It was the best of times. It was…well maybe naïve, but still a great time.
A period in the mid 60’s until the end of that decade that was pervasive in culture, art and of course music.
The term was introduced to rock music and popularized by the ‘13th Floor Elevators’ 1966 album “The Pshychedelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators”. Psychedelia truly took off in 1967 with the Summer of Love and, although associated with San Francisco, the style soon spread across the nation, and worldwide.
It was a time and cry for peace. It was a time and cry for love.
Yes, there was mind altering involved, but the idea behind it was different. Hallucinogenics and marijuana were the prevalent drugs, and mainly taken to “expand the mind”. Feel and see things differently.
It was a mistake. All of that led to the cocaine fueled 70’s when it just became hedonistic. Make me feel good NOW. And boy what a crash.
But for a time it was a beautiful experiment.
Here are just a few songs that define psychedelia and it’s time.
– The Byrds “Eight Miles High”
This established band jumped into psychedelia the when the times were changing.
The Byrds were a dylanesque folk band in 1965, using Beatle harmonies and a Rickenbacker 12 string to make their own mark on the folk movement. But in late 1966 they released 8 miles high…..
At the time they insisted the title refered to a plane trip….but those in the know knew better….which they later admitted.
-The Beatles “Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds”
From the Psychedelic poster child “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
When it was released every body jumped on the fact that “lucy sky diamonds” was an acronym. LSD….
But the truth of the matter is that John Lennon’s son Julian happen to come home with a painting from school that day.
John really liked it and asked what it was. Julian replied “oh, that’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds”. And a psychedelic song was born….
-Jimi Hendrix “Are You experienced”
Released in May of 1967, right before the psychedelic “Summer of Love” the song ‘Are you Experienced’ was and still is described as a ‘psychedelic symphony”, the recording combines backwards and forward recorded guitars and drums.
In the lyrics Hendrix invites the listener to break through and go beyond “your measly little world” to go on a journey. It even begs to ask the Title question: Are You Experienced?”
-Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”
‘Good Vibrations was one of the first “pop” songs to incorporate psychedelic lyrics and sounds, even making use of a theremin. American pop-oriented bands that followed in this vein included the Electric Prune, Strawberry Alarm Clock and Blues Magoos. Psychedelic sounds were also incorporated into the output of “bubblegum pop” acts like The Lemon Pipers and their hit “Green Tambourine”. Scottish folk singer Donovan’s transformation to ‘electric’ music gave him a 1966 pop hit with “Sunshine Superman”, one of the earliest overtly psychedelic pop records.
-The Beatles “All you need is Love”
Not overtly psychedelic as some of their other work from tis period, but somehow it is the theme song to the whole Summer of Love and the psychedelic experiment.
All You Need Is Love” is a song written mainly by John Lennon and was . first performed on “Our World”, the first live global television link. Watched by 400 million in 26 countries, the program was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967. The BBC had commissioned The Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom’s contribution.
All we needed was love indeed.
Here are some quick mentions:
-Jefferson Airplane- “White Rabbit”. All about Alice in Wonderland. Wonder why?
-Pink Floyd- “Interstellar Overdrive”
-Grateful Dead- “Dark Star
-The Beatles- “I am The Walrus” Goo goo ga joob
-Traffic- “Dear Mr. Fantasy
-Small Faces- Itchycoo Park
-The Doors- “Break on Through
-The Rolling Stones- “2000 Light Years from Home
There are more. So many more.
If you have any suggestions leave them here in the comment section or on The Black Jacket Symphony Facebook page.
Also tune into Black Jacket Radio Sunday April 8th at 8am until 10 am on on 106.9 The Eagle or online at http://www.birminghamseagle.com/ for the “psychedelicatessin” version of Black Jacket Radio.