French Psychedelic Rock: The New Sound of the 60s

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


French psychedelic rock was a major force in the international music scene of the 1960s. With its catchy melodies and mind-bending lyrics, the genre quickly gained a devoted following among young people looking for something new and exciting. Today, French psychedelic rock is enjoying a renaissance, with new bands taking up the torch and carrying it into the 21st century. If you’re a fan of the genre, or just curious to learn more, check out our blog post on the subject.

French Psychedelic Rock: The New Sound of the 60s

France’s answer to the British Invasion of the 1960s was a new sound called Psychedelic Rock. This new genre was influenced by theSounds of the American Psychedelic scene, as well as by the Beat Generation. French Psychedelic Rock bands such asSerge Gainsbourg and The Zombies brought this new sound to the mainstream.

The Birth of French Psychedelic Rock

In the early 1960s, a new generation of French musicians began to experiment with the sounds of American rock and roll and blues. This group, which came to be known as les yé-yé girls, included artists such as Francoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and Jackie Quartz. These artists began to infuse their music with elements of garage rock, psychedelic rock, and pop.

The new sound of French psychedelic rock was heavily influenced by Anglo-American bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Kinks. However, les yé-yé girls also drew inspiration from their own country’s rich musical tradition. In particular, they were influenced by the work of Serge Gainsbourg, a French singer-songwriter who was known for his controversial lyrics and innovative use of pop culture references.

Gainsbourg’s influence can be heard in the work of many French psychedelic rock bands, including Les 5 Mousquetaires, Les Flippers Psychiques, and Les Crapauds Volants. These bands took the sound of Anglo-American psychedelic rock and added their own unique twist, creating a refreshing and exciting new musical genre.

The Sound of French Psychedelic Rock

French Psychedelic Rock: The New Sound of the 60s is a comprehensive guide to the history and evolution of French psychedelic rock music. Written by music historian and journalist Nicolas Frere, the book chronicles the rise of psychedelic rock in France during the 1960s, with a focus on the bands and artists that pioneered the sound.

In addition to discussing the origins of French psychedelic rock, Frere also covers its development and subsequent decline in popularity. He offers an analysis of the music itself, as well as its cultural and political context. French Psychedelic Rock is an essential read for anyone interested in this important phase of rock music history.

The Legacy of French Psychedelic Rock

French psychedelic rock, sometimes called Ye-ye rock, is the style of rock music that developed in France during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Growing out of the earlier French garage rock and beat scenes, it later incorporated elements of British and American psychedelic rock.

By the early 1970s, a number of French bands had achieved success with a distinctly French take on psychedelic rock, including Magma, Shylock, Weidorje and Atomic Rooster. These bands were often fey and intellectual, in contrast to their Anglo-American counterparts who were more likely to be streetwise and working class. They also drew upon a wide range of influences, from jazz and classical music to avant-garde experimentalism.

Despite their success, French psychedelic bands were largely ignored outside their homeland. In recent years, however, there has been a growing interest in their music, with a number of reissues and compilations appearing on both sides of the Atlantic. This resurgence in popularity has coincided with a new generation of French musicians who are carrying on the legacy of this vital and unique form of rock music.

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