The Best of Psychedelic Rock Songs

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

A list of the best psychedelic rock songs of all time, as decided by the experts.

The Best of Psychedelic Rock Songs

Psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that emerged during the mid-1960s. The best psychedelic rock songs are characterized by their trippy, mind-bending soundscapes, and often incorporate elements of Eastern philosophy and culture. If you’re looking for a mind-altering musical experience, look no further than these 10 psychedelic rock songs.

The Beatles – “A Day in the Life”

“A Day in the Life” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles that was released as the final track of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Credited to Lennon–McCartney, it was mainly written by John Lennon with contributions from Paul McCartney. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential songs in popular music history.

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations” from the album Pet Sounds released in 1966. The Beach Boys worked with Brian Wilson on this song who used a Theremin to create the unique sound.

Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”

“All Along the Watchtower” is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. The song initially appeared on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, and it has been included on most of Dylan’s subsequent greatest hits compilations. Since the late 1970s, he has performed it in concert more than any of his other songs. Different versions appear on various live and official releases.

The song has been described as one of Dylan’s most covered songs, with over 1,500 recorded versions by a variety of artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, U2, Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead, Ralph McTell, Neil Young and Dave Matthews Band. Hendrix’s version, released six months after Dylan’s original as a single from the soundtrack to the film Wonder Boys (2000), became a Top 40 hit in several countries and is generally considered one of the greatest cover songs ever recorded.

The Doors – “Light My Fire”

“Light My Fire” is a song by the American rock band The Doors. It was recorded in August 1966 and released in January 1967 on their self-titled debut album. Released as a single in July 1967, it spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in September and peaked at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart the following month.

The song was written by guitarist Robby Krieger, and its most prominent feature is singer Jim Morrison’s long, improvised vocal coda. Despite differing claims by Morrison and producer Paul A. Rothchild about who contributed what to the song, consensus among band members has it that Krieger wrote almost all of the music and Morrison almost all of the lyrics. Ray Manzarek played bass line on a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass, using proper bass technique (plucking with his right hand).

The original recording was overdubbed many times; Rothchild has stated that between 40 and 50 takes were recorded for the lead vocal alone. Drummer John Densmore has said that “a world record for overdubbing” might have been set during production of “Light My Fire”. In his memoir Ride My See-Saw, Densmore says that he “was panned hard left”, while Manzarek’s piano was panned hard right; he recalls that Rothchild experimented with numerous other placements for their respective instruments before settling upon this position for the final mix. Krieger’s guitar solo was overdubbed twice; once high in the mix and once low, giving an unusual stereo image to this section of the recording.

Pink Floyd – “Another Brick in the Wall”

From their eleventh studio album, The Wall, this song was released as a single in 1979. Itn became one of the most famous rock anthems of all time. The song is about conformity and protest against authority.

The Best of Psychedelic Pop Songs

Psychedelic pop songs often explore themes of drug use, mental illness, and social alienation. The best of these songs are psychedelic masterpieces that create a sense of euphoria and transcendence. They are often characterized by their use of trippy sound effects, mind-bending lyrics, and unconventional song structures.

The Beatles – “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney), based on a drawing his then three-year-old son Julian had made of his classmate Lucy O’Donnell. The song is from the Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and was also released as a single that year. The song’s title does not appear anywhere within the lyrics, which as with many of their early hits were nonsensically whimsical.

The song is widely recognized as an early psychedelic pop classic, with its hallucinogenic imagery and sound effects being prototypical of the genre. It has been ranked number 30 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

The Beach Boys – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

The Beach Boys – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”
From their groundbreaking album Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys tell the tale of young love and all the joys that come with it in this beautiful pop track. The harmonies are what make this song, with each part working perfectly in tandem with the others to create a delightful wall of sound. The production is top-notch as well, with Brian Wilson’s use of reverb and other sonic effects adding to the song’s dreamlike atmosphere. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is a timeless tune that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their age or musical taste.

Jimi Hendrix – “Purple Haze”

Released in 1967, “Purple Haze” was the first single from Hendrix’s landmark album Are You Experienced. The song features distorted, fuzzed-out guitar and lyrics about being lost in a “purple haze.” Hendrix’s signature use of feedback and distortion forever changed the sound of rock & roll, and “Purple Haze” is one of the most iconic examples of his sonic innovation.

The Doors – “People Are Strange”

The Doors’ breakout hit, “People Are Strange” is a perfect example of the psychedelic pop song. Released in 1967, the song features lead singer Jim Morrison’s ethereal vocals backed by a dreamy, distorted guitar melody. The result is a song that sounds like it’s beamed in from another dimension.

Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”

Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”

This is one of the most iconic songs of all time, and for good reason. The lyrics, the composition, and of course that unforgettable guitar solo by David Gilmour all come together to create a song that has stood the test of time. When you hear this song, you can’t help but feel a sense of comfort and nostalgia.

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