French Psychedelic Rock Bands You Need to Know About

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


If you’re a fan of psychedelic rock, then you need to check out these French bands that are making waves in the music scene.


Here is a list of French psychedelic rock bands that you should know about. These bands have all made significant contributions to the genre and have helped to shape the sound of psychedelic rock over the years.

-The Pretty Things
-The yardbirds
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-The Charlatans
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-Spooky Tooth
-John’s Children

The History of Psychedelic Rock in France

Psychedelic rock, also known as “acid rock”, is a style of rock music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The style is defined by a psychedelic sound that incorporates distorted guitars, feedback, and other sound effects. French psychedelic rock bands were some of the first to experiment with this new sound. These bands would go on to influence the development of psychedelic rock in other countries.

The Origins of Psychedelic Rock in France

Psychedelic rock, also known as acid rock or garage rock, is a subgenre of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s. The style is generally characterized by distorted guitars, feedback, and heavy use of reverb, as well as a marked preference for long improvised jams. Psychedelic rock developed out of the British and American proto-punk and garage rock scenes of the early 1960s.

The term “psychedelic” was first coined in 1956 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond. It referred to a class of drugs known as psychedelics, which were used to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia. The use of these drugs became popular among artists and musicians in the 1960s, and they began to use them in their music.

Psychedelic rock first reached France in 1966 with the release of the album Psychédélices by French band Les Temps Modernes. The album was heavily influenced by British psychedelic bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Who, as well as American groups such as The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane.

The success of Psychédélices led to a wave of French psychedelic bands forming in the late 1960s, such as Alice et les Carreaux de Ciment, defecteur d’air, La Femme Immortelle, Gli against animali È contro natura!, Le Superhomard Meurtrièrement Votre…,. Many of these bands were short-lived, but they left an important legacy that would be continued by later generations of French musicians.

The French Psychedelic Rock Scene in the 1960s and 1970s

Psychedelic rock, also sometimes called acid rock or mind expanding rock, is a style of music that is inspired by or attempts to replicate the experience of psychedelic drugs. The style emerged in the mid-1960s with bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones experimenting with new sounds and production techniques, and reached its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s with bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath creating some of the most iconic albums in rock history.

France was not immune to this psychedelic revolution, and several French bands left their mark on the genre. Here are just a few of the most important French psychedelic rock bands from the 1960s and 1970s.

The Resurgence of French Psychedelic Rock in the 21st Century

In the 21st century, French psychedelic rock has seen a resurgence, led by bands such as The Limiñanas, La Femme and sequenceur. Psychedelic rock, which was first popularized in the 1960s, is characterized by its use of distorted guitars, trippy sound effects and mind-bending lyrics. It was originally inspired by psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms, and sought to replicate their mind-altering effects.

French psychedelic rock bands of the 21st century have taken a more lighthearted approach to the genre, infusing it with elements of surf rock, garage rock and indie pop. This has made French psychedelic rock more accessible to a wider audience, and has helped to revive the genre in the 21st century. If you’re looking for some mind-bending music from France, check out some of the best French psychedelic rock bands below.

French Psychedelic Rock Bands You Need to Know About

France has always had a strong music scene, and in recent years it has become known for its psychedelic rock bands. These bands are creating some of the most innovative and exciting music out there, and they are definitely worth checking out. Here are a few of the best French psychedelic rock bands you need to know about.

Les Rallizes Dénudés

Les Rallizes Dénudés is a French psychedelic rock band that was formed in the late 1960s. The band is known for their unique sound, which incorporates elements of drones, feedback, and noise. They have been a major influence on subsequent generations of artists, including Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine.


Formed in 1974, Heldon is one of the most important bands in the history of French psychedelic rock. The brainchild of guitarist and keyboardist Richardpin Hasbro, the band was at the forefront of the so-called “kosmische music” or “space rock” movement that emerged in Europe in the 1970s.

Heldon’s music blended elements of psychedelia, krautrock, and progressive rock, with a healthy dose of electronic experimentation. The band’s debut album, Allez Teia!, is considered a classic of the genre, and their subsequent releases _Stand By_ and _Agneta Nilsson_ have also been highly praised by critics.

Sadly, Heldon disbanded in 1978, but their influence can still be felt in the work of contemporary artists like Neon Indian and Tame Impala.


Magma is a French progressive rock band founded in Paris in 1969 by classically trained drummer Christian Vander. The band is known for their unique blend of progressive rock, jazz, and avant-garde influences. Their debut album, 1970’s Kamasutra, is considered a classic of the genre. Magma’s music is often cinematic and operatic, with lengthy songs that tell complex stories. The band has released over 20 studio albums, and their most recent, Zëss, was released in 2016.


Formed in 1967, Gong is a French psychedelic rock band that is considered to be one of the first and most important progressive rock bands. The band was originally started by Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth, two members of the English band Soft Machine. Gong released their debut album, “Magick Brother,” in 1970. The band is known for their long and improvisational live shows, and they continue to tour and perform to this day.

Soft Machine

Soft Machine is a British psychedelic rock band formed in Hastings, England, in 1966. The group’s early line-up included Robert Wyatt (drums, vocals), Kevin Ayers (bass, vocals), and Daevid Allen (guitar). Later members included Mike Ratledge (keyboards), Hugh Hopper (bass), and Elton Dean (saxophone).

The band was originally named after Haynes’ car engine Soft Machine, and was first used as the name of a side-project of Ayers and Wyatt. They were subsequently contacted by Allen, who had separately been exploring the same musical territory, and the three decided to work together. Allen enlisted his old friend and Pink Floyd sound engineer Ivor Turbo to produce their first album The Soft Machine, which was released on Liberty Records in 1968.

The album featured innovative use of electronic effects such as phasing and was well received by critics. Soft Machine’s second album Volume Two was released in 1969 and reached number twenty-four on the UK Albums Chart. It was recorded at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco with new member Larry Young replacing Ayers on bass. declan00441


In conclusion, there are many great French psychedelic rock bands that you should know about. These bands have all had a profound impact on the music industry, and their influence can still be felt today. If you’re a fan of psychedelic rock, or simply want to broaden your musical horizons, then be sure to check out some of these fantastic French bands.

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