Psychedelic Rock Artists of the 1960s

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The 1960s was a decade of change and creativity. Many new genres of music were born during this time, including psychedelic rock. Psychedelic rock artists were influenced by Eastern music and philosophy, as well as the new drugs available.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. They became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential act of the rock era. 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 and other elements in innovative ways. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the band were integral to pop music’s evolution into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s.

The Beatles’ influence on psychedelic rock

The Beatles are often credited as the pioneers of psychedelic rock, a genre of music that emerged in the 1960s and was influenced by hallucinogenic drugs. The band’s use of studio techniques, such as reversed tapes and feedback, helped to create the distinctive sound of their later records, which became increasingly experimental. The Beatles’ popularity also played a role in spreading the genre’s popularity around the world. In 1967, the band released their iconic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which many consider to be one of the greatest albums of all time. The album featured several songs with psychedelic themes, such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Within You Without You”. The album’s artwork , depicting the band members dressed in colorful costumes and surrounded by diverse images, is also considered to be one of the first examples of psychedelic artwork.

The Beatles’ psychedelic rock songs

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The lineup consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). They became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band in history. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several genres, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. In 1963 their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication following their work with producer George Martin, they came to be perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s youthful counterculture.

The Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over three years from 1960, initially with Stuart Sutcliffe playing bass. The core trio of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, together since 1958, went through a succession of drummers that culminated with Starr’s joining them two weeks prior to their recording debut in 1962. Manager Brian Epstein shaped and controlled the group’s public image which had a massive effect on their initial commercial success; he was able to present them as squeaky clean young men next door—fitting into squares’ format of early pop while distinguishing them from their British Invasion contemporaries who were arriving looking like leather-clad rebels. Author Kevin J. Farino writes that during Beatlemania “They projected an image of innocence… never challenging authority figures or making demands that could not be met.” Writer Philip Norman cites Epstein’s Midnight Beatle shows at London Palladium which “transformed four mop-topped working-class lads into international idols whose combined fame would have been impossible for one man to achieve independently.”

The Beatles initially enjoyed limited commercial success in the United Kingdom when they signed to EMI’s Parlophone label on 4 June 1962; for much of 1963 their recordings were confined to radio airplay because EMI had yet to issue any singles by them. At the end of October however they reached number 17 with “Love Me Do”, followed two weeks later—despite BBC Radio banning it because of its suggestive maraca accompaniment—by “Please Please Me” which reached number one on 11 January 1963 after just nine weeks on release. These two releases preceded the album Please Please Me which went to number one on 22 March 1963 after eleven days—the quickest ascent by any record at that time; it remained at the top until 17 May when it was displaced by With The Beatles which entered the chart at number one upon its release on 22 November 1963. These back-to-back chart-toppers made The Beatles only the third act ever—after Percy Faith Conference/Billboard report Billboard magazine placed six songs by The Beatles inside its Top 10 for 12 December 1963; This momentous occurrence is all the more impressive when you consider that Billboard reported that there were just 28 songs inside its Top 30 during this same time period! This amazing statistic effectively meant that for almost half of all songs being played on radio across America during early December 1963 one in every four songs was performed by The Beatles!

“I Want To Hold Your Hand” became The Beatles’ first American number one single on 2 February 1964 when it knocked off “She Loves You” from its five-week perch atop Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart; this record would hold until 1997 when Mariah Carey achieved her sixteenth week at number one with her song “One Sweet Day”. On 9 February 1964 The Beatles made their now iconic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show watched by a then record television audience estimated at 73 million viewers—roughly 34% of America’s total population at that time! By late April 1964 almost every song inside Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart were either written or performed by members of The Beatles making them easily the most successful musical act ever!

During mid May 1964 The Beatles became global news once again when they embarked upon their first World Tour which took place across multiple continents including Europe , Australia , Asia and North America . Beatlemania achieved unprecedented levels of hysteria such that even Pope Paul VI was moved to comment upon it during his weekly address saying: “They are young people who sing beautifully … They are good boys … long live Beatlemania!” Many thousands joined organized screaming mobs wherever The Beatles appeared in public resulting often in totally chaotic scenes such that even police forces found themselves unable to control them; as a result security concerns eventually forced concert organizers to stop announcing venues beforehand instead opting instead for secret locations only revealed shortly before showtime. Despite all this pandemonium Barbara Klein notes that: “During this tour … no serious injuries or disturbances were reported” adding that “ Journalists covering the tour noted that these events represented something new and different: riotous behavior motivated not out anger or hatred but out pure adoration .”

The follow up album to Please Please Me released early June 1964 was With The Beatles which once again topped both Britain’s NME & Record Mirror charts as well as Billboard magazine’s US Album Chart where it remained for 11 weeks nonconsecutively throughout late summer & early fall1964 before finally being knocked off its perch atop this last mentioned chart by Meet The Fab Four — a newly released Hollywood Records budget album featuring rerecorded versions popular earlier songs originally done by British Invasion acts including both Shane Fenton & His Fentones as well upgrades some weaker tracks included on With The Beatles . Also newly released Hollywood Records budget album was Something New — another album filled with cover versions popular hits originally done other British Invasion bands including both Manfred Mann & Swinging Blue Jeans along with few weaker original material originally recorded but ultimately left off With The Beatles earlier same year — that managed reach number 2 spot behind Meet The Fab Four atop Billboard magazine’s US Album Chart where both albums spent 5 consecutive weeks playing tag team atop this important sales metric throughout late fall & early winter 1965 .

It wasn’t until February 1965 however when Capitol finally decided issue Help! — soundtrack album accompanying studio film having same name starring all four members Fab Four along with several famous actors including both Leo McKern & Eleanor Bron —as band’s third official American studio LP . This will be last time near future where anytask done related movie will have direct impact recording career since around same time Capitol also began working rerelease back catalog British albums instead simply waiting until each newest waves British Invasion subsided little bit allowing cash registers continue jingle little longer due then red hot demand still exist among American music fans ever growing insatiable appetite still ravenous appetite more British Invasionproduct .

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band that was formed in 1962. The original lineup consisted of Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (guitar), Brian Jones (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). The band’s primary songwriters were Jagger and Richards. The Rolling Stones have released 30 studio albums, 23 live albums, and numerous compilations.

The Rolling Stones’ influence on psychedelic rock

The Rolling Stones were one of the most influential bands of the 1960s, particularly in the realm of psychedelic rock. The Stones’ sound was raw and immediate, and their bluesy style was a major influence on the emerging genre of psychedelic rock. Other bands, such as The Beatles and The Who, would also come to be synonymous with the psychedelic sound, but it was the Stones who helped to pioneer it.

The band’s 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, is often cited as a key early work in the genre. The album’s title itself is a play on words referencing both the satanic imagery associated with psychedelic drugs and the English royal family (thus referencing both the dark and light sides of psychedelia). The album features heavily psychedelic songs like “She’s a Rainbow” and “2000 Light Years from Home,” both of which would become classics of the genre.

The Rolling Stones would go on to experiment further with psychedelic sounds on 1968’s Beggars Banquet and 1969’s Let It Bleed, but by that time they had already established themselves as one of the defining bands ofpsychedelic rock.

The Rolling Stones’ psychedelic rock songs

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London, England, in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar), Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass guitar, keyboards), Charlie Watts (drums) and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. Jones died less than a month after recording finished for their 1968 album Beggars Banquet.

The Rolling Stones were at the forefront of the British Invasion of bands that became popular in the United States in 1964 and were identified with the youthful and rebellious counterculture of the 1960s. Rooted in blues and early rock and roll, they pioneered psychedelic rock with their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request. It reached number three on the US Billboard 200 album chart and was their first album to reach number one in the UK charts, where it stayed for eight weeks. They followed this success by releasing Beggars Banquet which contained “Street Fighting Man” and “Sympathy for the Devil”, both of which became singles reaching number one or top ten positions on music charts worldwide. The Rolling Stones subsequently became major symbols of live rock music energy during this decade giving mind blowing performances around Europe including at London’s Hyde Park 1969 free concert before half a million people with Mick Taylor as lead guitarist after Jones’ death; Hyde Park 1969 is considered by music critics piers morgan as one of greatest rock concerts ever held anywhere also featured The Who’s last live appearance with Keith Moon on drums as he died shortly afterwards on 7 September 1978 having overdosed on Heminevrin prescribed to combat alcoholism symptons; Led Zeppelin’s last live appearance prior to drummer John Bonham’s death from alcohol poisoning 9 September 1980 . The Rolling Stones went on to release more than 20 studio albums over the next two decades including Some Girls 1978 , Steel Wheels 1989 , Voodoo Lounge 1994 , Bridges To Babylon 1997 , A Bigger Bang 2005 all during this time maintaining huge levels of popularity both critical and commercial worldwide playing sell out stadium tours

The Doors

One of the most popular and influential psychedelic rock bands of the 1960s was The Doors. The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by singer/songwriter Jim Morrison and keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who later recruited drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The Doors were known for their wild and unpredictable live performances, which often featured Morrison’s spontaneous and poetic lyrics.

The Doors’ influence on psychedelic rock

The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, 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 because of Morrison’s provocative lyrics and unusual stage persona. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

The group released eight studio albums before Morrison’s death at age 27 in 1971. Their debut album, The Doors (1967), became one of the best-selling debut albums ever, andcontained their most recognizable hit, “Light My Fire”. The follow-up album, Strange Days (1967), continued their impact on the counterculture with more psychedelic songs such as “People Are Strange” and “Love Me Two Times”. After Morrison’s death, the remaining members released two more albums—Other Voices (1971) and Full Circle (1972)—before disbanding for good in 1973.

Although The Doors’ active career ended almost 50 years ago, their influence on popular music has been long-lasting. In particular, they have served as an important influence on psychedelic rock artists. Psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that emerged in the 1960s that was characterized by a heavy use of distorted guitars, effects pedals, keyboards, and vocal techniques to create mind-altering sounds and experiences. To this day, many modern psychedelic rock bands cite The Doors as a major influence on their sound.

The Doors’ psychedelic rock songs

“The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were unique and among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison’s lyrics and charismatic but unpredictable stage persona.[1] After Morrison’s death in 1971 at age 27, the remaining members continued as a trio until finally disbanding in 1973.

Although the Doors’ active career ended in 1973, their popularity has persisted. According to the RIAA, they have sold 33 million records in the US and over 100 million records worldwide,[2] making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. The Doors have been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines including Rolling Stone,[3] which ranked them 41st on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.”

The Doors were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.[4] Morrison was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999.[5] In 2002, Manzarek and Krieger started playing together again as Doors 21st Century or D21C.[6]”
The band released eight studio albums between 1967 and 1971. All but one album charted on Billboard’s pop album chart with two albums hitting number one. Known for their hits “Light My Fire”, “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” and “Hello, I Love You”, The Doors had a string six consecutive gold albums between 1967 and 1971. Seven of their singles charted on Billboard’s Hot 100 with three going to number one.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was an American musician who was widely considered to be one of the greatest electric guitarists in history. He achieved mainstream success in the 1960s with his band the Jimi Hendrix Experience. His musical style combined elements of blues, rock, and jazz. Hendrix was a pioneer of feedback and distortion techniques in rock guitar playing.

Jimi Hendrix’s influence on psychedelic rock

Psychedelic rock, sometimes called garage rock, is a style of popular music that originated in the United States and Britain in the mid-1960s. The style draws on Indian music and the avant-garde jazz of Miles Davis, among other sources. Psychedelic rock broke into the mainstream with the hits “Sunshine of Your Love” (1968) by British group Cream and “Purple Haze” (1967) by American band the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The genre’s signature sound is created by distorted guitars played at high volume levels and extended solos, which often incorporated feedback and other electronic effects.

Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic rock songs

After Are You Experienced?, Hendrix began working on what would be his second album, Axis: Bold as Love. Due to record label interference and his own perfectionism, the album was not completed until early 1967, and it was released in Britain on December 1, 1967. In the US it followed on February 12, 1968, by which time the first single – “Purple Haze” – had already been climbing the charts for several weeks. The album reached number three in Britain and number five in the US. It included “Spanish Castle Magic”, a tribute to an imaginary nightclub; “Up from the Skies”, a mellow comment on world affairs; and “If 6 Was 9”, an enigmatic anthem that remained one of Hendrix’s most popular songs.

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