric soundscapes. The studio tracks are more experimental, exploring different time signatures and sound effects.

The album was not well-received by critics at the time, but has since been reappraised as one of Pink Floyd’s most ambitious and experimental works. It is now considered an important document of the psychedelic rock movement of the late 1960s.

King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King

In the Court of the Crimson King is the debut studio album by the British rock band King Crimson, released on 10 October 1969 on Island Records in England and Atlantic Records in America. The album was influential both musically and graphically.

The music includes several use of Frippertronics, a tape loop system created by guitarist Robert Fripp, to create soundscapes. The lyrics are inspired by apocalyptic visionaries such as Aleister Crowley, Philip K. Dick, and Hermann Hesse. The striking cover art was designed by Roger Dean. It is often considered one of the first examples of progressive rock and has been cited as an early influence by several prominent musicians, including Dream Theater’s John Petrucci, Genesis’s Tony Banks and Steve Hackett, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Primus’s Les Claypool and Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson.

The album was ranked number 4 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Debut Albums of All Time”. In 2003, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 2009 it was named by Time magazine as one of the all-time greatest albums, and in 2012 it was ranked number 21 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Yes – Yes

1. Yes – Yes
2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
3. Cream – Goodbye
4. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
5. The Doors – The Soft Parade
6. Pink Floyd – More
7.Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II
8. Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers
9. Nirvana – With the Lights Out
10. Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention – Uncle Meat

The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground’s self-titled third album is their first to feature head honcho Lou Reed on lead vocals and is, in retrospect, their most accessible record. The Velvet Underground is where Reed’s pop songwriting sensibilities and taste for avant-garde noise-making perfectly intersected; nowhere else in their discography does the band strike such a perfect balance between pop hooks and experimentation. The Velvet Underground became an influential classic, but it was also the start of something new – an entire subgenre of rock & roll known as glam.

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