The Best Psychedelic Rock Songs of the 1960s

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Best Psychedelic Rock Songs of the 1960s – A list of the top Psychedelic Rock songs from the 1960s. share your favorite Psychedelic Rock songs from the 1960s in the comments!

The Beatles – “A Day in the Life”

Often cited as the greatest song ever written, “A Day in the Life” is the final track on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The song captures the zeitgeist of the late 1960s with its references to drugs, anarchy, and celebrity culture. The song’s iconic opening line, “I read the news today, oh boy,” is followed by a series of vignettes that recount a typical day in the life of someone living in London during that time period. The song culminates with a powerful crescendo that features some of the most famous orchestral arrangements in pop music history.

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”

Recorded in 1966, “Good Vibrations” is one of the Beach Boys’ most popular and well-known songs. The track was credited to Brian Wilson and Mike Love, and it reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December of that year. The song was reportedly inspired by Wilson’s experience with an electrotherapy machine, which he used to treat his worsening anxiety and stage fright. “Good Vibrations” features a number of innovative production techniques, including the use of a theremin, which gives the song its distinctive sound.

The Doors – “Light My Fire”

The Doors’ debut album, The Doors, established the band as one of the most original and exciting new forces in rock music. “Light My Fire” was the first single from the album and it quickly became a huge hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard charts. The song’s success helped to make The Doors one of the most popular bands of the 1960s.

“Light My Fire” is a classic example of The Doors’ signature sound, which combined elements of blues, jazz, and classical music with lead singer Jim Morrison’s dark and poetic lyrics. Morrison’s deep, resonant voice is supported by the band’s driving rhythms and keyboardist Ray Manzarek’s innovative use of organ sounds. The song features one of guitarist Robby Krieger’s most memorable solos, which takes the listener on a psychedelic journey that is both haunting and beautiful.

Despite its commercial success, “Light My Fire” was not an easy song to record. The band spent hours in the studio trying to get the perfect take, and producer Paul A. Rothchild even had to edit together bits and pieces from various takes in order to create the finished product. But all of their hard work paid off, as “Light My Fire” remains one of the most popular and iconic songs of the 1960s.

Jimi Hendrix – “Purple Haze”

As the story goes, “Purple Haze” was written by Hendrix during a London fog. The result is a hazy, lyrically nightmarish track that encapsulates the stoned experience. It may not be as overtly trippy as some of the other songs on this list, but the stop-start nature of the verse and the way it climbs into that unforgettable guitar solo make it one of the most effective psychedelic tracks ever recorded.

The Rolling Stones – “Paint It, Black”

“Paint It, Black” by the Rolling Stones is a perfect example of psychedelic rock. The song was released in 1966 and is about the Vietnam War. The lyrics are written in a very dark and depressing tone, which is typical of psychedelic rock. The song also features a great deal of instrumentation, including sitars and tambourines, which give it a very unique sound.

The Kinks – “You Really Got Me”

Released in 1964, “You Really Got Me” is one of the earliest and most influential examples of psychedelic rock. The Kinks were already a successful band when they recorded the song, but “You Really Got Me” took them to a whole new level of popularity. The song’s distorted guitar sound was created by accident when Kinks guitarist Dave Davies slashed the speakers of his amplifier with a razor blade. The resulting feedback inspired Davies to create one of the most iconic riffs in rock history.

The Who – “My Generation”

The Who – “My Generation”
The first rock song to perfectly capture the sound and spirit of the psychedelic 60s, “My Generation” is a three-chord blast of defiance and youthful energy. Roger Daltrey’s powerful vocals are supported by Pete Townshend’s ferocious guitar playing and Keith Moon’s breakneck drumming, making for one of the most explosive rock songs ever recorded.

The Byrds – “Eight Miles High”

Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker 12-string jangle, Gene Clark’s transcendent lyrics about an airplane ride and David Crosby’s soaring harmonies all come together to make “Eight Miles High” one of the most important psychedelic songs of the 1960s. The song was so influential that it was banned by many radio stations for its “drug references.”

Love – “Forever Changes”

Love’s “Forever Changes” is one of the most beautifully Psychedelic songs of the 1960s. Released in 1967, the song features Arthur Lee’s delicate falsetto over a bed of strings and horns, with lyrics that deal with the fragility of love and relationships. The song was not a commercial success at the time, but has since been hailed as a Psychedelic masterpiece.

Cream – “Crossroads”

Although psychedelia was mostly associated with the hippie movement of the late 1960s, Cream was one of the first rock bands to experiment with the new sound. “Crossroads” is a blues standard which had been previously recorded by Robert Johnson and others, but Cream’s version is definitely the most famous. The song features some of Eric Clapton’s most mind-bending guitar work, and the extended jam at the end is truly mesmerizing.

Similar Posts