Most Psychedelic Rock Groups Borrow Imagery from the Writings of

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Most psychedelic rock groups borrow imagery from the writings of early 20th century authors like H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. This blog explores how these groups use horror and science fiction themes to create their unique sound and visuals.

Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock groups often use musical techniques that create or enhance the feeling of a altered state of consciousness. This is often accomplished with the use of feedback, extended guitar solos, and lyrics that are based on studies in psychology and philosophy. The goals of these artists is to provide an experience for the listener that is beyond the scope of traditional rock music.

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, beat 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 development of their sound. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication following their initial success, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, they came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s sociocultural revolutions.

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys is an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group’s original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. The Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful, and widely influential bands of all time. They are one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The Beach Boys have had thirty-six US Top 40 hits (the most by an American group) and eighty-six Hot 100 hits, including four number-one singles.

The Doors

The Doors were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison’s lyrics and charismatic but unpredictable stage persona. After Morrison’s death in 1971 at age 27, the remaining members continued as a three-piece under the name The Doors of the 21st Century, with occasional guest vocalists.

Psychedelic rock is a diverse style of rock music inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, which is centred around perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, and the label is often applied spuriously.

Psychedelic Imagery

Psychedelic imagery is often used by psychedelic rock groups to visually represent the state of mind induced by psychedelic drugs. This type of imagery usually includes distorted or surreal images that reflect the drug’s effects on the user’s perception.

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, blues, and gospel. They also became renowned for their lengthy improvised jams, and “live” albums.

Pink Floyd

Since the release of their 1967 debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Pink Floyd have been one of the most enduring and popular rock bands of all time. Selling more than 250 million records worldwide, they have also been one of the most commercially successful groups in the history of popular music.

But Pink Floyd’s music is only part of their story. Their cutting-edge stage shows, massive concert productions, and groundbreaking album cover artwork have also played a major role in their success. Much of this visual imagery was created by stormy London artist Storm Thorgerson, who worked closely with the band from 1968 until his death in 2013.

Thorgerson’s most famous work is probably the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon, which features a highly stylized image of a prism refracting a beam of light into a rainbow. This iconic image has come to symbolize both the band and the album itself, and has been endlessly copied and reimagined by other artists over the years.

Other notable Thorgerson-designed Pink Floyd covers include 1971’s Meddle (featuring an ear underwater), 1975’s Wish You Were Here (two businessmen shaking hands while engulfed in flames), and 1979’s The Wall (featuring aSoftware raid 1 windows 10

Jimi Hendrix

Psychedelic imagery is abundant in rock music of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many psychedelic rock groups borrowed imagery from the writings ofpsychedelic drug advocates such as Timothy Leary, Alfonso Ossorio, Jorge Luis Borges, and Aldous Huxley. Imagery typically includes references to colors, light, sound (particularly electronic music), geometry, and sometimes religion.

Psychedelic Lyrics

Psychedelic lyrics are the lyrics of songs written by psychedelic rock bands. The lyrics are often based on the experiences of the band members while under the influence of psychedelic drugs. The lyrics often contain references to drug use, sex, and violence. Psychedelic lyrics are often nonsensical and may be difficult to understand.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are one of the most iconic rock groups of all time, and their lyrics often reflect the psychedelic style of the late 1960s. Many of their song titles and lyrics borrow imagery from the writings of Lewis Carroll, such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.” The Rolling Stones also frequently made use of drug references in their lyrics, which often reflected the band’s own experience with substances like LSD and marijuana.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968 by Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica), John Paul Jones (bass guitar, keyboards) and John Bonham (drums). The group’s heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, though their unique style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music.

The Who

One of the most popular and influential rock bands of all time, The Who borrowed heavily from the writings of Aldous Huxley and Tibetan spiritual texts when crafting their lyrics. Roger Daltrey’s delivery of Pete Townshend’s acid-drenched lyrics perfectly captured the sense of teenage angst and rebellion that was so prevalent in the 1960s. With classic songs like “I Can See for Miles” and “Baba O’Riley,” it’s no wonder The Who are considered one of the most psychedelic rock groups of all time.

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