Why Did the Psychedelic Rock Movement End?

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Psychedelic rock was a important and influential music movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. But why did it come to an end? In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the possible reasons why psychedelic rock fizzled out in the 1970s.

The Psychedelic Rock Movement

The Psychedelic Rock Movement was a subgenre of rock music that originated in the 1960s. The style was influenced by psychedelic drugs, and the music often had trippy, mind-bending lyrics. The movement came to an end in the early 1970s for a variety of reasons. Let’s examine some of those reasons now.

The Origins of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as garage rock, is a style of rock music that became popular in the mid-1960s and peaked in popularity in the late 1960s. The genre is named for its association with psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, which were often used by bands and their fans during live performances and concerts.

Psychedelic rock is characterized by distorted guitars, mind-altering lyrics, and extended improvisational jams. The genre developed out of the British Invasion of the early 1960s, when bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones began experimenting with incorporating elements of Indian music into their own sound. This new approach to songwriting was soon adopted by other artists, including The Byrds, who blended psychedelic rock with folk music to create their own unique sound.

The Psychedelic Rock Movement came to an abrupt end in 1969 with the closure of the iconic Woodstock Music Festival. This event signaled a shift in public opinion towards more conservative values and away from the counterculture lifestyle that had been so prevalent during the 1960s. With its emphasis on peace, love, and understanding, psychedelic rock came to be seen as outdated and naïve by many people. As a result, the genre faded from popularity in the 1970s as other musical styles took its place.

The Height of the Psychedelic Rock Movement

Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psy rock or garage rock, is a style of rock music that was popular in the mid-1960s to early 1970s. The genre is characterized by distorted guitars, trippy lyrics, and a general feeling of euphoria. Psychedelic rock reached the height of its popularity in 1967, also known as the “Summer of Love.” But why did the psychedelic rock movement end?

By 1968, the Vietnam War was in full swing and the United States was deeply divided. The counterculture movement, of which psychedelic rock was a part, lost its steam as people turned their attention to more pressing issues. Additionally, many of the artists who had defined the psychedelic sound were now experimenting with different styles or simply taking a break from music altogether. Finally, drug use became less socially acceptable and newly legal drugs like LSD became much less widely available.

All of these factors contributed to the decline of psychedelic rock. The genre would see a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but it has never again reached the same level of popularity it enjoyed in 1967.

The End of the Psychedelic Rock Movement

The Psychedelic Rock Movement officially began in 1965 and ended in 1969. The main reason it ended was because of the negative backlash it received from the media and society. The movement was also overshadowed by the events of the late 1960s, such as the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. As a result, many psychedelic rock bands disbanded or changed their sound to fit the new social climate.

The Reasons for the End of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that became popular in the late 1960s. The style is marked by the use of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, and is often associated with the hippie subculture. The psychedelic rock movement came to an end in the early 1970s for a number of reasons.

The Changing Sound of Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is a style of music that was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The genre is marked by a use of psychedelia-themed lyrics, instrumentation, and production styles. Psychedelic rock began as an outgrowth of the British rhythm and blues scene of the early 1960s. The first wave of psychedelic bands were influenced by the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) and included the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and the Jeff Beck Group.

The second wave of psychedelic bands were led by San Francisco’s Grateful Dead and included Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Country Joe and the Fish, Moby Grape, andjam bands such as the Grateful Dead spin-off band Sly and the Family Stone. Psychedelic rock reached its peak in popularity in 1967 with hit songs such as “Light My Fire” by The Doors, “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles, “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane, and “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie.

The Psychedelic Rock movement abruptly ended in 1972/1973 for many reasons:
-The Commercialization of Psychedelia: As Psychedelic Rock became more popular it was co-opted by the mainstream commercial music industry which began releasing bubblegum pop songs with psychedelic themes (“San Jose” by The Cyrkle), using high budget multi-media concerts to market LSD (“The 13th Floor Elevators”),and booking psychedelic bands into large stadiums that were poorly suited for the intimate Acid Rock experience (“The infamous Altamont Speedway Free Concert”).
-Guitar Hero Jimi Hendrix Dies: On September 18th 1970 guitar virtuoso Jimi Hendrix died of a drug overdose at age 27. Hendrix was not only one of the best guitar players ever but also a major influences on Psychedelic Rock. His death was a major blow to the Psychedelic Rock scene.
-Burnout: After years of touring, doing drugs, and living a hedonistic lifestyle manyPsychedelic Rock musicians simply burned out both creatively and physically. For example, members of The Grateful Dead all took breaks from touring in 1971/1972 leading to their 1974 hiatus.

The Changing Attitudes of the Youth

In the late 1960s, the youth of America were tired of the establishment. They rebelled against authority, started protests and sit-ins, and took lots of drugs. Psychedelic rock music was the soundtrack to this time of change. The hippie movement was in full swing and marijuana use was becoming more accepted. psychedelic rock became the most popular type of music in the country.

However, by the early 1970s, attitudes were starting to change. The Vietnam War was still going on and many young men were being drafted. The country was divided on whether or not the war was just. Students were still protesting, but now they were protesting the war. The Youth International Party (Yippies) and the Weathermen were two radical groups that emerged during this time. They advocated for violence as a means of change.

The peace and love vibe of the psychedelic rock movement didn’t mesh well with the new attitude of the youth. The drugs also changed. Marijuana was no longer as accepted as it once was and harder drugs like LSD and cocaine were becoming more popular. Psychedelic rock started to decline in popularity as disco and other genres became more popular in the 1970s.

The Economic Factors

It’s been said that all good things must come to an end, and that was certainly the case with the Psychedelic Rock movement of the 1960s. While there are many factors that contributed to its demise, the primary reason was economic. By the late 1960s, the cost of living had increased significantly and record labels were no longer willing to invest in psychedelic bands that were not selling records. Additionally, many of the original psychedelic bands had disbanded or gone into hiatus, which made it difficult for new bands to break into the scene. The combination of these factors led to a decrease in popularity for psychedelic rock, and by the early 1970s, the genre was all but extinct.

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