Do I Wanna Know? A Guide to Psychedelic Rock

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


This blog post explores the question of whether or not you “wanna know” about psychedelic rock. It covers the basics of what psychedelic rock is, its history, and some of the key bands and artists associated with the genre.

What is Psychedelic Rock?

Psychedelic rock is a genre of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s. Psychedelic rock music is intended to replicate and enhance the experience of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. The genre is often characterized by extended improvisation, colorful sound effects, and the incorporation of Eastern musical elements.


Psychedelic rock, also known as garage rock, is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It is characterized by a distorted, fuzzy sound that is often described as “acid rock” or “garage rock”. Psychedelic rock often incorporates elements of other genres, such as blues, folk, country, and jazz.

The first psychedelic rock song is thought to be “It’s All Over Now”, which was released by The 13th Floor Elevators in 1966. The genre reached its peak in the late 1960s with bands like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Pink Floyd. Psychedelic rock began to decline in the early 1970s, but has since experienced a resurgence in popularity.


Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s.Characterized by its use of feedback, distorted guitars, elaborate studio effects, and trippy lyrics, psychedelic rock was meant to replicate the mind-altering experiences of hallucinogenic drugs. The genre reached its peak of popularity between 1966 and 1968, with bands like The Beatles, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Pink Floyd becoming household names. Though it has since fallen out of favor with mainstream audiences, psychedelic rock has exerted a considerable influence on subsequent generations of musicians.

Notable Psychedelic Rock Bands

Psychedelic rock, also known as acid rock, is a style of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s. The style is characterized by distorted guitars, feedback, and heavy use of drugs, particularly LSD. psychedelic rock bands were often associated with the hippie movement.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later utilised several genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways during the progression of their eight-year career. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication in subsequent years, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the counterculture of the 1960s.

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are not often thought of as a psychedelic rock band, but they were one of the first to experiment with the genre. Their 1966 album Pet Sounds is widely considered to be one of the most influential albums of all time, and it features several psychedelic elements. The Beach Boys continued to experiment with psychedelia on their subsequent albums, including Smile (1967) and Friends (1968).

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was an English rock band that was started in 1965. The band achieved worldwide success with their psychedelic and progressive rock music. They are known for their complex compositions, lengthy songs, and innovative album covers. The band’s most popular album is “The Dark Side of the Moon” which was released in 1973. Other notable albums include “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” (1967), “Atom Heart Mother” (1970), and “Wish You Were Here” (1975).

The Legacy of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also known as acid rock, is a subgenre of rock music that evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The style is distinguished by a distorted, psychedelic sound and a Floydian focus on extended instrumental passages. Psychedelic rock often seeks to replicate the experience of altered states of consciousness, such as those induced by LSD. The genre is also credited with paving the way for other genres such as progressive rock, neo-psychedelia, and space rock.

Psychedelic Rock Today

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music that was influenced by the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. The style originated in the mid-1960s with artists such as the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. Psychedelic rock often incorporates elements of other genres, including Folk, Jazz, and Eastern music.

The legacy of psychedelic rock has been continued by a new generation of artists who are inspired by the original sound. These artists have taken the sound in new directions, incorporating different influences and creating a new wave of psychedelia.

Psychedelic rock today is as diverse as it was in the 1960s, with artists exploring different sounds and experimenting with new ideas. Some current artists that are keeping the legacy alive include Tame Impala, Allah-Las, MGMT, and Temples.

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