The Best of 80s Psychedelic Rock

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Music lovers rejoice! This blog is dedicated to the best of 80s psychedelic rock. From the classics to the hidden gems, we’ll explore everything this genre has to offer.

The Psychedelic Sound

The psychedelic sound of the 80s was a unique time in music. The genre has its roots in the 60s, but the 80s brought it to a new level. The Psychedelic sound of the 80s was a time of exploration and self-discovery. The music was about getting in touch with your innermost self and exploring the world around you.

The Birth of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music that originated in the mid-1960s. Musicians incorporate aspects of psychedelic culture, such as the use of psychedelic drugs, unique fashion and live performances in an attempt to replicate or enhance the experience of a psychedelic state.

The first wave of psychedelic rock began with The Beatles’ 1966 album Revolver, which featured the track “Tomorrow Never Knows”. The Beatles’ use of feedback, distorted guitars and trippy sound effects was a major influence on subsequent psychedelic acts. Other early adopters of the psychedelia sound included The Beach Boys, who experimented with studio effects on their landmark 1966 album Pet Sounds.

The late 1960s saw the true birth of psychedelic rock, with bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix pioneering a new level of sonic exploration. These artists were often inspired by mind-altering substances, resulting in songs that were both trippy and deeply introspective. Psychedelic rock reached its commercial peak in the early 1970s with hits like Carlos Santana’s “Evil Ways” and Don McLean’s “American Pie”.

While the popularity of psychedelia waned in the late 1970s, the genre has continued to influence musicians across all genres in the decades since.

The Elements of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as acid rock or simply psyrock, is a style of rock music that was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The style is characterized by a distinctive sonic palette that includes some or all of the following elements:

-Extended musical passages with complex arrangements and unusual instrumentation
-A focus on atmosphere and texture rather than traditional song structure
-Repetition and drone-like qualities
-A mélange of expanded consciousness, altered states of perception, and spiritually uplifting themes

Psychedelic rock emerged in the mid-1960s as a subgenre of British Invasion pop and garage rock. It was characterized by a heavy use of feedback and distortion, prolonged guitar solos, often courtesy of effects pedals such as the wah-wah pedal, and unusually close relationships between artists and audience.

The Best Psychedelic Rock Bands

The best of 80s psychedelic rock includes some of the most well-known and influential bands of the genre. Pink Floyd, The Doors, and The Grateful Dead are just a few of the bands that defined psychedelic rock in the 60s and 70s.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music.

The band initially consisted of Syd Barrett on lead vocals and guitar, Nick Mason on drums, Roger Waters on bass and vocals, and Richard Wright on keyboards and vocals. Barrett left the band in 1968 due to mental health issues, and was replaced by David Gilmour.

The band’s classic lineup of Gilmour, Waters, Wright, and Mason went on to produce some of the most iconic albums in rock history, including “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973), “Wish You Were Here” (1975), “Animals” (1977), and “The Wall” (1979).

Following Wright’s death in 2008, Gilmour and Mason continued to tour and release new music as Pink Floyd; Waters has also toured and released new music as a solo artist.

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, bluegrass, blues, gospel, and psychedelic rock; for live performances of lengthy instrumental jams; and for its devoted fan base, known as “Deadheads.” “Their music,” writes Lenny Kaye, “touches on ground that most other groups don’t even know exists.” They were ranked 57th in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of all Time and di
eddicated their 1978 album Shakedown Street to Bill Graham.

The Doors

The Doors were one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the 1960s. They were formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1965 by singer/songwriter Jim Morrison and keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who had been friends since college. The two recruited guitarist Robby Krieger and drummer John Densmore, and the band quickly gained a following on the Sunset Strip club circuit.

The Doors’ self-titled debut album was released in 1967 and was an instant hit, propelled by the success of the single “Light My Fire.” The band’s follow-up album, Strange Days, was even more successful, reaching #3 on the Billboard 200 chart. The Doors’ third album, Waiting for the Sun, featured their biggest hit single, “Hello, I Love You.”

The band’s fourth album, The Soft Parade, was released in 1969 and marked a change in direction for the group as they began to experiment with longer and more complex song structures. This experimentation would continue on their next two albums, Morrison Hotel (1970) and L.A. Woman (1971).

Jim Morrison died in Paris in 1971 at the age of 27. The Doors released one final album with Manzarek on lead vocals, Other Voices (1971), before breaking up soon afterwards. The band has since reunited several times for reunion tours, most recently in 2002-2003 to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

The Legacy of Psychedelic Rock

The 1980s were a time of great change in the music industry. With the advent of MTV and the rise of pop and electronic music, the 1980s saw a shift in the sound of rock music. Psychedelic rock, which had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, saw a resurgence in the 1980s. Bands like Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and the Beatles helped to pioneer the sound of psychedelic rock. In this article, we will explore the best of 1980s psychedelic rock.

The Influence of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as simply psychedelic rock, is a subgenre of rock music that emerged in the 1960s and flourished until the early 1970s. The definitive characteristic of psychedelic rock is the use of feedback, or “fuzztone” guitar. This signature sound was popularized by Jimi Hendrix and often imitated by other guitarists in the genre.

Psychedelic rock’s defining features included distorted guitars, feedback, echo effects, lengthy solos, and heavy use of reverb. These elements were often used to create an overall atmosphere of trance-like dissociation from reality. Lyrics were often written about subjects such as drug use, love, and peace. The genre is strongly associated with the counterculture movement of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Psychedelic rock reached its peak of popularity in 1967 with hits such as “Light My Fire” by The Doors and “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix. The popularity of the genre began to decline in the late 1960s as bands such as The Beatles began to experiment with other sounds and styles. Psychedelic rock made a brief comeback in the early 1980s with bands such as R.E.M., but by this time the sound had evolved into other subgenres such as gothic rock and neo-psychedelia.

The End of Psychedelic Rock

The commercial and critical peak of psychedelic rock was 1966 to 1968. Psychedelic music enjoyed something of a revival in the late 1970s and 1980s, but it was not until the 1990s that the genre began to regain its popularity. The renewed interest in psychedelia coincided with a number of other trends, including the popularity of electronic music and the punk rock movement. Psychedelic rock has also been influenced by a number of other genres, including jazz, folk, and world music.

Psychedelic rock reached the end of its commercial viability in the early 1970s, as a number of factors conspired against the genre. These included the rise of punk rock, which rejected many of the values associated with psychedelia; the declining popularity of hippie culture; and changes in drug legislations that made psychedelic drugs less readily available. Nevertheless, psychedelic rock continued to influence a number of other genres throughout the remainder of the 20th century and into the 21st century.

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