Psychedelic Rock Artists of the 60’s

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


The Psychedelic Rock Artists of the 60’s were a groundbreaking and genre-defining group of musicians. This blog explores their work and influence.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. 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 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 were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are regarded as the most influential band of all time. They were integral to the development of 1960s counterculture and popular music’s recognition as an art form. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways; the band later explored country music and eastern European music on their albums Rubber Soul (1965) and Revolver (1966), inducing psychedelia with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), which ranked first in a 1968 international poll of critics in Britain, the United States, and Canada. After breaking up in 1970, the Beatles are said to have sold more than 600 million records worldwide.

Notable Songs

While The Beatles are commonly thought of as a pop band, they actually dabbled in a number of genres including psychedelic rock. This type of music sought to replicate and enhance the experience of taking psychedelic drugs like LSD. The Beatles experimented with this sound on songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. They have released 30 studio albums, 23 live albums and numerous compilations. The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004. The band’s estimated record sales are more than 200 million.


The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London, England in 1962. The first stable lineup consisted of Brian Jones (guitar), Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (guitar), Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official lineup 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 Stewart, leaving Richards as the only original member of the band still with The Rolling Stones.

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 later experimented with psychedelic rock and remained a powerful force on the music charts throughout the 1970s and 1980s, when they were identified with controversial guitarist Mark Knopfler and singer Ronnie Wood’s drug addiction and alcoholism.

After a short hiatus during which RichardsI recorded his first solo album, Main Offender (1992), and JaggerI released his second solo album, Wandering Spirit (1993), The Rolling Stones re-formed to record Bridges to Babylon (1997). Since then, new songs have been sporadically released on various compilations including No Security (1998) comprising live performances from their 1997/1998 world tour. Charlie Watts has said he wants to record another studio album with The Rolling Stones before he retires from touring with them; Keith Richards also said that “It would be nice to do one more”. In February 2006 it was announced that Jagger would produce SuperHeavy’s debut album due for release later that year; he expressed satisfaction working with new faces outside of The Rolling Stones: “It’s quite refreshing working with young people as I haven’t done anything like that for a long time.”

Notable Songs

-Paint It, Black
-(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
-Jumpin’ Jack Flash
-Gimme Shelter
-Brown Sugar
-Sympathy for the Devil
-You Can’t Always Get What You Want

The Doors

Jim Morrisson and Ray Manzarek founded the doors in 1965. The band’s debut album, The Doors, was released in 1967 and contained the hit single “Light My Fire”. The band became one of the most popular and influential rock bands of the 1960s and were known for their psychedelic rock sound.


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. The band took its name from the title of Aldous Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception (1954), which itself was a reference to a quote from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790): “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.” They were unique and among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s because of Morrison’s lyrics and his erratic, cerebral stage persona.[1][2][3] After Morrison’s death at age 27 in 1971, the remaining members continued as a trio until finally disbanding in 1973.

Despite not achieving commercial success until 1967 with their debut album Strange Days, the Doors had a profound effect on popular culture. Morrison was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.[4][5] Rolling Stone ranked them No. 41 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”[6] In 2002, Rhymefest named “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” as one of hip-hop’s greatest songs.[7]

The band opened doors for themselves that other artists would follow through on in later years.Using drugs as an integral part both to their creative process and lifestyle, they promoted LSD use[8] through their music videos such as “Hello, I Love You” and “Touch Me”. Morrison was also known for improvising spoken word poetry passages while the band played live. In 1967 they refusing to play at Sunbury Pop Festival unless they received top billing; when this demand wasn’t met they walked off stage half way through their set.[9] Two years later at Finsbury Park Astoria they caused a near riot after stopping their set after three songs when audience members started throwing mud at them.[10][11]

Notable Songs

“Light My Fire” became a huge hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July 1967, despite opposition from many radio stations due to the21-second long coda section featuring keyboardist Ray Manzarek’s extended solo playing, which was considered too long for airplay. It was later included in the Doors’ first album, The Doors (1967). The song became one of their signature songs and one of the most recognizable hits of the 1960s.

“Break On Through (To the Other Side)” was released as the first single from The Doors in January 1967 and peaked at number 126 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart. Despite not becoming a commercial success upon its release, it is now one of their most popular songs.

“The End” is a song by American rock band the Doors. It was recorded during sessions for their self-titled debut album in August and September 1966 and originally released as its B-side in January 1967. It took up the entire second side of their debut album and was frequently played live, with its 16-minute length accommodating an extended improvisation section. It is ranked number at numbers 412 and 425 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix was a psychedelic rock artist of the 60’s who was born in Seattle, Washington. He is best known for his work with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. His career began in 1966 and ended in 1970 with his untimely death at the age of 27. Hendrix is considered to be one of the most influential electric guitarists in rock music history.


Jimi Hendrix was an American musician, singer and songwriter who was active in the 1960s. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of rock music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. Hendrix’s style combined rhythm and blues with British Invasion and psychedelic rock, which made him a pioneer in the development of psychedelic and hard rock music.

Hendrix began his professional career as a backing guitarist for various rhythm and blues musicians, including Little Richard and The Isley Brothers. He played an important role in developing the sound of soul music, and came to be seen as one of the most important innovators in rock music. In 1966, he formed The Jimi Hendrix Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell, releasing his first albumAre You Experienced? in 1967. The album’s innovative sound helped to make Hendrix one of the most influential musicians of his generation.

Notable Songs

“Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze”, and “The Wind Cries Mary” are some of Jimi Hendrix’s most popular songs. He is considered one of the most influential electric guitarists of all time.

Led Zeppelin

One of the most influential bands of all time, Led Zeppelin redefined what rock and roll could be with their heavy, blues-inspired sound. Hailed as one of the greatest rock bands ever, Led Zeppelin is a must-listen for any fan of the genre.


Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968 by guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. They are widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential rock bands of all time. The group’s heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal.

Notable Songs

Though they only released eight studio albums in their twelve-year career, Led Zeppelin left an indelible mark on the history of rock and roll. Each of their albums is filled with hard-hitting blues riffs, soulful ballads, and shredding solos, cementing their place as one of the most influential bands of all time. Here are some of their most notable songs:

-“Stairway to Heaven”: One of the most popular rock songs of all time, “Stairway to Heaven” is a progressive rock masterpiece. Featuring intricate guitar work and Robert Plant’s soaring vocals, the song is a journey from beginning to end, clocking in at over eight minutes.

-“Whole Lotta Love”: A tribute to the band’s blues roots, “Whole Lotta Love” is a riff-driven anthem that showcases Jimmy Page’s guitar prowess. The song was a mainstay on radio stations in the early 1970s and has since been covered by everyone from Marilyn Manson to Miley Cyrus.

-“Kashmir”: One of Led Zeppelin’s more experimental tracks, “Kashmir” features sitar sounds and Eastern percussion. The song painting a picture of an exotic landscape, with Robert Plant’s lyrics providing a sense of longing and nostalgia.

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