Psychedelic albums are more than just for psychedelic trips. They can help mundane events in your life seem more interesting whether it be a slow work day, running errands, or even driving in traffic. Come trip out to our favorite psychedelic albums from the 60s!
“The Doors” – The Doors
No one will, could, and should deny that The Doors’ self-titled debut album is an untouchable masterpiece. One of the many albums to be released during psychedelic rock’s peak years, critics credit “The Doors” as a major player in the progression of psychedelic rock. It features some of the band’s most famous hits: “Light My Fire,” “Break On Through (To the Other Side),” and “The End,” the latter featuring an Oedipal spoken word section by Jim Morrison.
“Their Satanic Majesties Request” – The Rolling Stones
If there’s one genre The Rolling Stones are known for, it’s not psychedelic rock. The recording for “Their Satanic Majesties Request” saw the band experimenting with new instruments and sound effects like the Mellotron, theremin, short wave radio static, and string instruments. The album is also their first self-produced album after Andrew Loog Oldham, the band’s producer and manager, quit. Critics called out the album for ripping off the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” during its first release, but its reception has increased over the following decades.
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – The Beatles
Once touring became a daunting task for the Fab Four, they decided to quit touring forever. The fictional band of Sgt. Pepper became their alter ego and gave them the freedom to go for a more experimental approach in the studio. The album captured the world’s major cultural changes from the rampant use of LSD to the flower power movement. 50 years later, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” remains as a statement of reorientation.
“Axis: Bold as Love” – Jimi Hendrix Experience
Taking a similar approach like “Sgt. Pepper’s,” Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell, and Noel Redding barely performed any tracks from their sophomore album due to the certain studio techniques used. Hendrix’s songwriting abilities evidently improved as well, drawing inspiration from fellow musician Bob Dylan. The band’s interpersonal relationships might have started deteriorating at this point, but their incorporation of hard rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, and psychedelia created a record like no other.
“Anthem of the Sun” – Grateful Dead
One of rock’s earliest concept albums, each song on “Anthem of the Sun” is a merging of multiple studio and live recordings. According to drummer Bill Kreutzmann, fellow bandmates Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh and engineer Dan Healy began splicing and combining all the versions together. Kreutzmann labelled them as hybrids, praising the record as “…easily our most experimental record, it was groundbreaking in its time, and it remains a psychedelic listening experience to this day.”
The death of Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Morrison contributed in the decline of psychedelic rock but don’t worry, we’ve got Tame Impala, Pond, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra for a fresher take on things. We’ll start working on our 1970s list, too.