- The Beatles – “A Day in the Life”
- Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”
- The Doors – “Light My Fire”
- Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”
- Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”
- The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
- The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
- Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Fortunate Son”
- Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth”
- Neil Young – “Rockin’ in the Free World”
A list of the 10 best psychedelic rock songs of all time, as decided by the experts.
The Beatles – “A Day in the Life”
Released in 1967 on the band’s final album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “A Day in the Life” is – quite simply – one of the most psychedelic songs ever recorded. The track features some of the most innovative studio techniques of its era, including sound collages, backward masked tape loops and variable speed recordings. All of these elements come together to create a song that sounds like nothing else that came before it – and very few things that have come since.
Pink Floyd – “Comfortably Numb”
“Comfortably Numb” is a song by the English rock band Pink Floyd, released on their eleventh album, The Wall (1979). The song was written by bassist Roger Waters and guitarist David Gilmour.
Musically, “Comfortably Numb” is a slow, bluesy ballad that features Gilmour’s guitar playing and Waters’ lyrics. It is one of the band’s most popular songs, and has been covered by numerous artists.
The song’s lyrics describe a drug-induced dream state. In the album’s narrative, the character Pink Floyd is injected with drugs in an attempt to subdue him. However, the drugs instead cause him to have a powerful hallucination in which he believes he is on stage performing.
“Comfortably Numb” was ranked number 344 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is also one of the greatest guitar solos of all time, as voted by readers of Guitar World magazine.
The Doors – “Light My Fire”
The Doors’ 1967 debut album, The Doors, is one of the most influential albums in rock history. It features some of the band’s best-known songs, including “Break on Through (To the Other Side),” “Soul Kitchen,” and the enduring classic, “Light My Fire.” The latter song, written by guitarist Robby Krieger, is a perfect example of psychedelic rock, with its hypnotic rhythm and unearthly organ solo by Ray Manzarek.
Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”
“All Along the Watchtower” is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. The song initially appeared on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, and it has been included on most of Dylan’s subsequent greatest hits compilations. Since the late 1970s, he has performed it in concert more than any of his other songs. Different versions appear on four of Dylan’s live albums
The song has been adopted as a standard by a variety of popular artists, including Jimi Hendrix, who recorded his own now-classic interpretation of the song for Electric Ladyland in 1968. Hendrix’s cover is perhaps the best-known version of “All Along the Watchtower”, and many subsequent covers have been based more on his arrangement than Dylan’s original.
Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”
“Kashmir” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was composed by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and produced by Page. The song is included on the band’s 1974 album Physical Graffiti, with “In the Light” on the first side of the record and “Kashmir” closing side two. With its unusual time signature and East Indian- inspired instrumentation, “Kashmir” is one of Led Zeppelin’s most popular songs.
The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
The Rolling Stones – “Gimme Shelter”
One of the best examples of the dark side of the psychedelic era, this 1969 Stones classic features keening slide guitar from Mick Taylor and some of the most apocalyptic lyrics ever written by Mick Jagger.
The Who – “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
Released in 1971, this classic from The Who is one of the best-known psychedelic rock songs of all time. The lyrics were written by Pete Townshend and are inspired by the political unrest of the early 1970s. The song features a pulsing bassline, heavy guitars, and a powerful vocal performance from Roger Daltrey.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Fortunate Son”
Off the back of the Vietnam War, “Fortunate Son” was an anthem for anyone who felt oppressed by the government. John Fogerty’s lyrics were specific to that time and place but the song has taken on a new lease of life in recent years as a symbol of anti-war sentiment. The song is driven by a simple, catchy guitar riff and features some great work from Doug Clifford on drums.
Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth”
“For What It’s Worth” is a song by Buffalo Springfield that became a hit after being released as a single in December 1966. The song was written by Stephen Stills in response to the Sunset Strip curfew riots, which took place in Hollywood, California in November 1966. Despite its political lyrics, the song became a huge commercial success, reaching the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming one of the defining songs of the 1960s.
Neil Young – “Rockin’ in the Free World”
taken from his 1989 Freedom album, Rockin’ in the Free World was one of two songs (the other being “Love and Only Love”) written by Neil Young in response to the election of George H. W. Bush. It’s an anthemic call to arms that still sounds relevant today, with it’s references to poverty, homelessness and nuclear proliferation.