The 10 Best Psychedelic Rock Songs of All Time

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

A look at the 10 best psychedelic rock songs of all time, including hits from The Beatles, The Doors, and Pink Floyd.

The Beatles – “A Day in the Life” (1967)

psychedelic classic. The song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and it was used as the final track on the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album. The song is noted for its surreal atmosphere, which was created by the use of sound effects and reversed tapes. The effects were so effective that “A Day in the Life” was banned by the BBC for fear that it would cause listeners to hallucinate.

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations” (1966)

The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” is one of the most important American pop songs of all time, let alone one of the best psychedelic rock songs. It was the first single to be created using the newfangled Moog synthesizer, and it was a chart-topping juggernaut that changed the way popular music was made. The Beach Boys were always on the cutting edge of music technology, and “Good Vibrations” is a perfect example of their innovative spirit.

The Doors – “The End” (1967)

From their self-titled debut album, “The End” is one of The Doors’ most iconic and well-known songs. It is a could track that clocks in at over 11 minutes long, and it is a perfect example of the band’s psychedelic sound. Jim Morrison’s lyrics are dark and evocative, making “The End” a classic Doors song.

Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower” (1968)

This post was originally published on October 11, 2014.

In 1968, Bob Dylan released “All Along the Watchtower,” a song that would become one of his most popular and enduring compositions. The following year, Jimi Hendrix released a cover of the song that many believe is superior to the original. Hendrix’s version is a masterpiece of psychedelic rock, featuring his signature guitar work and a powerful vocal performance.

Pink Floyd – “Careful with That Axe, Eugene” (1968)

This track is taken from the band’s second album, ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’. It’s one of the band’s more experimental songs, and features some particularly eerie sound effects. This is coupled with a dark and menacing atmosphere, created by the slow and heavy riff that runs throughout the song.

The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter” (1969)

The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter” (1969)

The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” is a searing indictment of the dark side of the late 1960s, with its references to the Vietnam War, race riots, and the Manson Family murders. The song is propelled by a searing guitar riff from Keith Richards and is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

The Velvet Underground – “I’m Waiting for the Man” (1967)

“I’m Waiting for the Man” is a song written by Lou Reed and released on The Velvet Underground & Nico in 1967. It is one of the band’s best-known songs and is considered one of the greatest songs of all time.

The song is about a young heroin addict waiting for his dealer to arrive with his fix. It is notable for its sparse, robotic instrumental backing and Reed’s deadpan delivery of the lyrics.

Despite its subject matter, the song was a staple of the band’s live shows and remains one of their most popular songs. It has been covered by numerous artists, including David Bowie, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

The Who – “I Can See for Miles” (1967)

The Who’s “I Can See for Miles” is the perfect psychedelic rock song. It has all the elements of a great psychedelic song: a catchy melody, mind-bending lyrics, and a dizzying array of sound effects. The song was released as a single in 1967 and reached the top 10 in the UK and the US.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – “I Put a Spell on You” (1968)

Few artists are more associated with the classic rock era than Creedence Clearwater Revival, and “I Put a Spell on You” is one of their most iconic songs. Written by lead singer John Fogerty, the song is a primal howl of passion and obsession, propelled by some of the most infectious guitar playing in rock history. It’s no wonder that it has been covered by everyone from Nina Simone to Marilyn Manson over the years.

Led Zeppelin – “Whole Lotta Love” (1969)

Led Zeppelin’s second album, Led Zeppelin II, featured this psychedelic masterpiece which became one of their most popular songs. “Whole Lotta Love” is a perfect example of the band’s willingness to experiment with different sounds and styles, and the results are truly mind-blowing. The song features a heavy riff that is punctuated by Jimmy Page’s signature guitar licks, and Robert Plant’s wailing vocals give the song an otherworldly feel. This is one of Led Zeppelin’s most iconic songs, and it is sure to get your head nodding.

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