Psychedelic Rock was derived from the term “psychedelia” which is the term tagged to people whose culture is strangely affected by psychedelic drugs with their art generally expressing bright colors and animations. This type of music is made popular by bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds and The Yardbirds.
The musicians intended to express mind-altering experiences with hallucinogenic drugs through their music and lyrics. Perhaps under the influence of LSD or (Lysergic acid diethylamide), cannabis and other hallucinogenic drugs, these musicians were able to made music that are truly powerful and influential.
Psychedelic rock is characterized by soft and meaningful lyrics, heartwarming solos and complex melodies and song structures. They make use of electric guitars, keyboard especially organs and harpsichords. They also make use of studio effects such as the backward tapes, planning and phasing and they associate their music with the non-western style and Indian Music.
It was the writings of Timothy Leary, Alan Watts, Aldous Huxley and Arthur Koestler that greatly influenced the minds and thinking of the new generations when it comes to music. The practice of drug use in the music industry has long been used by jazz and blues musicians in the early 1960′s and had only spread among the folk and rock musicians during the late 1960′s and begun including drug references in their music.
It was thought that The Holy Modal Rounders first used the term Psychedelic to describe their music on their version of “Hesitation Blues” in 1964. However, it was at the end of 1965 that the 13th Floor Elevators from Texas first publicized themselves as psychedelic rock.
Bob Dylan and The Beatles were the first to experiment with drugs as their music reference. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” by Dylan was the most influential and yet after The Beatles was introduced to cannabis, they started to experiment with LSD. They were able to popularized “I feel Fine”, “Norwegian Wood” using a Sitar and also introduced the reversed audio tapes on their 1966 “Rain”. It was in their song “Tomorrow Never Knows” that the drug references became definite.
Although it started from United Kingdom and United States, it has become phenomenal in between 1967 and 1969 with the Summer of Love and Woodstock Rock Festival. The influence of psychedelic rock had created variations such as the Psychedelic pop and psychedelic soul, it had also made possible for the transition of folk music to progressive rock, hard rock and subsequently emerged to heavy metal. The psychedelic culture and music began to develop in California by the mid-1960.
It was San Francisco that started American Psychedelic in the music scene but the spread through the American cities was inevitable due to the emergence of quite a number of psychedelic bands such as the Count Butterfly, Love and Spirit from Los Angeles. New York City also had it shares of band such as The Fugs, The Godz and Pearls before Swine and Vanilla Fudge.
The last years of 1960′s was when psychedelic rock finally reached its climax when the Beatles released “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. When LSD and other drugs were declared illegal, psychedelic rock took its flight slowly and anti-hippie groups started to emerge.