The Best of Psychedelic Rock

Looking for the best of psychedelic rock? We’ve got you covered. From the classic sounds of the 60s to the modern revival of the genre, we’ll guide you through the best of what psychedelic rock has to offer.

The Beatles – “Tomorrow Never Knows”

“Tomorrow Never Knows” is the final song on The Beatles’ album Revolver. It was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The song has been described as a “textbook example of psychedelic rock”. It features looped tape effects, reverse drums, an innovative use of fuzz bass, and sitar.

The song was influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead and its concept of transcending the ego death. Lennon later said that his experience with LSD inspired him to write the lyrics. Paul McCartney said that the song was “our attempt to go beyond limitations, to open our minds more”. George Harrison used a reverse-sound technique on his guitar solo, which was created by playing the tape backwards.

The song was recorded in 1966 and released in 1967. It was a commercial success, reaching number one in the UK and number 66 in the US. In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked it number 468 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”

This 1966 single from the Beach Boys is one of the most iconic and influential tracks in psychedelic rock history. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, and featured an innovative production technique known as “the blend”, which combined multiple tracks of vocals and instruments to create a unique sound. The track also featured a theremin, which added to its otherworldly atmosphere.

The Doors – “The End”

The Doors – “The End”

From the moment it starts, with its tribal drumming and Morrison’s primal howl, “The End” is an intoxicating journey into the dark side of the human psyche. It’s a tour de force of psychedelic rock, with each member of the band working at the top of their game. Ray Manzarek’s organ playing is particularly hypnotic, while Robbie Krieger’s guitar work weaves in and out of the mix, creating an otherworldly atmosphere. The result is a song that is both unsettling and strangely beautiful.

Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”

Released in 1968, “All Along the Watchtower” was one of Jimi Hendrix’s most popular songs. The song was originally written and recorded by Bob Dylan, but Hendrix’s cover is the version that is most remembered. This cover took the song to a whole new level and added a new dimension to psychedelic rock.

Pink Floyd – “Careful with That Axe, Eugene”

Released in 1968, Pink Floyd’s second single was a siren call of a track that warned listeners to be “careful with that axe, Eugene.” The song was written by Roger Waters and is one of the band’s most well-known tracks.

The track features searing guitars, a pounding drumbeat, and chilling vocals that create a sense of unease and dread. The song is also notable for its use of sound effects, including a heartbeat and Floyd member Syd Barrett making strange noises into the microphone.

“Careful with That Axe, Eugene” is a classic example of psychedelic rock at its finest. The song is both eerie and beautiful, and it showcases Pink Floyd’s talent for creating atmospheric music.

The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”

The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”

The Rolling Stones are one of the most important and influential rock bands of all time. They have been responsible for some of the greatest music ever made, and “Gimme Shelter” is one of their best. This song is a perfect example of the band’s ability to take elements of blues, rock, and country and fuse them into something new and fresh. The result is a truly iconic song that has stood the test of time.

The Velvet Underground – “Venus in Furs”

The Velvet Underground’s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, is one of the most influential and innovative records in rock history. Combining elements of rock, pop, avant-garde, and European art music, the Velvets created a sound and a style that would be adopted and adapted by countless artists in the years to come. “Venus in Furs” is one of the band’s best-known songs, and it perfectly encapsulates their unique sound.

The song was written by Lou Reed, and it was inspired by the eponymous novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The novel is about a man who derive sexual pleasure from being whipped and dominated by a woman, and Reed saw parallels between this relationship dynamic and the power dynamics between men and women in general. The lyrics of “Venus in Furs” reflect this theme, with Reed singing from the perspective of a man who desires to be dominated by a woman.

Musically, “Venus in Furs” is built around a simple chord progression played on an electric guitar. Reed’s guitar playing is sparse and approximate, giving the song an off-kilter feel that perfectly suits its subject matter. The song also features some unusual sound effects, including typewriter clicks and Simulation 8th notes on an electric bass guitar. These sound effects help to create an otherworldly atmosphere that further enhances the song’s surreal quality.

The Velvet Underground were not commercially successful during their time together as a band, but they did have a profound impact on the development of rock music. “Venus in Furs” is just one example of their unique combination of musical innovation and lyrical insight, and it remains one of their most beloved songs.

The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a classic example of psychedelic rock. The song was released in 1971 on the album Who’s Next and is one of the band’s most popular songs. The song features a number of elements that are characteristic of psychedelic rock, including distorted guitars, feedback, and a heavy use of reverb.

Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”

Many people would say that “Kashmir” is Led Zeppelin’s best song. It was inspired by a trip that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant took to Morocco, and it definitely has a psychedelic feel to it. The opening bars are some of the most iconic in rock music, and the whole song is just an epic journey. If you’ve never heard it, you need to check it out – it really is one of the best songs ever written.

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