- The Beatles – “A Day in the Life”
- The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
- Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”
- Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”
- The Doors – “Riders on the Storm”
- Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”
- Cream – “Crossroads”
- The Grateful Dead – “Dark Star”
- The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
- King Crimson – “Starless”
Looking for the best psychedelic rock songs of all time? Look no further! This blog post will give you a list of the top songs in this genre, perfect for getting you in the mood for a trip.
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 primarily written by John Lennon with assistance from Paul McCartney. It is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest songs ever written.
The song originated with an unfinished piece of music that Lennon had composed in early 1967, which he titled “Life Line”. He later wrote the lyrics “I read the news today, oh boy / About a lucky man who made the grade”, which formed the basis for the song’s opening verse. McCartney helped contribute to this section, writing its middle eight section. The lyrics “I’d love to turn you on” were added at McCartney’s suggestion and refer directly to drug use; this was inspired by Lennon’s recent experience with LSD. The recording of “A Day in the Life” began on 19 January 1967 and involved dozens of takes, during which elements were gradually overdubbed onto three-track master tapes. By late February, Beatles producer George Martin had decided that a new sound—defined by string parts arranged byGeorge Harrison and mallet percussion played by Brian Jones—was needed for these sections; these overdubs were completed on 9 March.
Although technically challenging, “A Day in the Life” was completed in just over a month and ended up being one of Sgt. Pepper’s most celebrated tracks. Its launch sequence includes Ringo Starr counting off each measure with his drums before it launches into John Lennon’s dreamlike vocals; these describe two contrasting newspaper articles: one about an everydayman (Lennon) who dies unexpectantly after winning the pools, while the other is about 40000 holes being dug in Blackburn, Lancashire for a new town development project (an event that actually occurred during March 1967). The first verse ends with harmonic minor chords creating an unsettling mood before abruptly changing to major chords and Stalinist ordering (“number 9”) during labour time while constructing said town; this segues into Starr’s drum solo as well as lead guitar licks double-tracked by both Harrison and Lennon while they sing “everybody LIVES”. In contrast, Paul McCartney contributes his own lyrical section describing an individual overcoming different obstacles in life (“gets high”). The song concludes with all four Beatles singing wordlessly over another orchestral crescendo before it fades out on a single note from Ringo Starr’s high-hat cymbal playing low-bouncing quarter notes for fourteen measures straight.”
The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
One of the most important and influential bands of all time, the Rolling Stones released “Gimme Shelter” in 1969. The song, which is about the Vietnam War, is considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time and is a perfect example of the band’s signature bluesy, psychedelic sound.
Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”
One of the most iconic electric guitar solos of all time, “Comfortably Numb” is also one of the most popular examples of psychedelic rock. The song was written by Roger Waters and David Gilmour for the 1979 album The Wall, and it recounts the story of a rock star who numbs himself with drugs in order to cope with the pressures of fame. “Comfortably Numb” has been covered by many artists over the years, but Pink Floyd’s version remains the most well-known.
Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”
“Kashmir” is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was composed by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and is included on the band’s eighth studio album, Physical Graffiti (1975). With its eastern instrumentation and Magnum opus length, “Kashmir” has been described as Led Zeppelin’s “most ambitious and extraordinary” work. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #62 on their list of the “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”.
The Doors – “Riders on the Storm”
“Riders on the Storm” is a song by American rock band the Doors from their 1971 album, L.A. Woman. The song was released as a single on May 1, 1971, and peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was one of the last singles released by the group before lead singer Jim Morrison’s death three months later.
Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”
In 1968, Dylan released the song as a single, with a slow, bluesy arrangement that reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” is a completely different beast: a fuzzed-out, feedback-drenched explosion of sound that sounds like nothing else from the era. It remains one of Hendrix’s most popular songs and is widely considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
Cream – “Crossroads”
This song is often cited as one of the best examples of psychedelic rock. It was released in 1968 on the album Wheels of Fire. The song is about a battle between good and evil, with the crossroads being a metaphor for the choices we make in life.
The Grateful Dead – “Dark Star”
One of the most important and influential American rock bands of all time, the Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star” is a perfect example of their unique psychedelic sound. Combining elements of folk, country, blues, and jazz with extended improvisational jams, the Dead created a sound that was entirely their own. “Dark Star” is revered by fans and critics alike as one of their finest moments, and its impact can still be felt today.
The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a 1971 song by the English rock band The Who. Written by Pete Townshend, it was released as a single in June 1971, reaching No. 9 in the UK, and was later included on the band’s eighth studio album, Who’s Next.
The song is about the betrayal of trust and is considered one of The Who’s most political songs. It features Townshend’s famous power chord riff and a long synthesizer solo from keyboardist Rick Wright.
King Crimson – “Starless”
“Starless” is a song by the British progressive rock band King Crimson, originally released on their 1974 album Red. The song was written by singer and guitarist John Wetton, drummer Bill Bruford and keyboardist Richard Palmer-James.
The song is notable for its use of atonality, mixed meter and unusual time signatures. It has been described as “one of the most beautifully eerie pieces of music ever written” and “one of the most important works in the history of progressive rock.” In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked it #43 on their list of the “100 Greatest Prog Rock Songs of All Time.”