Psychedelic Rock in 1967

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that emerged in the mid-1960s. Psychedelic rock is characterized by a distorted, trippy sound that was often used to replicate the experience of mind-altering drugs.

The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

On June 1, 1967, the Beatles released their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album was an instant success, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential albums of all time. The album’s artwork and sound was revolutionary for its time, and the album’s themes of love, peace, and drug use resonated with the youth of the 1960s. The album spent 27 weeks at the top of the UK charts, and 15 weeks at the top of the US charts.

The Beach Boys release Smile

On August 1st, 1967, The Beach Boys released their most experimental album to date, Smile. This record was a result of frontman Brian Wilson’s complete creative visions, who had spent the past year and a half working intensely on it with the help of lyricist Van Dyke Parks. The album was initially planned to be a continuous “pocket symphony” that would take the band’s sound in a new, more sophisticated direction. However, due to disagreements within the group and legal issues with their record label, Smile was never officially finished and released as intended. Despite this, The Beach Boys managed to release three singles from the album – “Good Vibrations”, “Heroes and Villains”, and “Vegetables” – which all received critical acclaim. Although Smile is often regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time, it remains one of rock’s biggest what-ifs.

The Doors release Strange Days

On September 25th 1967, the Doors released their second album Strange Days. The album would go on to be one of the most influential and important releases of the psychedelic rock era. Strange Days is often lauded for its dark and atmospheric sound, as well as its innovative and experimental songwriting. The album features some of the Doors’ most iconic songs, including “People Are Strange”, “When the Music’s Over”, and “Strange Days”.

Pink Floyd release The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

On August 5, 1967, Pink Floyd released their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The album was an immediate success, reaching #6 on the UK charts. It was also well-received by critics, with many lauding its innovative and experimental nature.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn showcased Pink Floyd’s unique sound and songwriting style, which relied heavily on psychedelic and surreal imagery. The album included such classics as “Lucifer Sam”, “The Gnome”, and “Interstellar Overdrive”. These songs would go on to become fan favorites, and would help cement Pink Floyd’s reputation as one of the premier psychedelic rock bands of the 1960s.

Jimi Hendrix releases Are You Experienced?

In 1967, rock music was forever changed with the release of Jimi Hendrix’s debut album, Are You Experienced? The album, which featured psychedelic anthems like “Purple Haze” and “Fire,” was a mind-bending trip into the unknown for many listeners. Though Hendrix’s psychedelic sound was unique, it was not without precedent. Psychedelic rock, which blended elements of traditional rock with experimental techniques and mind-altering substances, had been gaining popularity in the underground music scene for several years before Hendrix’s breakthrough.

Psychedelic rock emerged from the broader countercultural movement of the early 1960s, which was fueled by young people’s disillusionment with the conformity and materialism of mainstream society. Psychedelic music reflected this rejection of traditional values, as well as the youth movement’s embrace of mind-expanding experiences such as drug use and Eastern philosophy. Psychedelic artists sought to create music that would replicate the mind-altering effects of drugs like LSD; to this end, they experimented with novel production techniques and extended song structures that would allow listeners to “trip out” on their sounds.

The first wave of psychedelic bands emerged in 1965 and 1966, including such legends as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Byrds. These groups popularized the use of psychedelic elements in mainstream rock music, opening the door for more experimental artists like Hendrix to find success with their own groundbreaking sounds.

The Grateful Dead release Anthem of the Sun

Anthem of the Sun is the second studio album by rock band the Grateful Dead, released in 1968 on Warner Bros. Records. It was the first Grateful Dead album to be recorded using sixteen-track technology.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 288 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2012, it was ranked number 272 on NME’s similar list.

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