List of Psychedelic Folk Indie Rock Bands

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A list of the best psychedelic folk indie rock bands that you need to know about. These bands will transport you to another world with their unique sound and dreamy lyrics.

The Byrds

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band reached global recognition with their signature sound—which blended elements of folk music, country music and psychedelic rock—and their major hit singles “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)”. The Byrds are considered one of the most influential bands of the 1960s and helped pioneer the genre of psychedelic folk-rock.

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and early surf songs, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era. The band struggled with personal turmoil and creative disagreements for most of its existence before achieving worldwide commercial success with Pet Sounds (1966), an album often considered as one of the greatest in music history.

splintered after Brian Wilson temporarily left the group to focus on his mental health.

Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. One of the best-selling music artists of the 1960s, their biggest hits—including “The Sound of Silence” (1965), “Mrs. Robinson” (1968), “The Boxer” (1969), and “Bridge over Troubled Water” (1970)—reached number one on singles charts worldwide. Their often rocky relationship led to artistic disagreements, which resulted in their breakup in 1970. Their final studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970), was their most successful, becoming one of the world’s best-selling albums.

The duo met as children in Queens, New York in 1953, where they learned to harmonize together and began writing original material. By 1957, they had begun performing as a duo under the name Tom & Jerry at school dances. They recorded their first single, “Hey Schoolgirl”, under the name Simon & Garfunkel, for Columbia Records in 1957. In 1963, they signed with Columbia Records and sang backup vocals for The Byrds on their debut album Mr. Tambourine Man (1964). Simon & Garfunkel released their debut album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., in October 1964; it peaked at No. 30 on Billboard’s 200 chart in January 1965 but was later certified Gold by the RIAA after selling more than half a million copies worldwide. The album’s title refers to the time when Simon awoke from a dream featuring the melody to what would become the lead single, “The Sound of Silence”.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was a psychedelic folk rock supergroup made up of American singer-songwriters David Crosby and Graham Nash, and English singer-songwriter Neil Young. The group was formed in 1968 by Crosby, Nash & Young’s three members after theVersion two expansion:Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were a psychedelic folk rock supergroup made up of American singer-songwriters David Crosby and Graham Nash, and English singer-songwriter Neil Young. The group was formed in 1968 by Crosby, Nash & Young’s three members after the dissolution of their previous band, the Byrds.

The quartet released four studio albums between 1969 and 1974: Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969), Deja Vu (1970), 4 Way Street (1971) and So Far (1974). A live album entitled simply CSNY 1974 was released in 2014. A box set entitled CSN Box was released in 1991; it peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 and was certified six times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Another box set, Déjà Vu Live (2008), peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and was certified four times platinum by the RIAA.

The group never officially disbanded but stopped touring and recording together occasionally over the next several decades. Individual members have released solo albums during this time; since the 1980s all four members have been involved in other musical projects such as solo albums, side projects with other musicians or acting roles in film or television programs. In 2010 they reconvened to organize a benefit concert tour for Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia; they subsequently toured together sporadically over the next five years before resuming individual solo tours once more in 2016.

Buffalo Springfield

Buffalo Springfield was an American rock band active from 1966 to 1968, composed of Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, and others. The band released three albums and several singles before disbanding.

The group’s primary songwriter was Young, who wrote or co-wrote almost half of their material. Neil Young’s lyrics were inspired by his experiences with the counterculture of the 1960s. The band combined elements of folk music, country music, and psychedelic rock.

The Mamas & the Papas

The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk rock vocal group who recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, releasing five albums and sixteen singles. The group was a leading force in the music scene of the counterculture of the 1960s. The members were Denny Doherty, John Phillips, Cass Elliott, and Michelle Phillips (born Holly Michelle Gilliam). The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 for their contributions to the music industry.

The Lovin’ Spoonful

The Lovin’ Spoonful is an American rock band, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and best known for a string of hits in the mid-1960s including “Do You Believe In Magic”, “Summer In The City”, and “Daydream”. The band’s name comes from the line “The Lovin’ Spoonful”, from the coffeehouse verse of the Kilorian folk song “Coffee Aroma”.

The Lovin’ Spoonful was founded by John Sebastian (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Zal Yanovsky (lead guitar, vocals), Denny Doherty (vocals, rhythm guitar), and Joe Butler (drums, percussion). Producer/songwriter Alan Lindgren was also part of the team from the beginning. Sebastian had been a member since 1963 of The Mugwumps, which broke up when John left to pursue a solo career. Yanovsky and Butler had been in Ricky Nelson’s backing bandThey brought inDoherty from The Mamas & the Papas. Doherty brought Alan Lindgren on board as producer/arranger.

In early 1966, The Lovin’ Spoonful hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 with their first single released outside of New York City,”Daydream”. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. Subsequent hits followed with songs like “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?” (#2), “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice” (#10), and their only other number-one hit song,”Summer In The City” (#1).”Do You Believe In Magic” reached #1 on Cashbox’s Top 100 chart and #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.”Rain On The Roof” preceded by two weeks its parent album’s release date so as to not compete with it,[17] yet still managed to reach #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.[18] Meanwhile, their debut album Do You Believe in Magic? went to #2 on Billboard’s Top LPs chart.[19] Their next album Summer In The City also did quite well reaching #5.[20] Success continued with another Top 10 song,”Bald Headed Lena”.[21] Then came their fourth straight Top 10 hit,”Six O’Clock”.[22][23]

The Association

The Association is an American pop rock band from California. The group’s hits include “Windy”, “Cherish”, and “Along Comes Mary”. The band was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Association was formed in 1965 by four high school friends from Los Angeles, California – Jules Alexander, Brian Cole, Russ Giguere, and Terry Kirkman. The group was initially known as The Sunday School Boys, later changed their name to The Men, and finally became The Association after signing with Valiant Records in 1966.

The Fifth Dimension

The Fifth Dimension was an American pop vocal group, whose repertoire included pop, R&B, soul, jazz, light opera and Broadway—the quintessential examples of the mid- to late-1960s “sunshine pop” sound. The group obtained their name from the direction of the first known manmade satelliteLaunch of Sputnik 1, which orbited in what was called the fifth dimension.

The Turtles

The Turtles were an American rock band led by vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, who were also known as Flo & Eddie. The band had several hits beginning with their version of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” in 1965. They scored their biggest and best-known hit in 1967 with the song “Happy Together”. The band reached the height of their popularity on the pop charts in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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