Listen, any list, is going to be, like, totally subjective man. Because we could have totally filled with this list with Hendrix, The Stones, The Beatles etc. However, we thought we’d shine a (trippy and kaleidoscopic) light on a couple lesser known gems from the halcyon era of groovy jumpsuits, playfully abstract yet haunting lyrics and tie dye bandanas.
Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
Having said all that – where would psychedelic music be without Pink Floyd, Syd Barret and a tonne of acid? Probably not in quite the same space. This driving record spans oddball 10-minute psychedelic opuses to short but sweet pop infused gems – all with the madcap vocals from the twisted mind of the psychonaut master Barret floating over the top. Featuring some of the most dreamlike, rambling and otherworldly sounds ever committed to record, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is 41-minute journey quite unlike any other. Oh, and it’s named after a chapter from classic British children’s story Wind in the Willows too. Time to follow Syd down the rabbit hole!
The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators
Compared to the abstract craziness of Pink Floyd’s The Piper…., these Texans were an altogether tighter and more traditionally rocky proposition. They sound like exactly what you would expect from a 60s psychedelia record – but done oh so brilliantly. However, that doesn’t mean The 13th Floor Elevators weren’t a hugely innovative band in their time. Heavily featuring a musical jug, and mostly recorded while the whole band were on LSD, this album is the quintessential American surf-rock-psychedelic record. The howling vocals and driving bassline of ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me Baby’ or the evocative riffing and strangely enticing jug sounds of ‘You Don’t Know (How Young You Are) are particular standouts. In fact, they were one of the first bands to use the title ‘psychedelic’ to describe their music – even going so far as to put it on their business cards in 1966.
Aphrodite’s Child – 666 (1972)
The most modern sounding of this album, probably due to its heavy use (for the time) of synthesizers and cutting-edge recording techniques – 666 still sounds sonically full and lush even by today’s standards. Figure headed by Hollywood film-score legend Vangelis, who later go on to score Blade Runner and the Oscar winning Chariots of Fire, this double album was inspired by the Biblical book of Revelations. Trust us when we say it has a suitably epic and awe-inspiring sound, all infused with the spirit of a freshly passing psychedelic generation. Originally it featured a 35-minute track (that would have taken the double albums’ run time to over two hours) aptly entitled ‘Infinity’.However, due to record label pressure some of the more progressive and experimental aspects of the album were dropped. Still, 666 remains a certified classic of the genre and well worth checking out for any fans of the main names in the scene.