Psychedelic Rock of the 70s: The Best of the Genre

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Psychedelic rock is a genre of music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The best psychedelic rock bands were able to create a sound that was both trippy and catchy, making them hugely popular in the underground scene.


Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music that was popularized in the 1960s and 1970s. The genre is characterized by its use of distorted guitars, trippy lyrics, and mind-altering visuals.

Psychedelic rock began to decline in popularity in the late 1970s, but the genre has experienced a resurgence in recent years. Thanks to modern technology, new generations of music fans are discovering the joys of psychedelic rock.

If you’re new to psychedelic rock, this guide will help you get started. We’ll introduce you to some of the best bands and albums from the genre. We’ll also give you some tips on how to create your own psychedelic experience.

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 experimented with several genres, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements in innovative ways. In 1963, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication in subsequent years, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the band came to be perceived as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the counterculture of the 1960s.

Pink Floyd

Formed in 1965, Pink Floyd is one of the most successful and influential rock bands of all time. The band’s classic lineup consisted of Syd Barrett (vocals/guitar), Roger Waters (bass/vocals), Richard Wright (keyboards/vocals) and Nick Mason (drums). Their psychedelic sound and innovative live shows earned them a large following, and they went on to release a series of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums, including The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and Wish You Were Here (1975).

Pink Floyd’s style changed over the years, from the early psychedelic sound of Barrett’s tenure to the progressive rock of Waters’ later years. Although they are best known for their studio work, Pink Floyd also had a significant impact on the development of live music performance, particularly in their use of elaborate stage shows and light displays. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996; Barrett died in 2006, Wright in 2008.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. With their heavy, guitar-driven sound, they are regularly cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, although their style drew from a variety of sources, including blues and folk music.

The Who

Psychedelic rock is a subgenre of rock music that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, characterized by an expanded consciousness and an altered state of awareness. This guide features the best psychedelic rock of the 1970s, as chosen users.

The Who is an English rock band formed in 1964. The band’s classic lineup consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townshend, bass guitarist John Entwistle, and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide.

Jimi Hendrix

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music that originated in the mid-1960s. Inspired by the mind-altering effects of psychoactive drugs such as LSD, psychedelic rock sought to replicate and enhance the trip experience. Musically, psychedelic rock often made use of extended jams, unusual instrumentation, and Byzantine studio effects. Lyrically, it explored a range of topics including love, madness, hallucination, politics, religion, and death.

The genre emerged during a time of great social and political upheaval in the United States and Britain. In America, the civil rights movement was in full swing while anti-war protests were mounting against US involvement in Vietnam. In Britain, meanwhile, youth culture was being defined by the mod and skinhead subcultures. Psychedelic rock reflected and amplified these experiences of youth culture while also serving as an escape from the often harsh realities of life in the 1960s.

Psychedelic rock reached its peak of popularity in the late 1960s with artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Grateful Dead all achieving mainstream success. However, by the early 1970s psychedelic rock had largely fallen out of favor with music fans and was replaced by other genres such as hard rock and glam rock. Nevertheless, the influence of psychedelic rock can still be heard in many modern styles of music including alternative rock, punk rock, classic rock, heavy metal, jam bands, and progressive rock.


In conclusion, psychedelic rock of the 70s was a groundbreaking and hugely influential genre that has had a lasting impact on popular music. Although it is often overshadowed by other genres from the same era, such as disco and punk rock, its influence can still be heard in today’s music. If you’re a fan of classics like Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” or Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” then you owe it to yourself to check out some of the best psychedelic rock of the 1970s.

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