Psychedelic Musicians in Rock and Roll Essay

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Psychedelic Musicians in Rock and Roll

In 1967 the Beatles were in Abbey Road Studios putting the finishing touches on their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. At one point Paul McCartney wandered down the corridor and heard what was then a new young band called Pink Floyd working on their hypnotic debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. He listened for a moment, then came rushing back. "Hey guys," he reputedly said, "There's a new band in there and they're gonna steal our thunder." With their mix of blues, music hall influences, Lewis Carroll references, and dissonant experimentation, Pink Floyd was one of the key bands of the 1960s psychedelic revolution, a pop culture movement that emerged with American and British rock,
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"The zeitgeist of the time was the final collapse of a certain kind of thinking. The seeds were sown for feminism, for the whole notion of cyberspace, ecology, and the whole philosophy of Gaia." Suzy Hopkins, formerly Suzy Creamcheese, a dancer and inspirational figure on the underground scene in Los Angeles and London, remembers the visceral way psychedelic culture affected the senses. "There's a difference between a drug and a psychedelic. Drugs make you drugged and psychedelics enhance your ability to see the truth or reality," she says. For her, LSD and music created a kind of alchemy. "When I start to dance, at a certain point, the dance takes over and the music is dancing me. Dancing is this electric enhancement of your spine by sound." Many psychedelic bands explored this sense of abandonment in their music, moving away from standard rock rhythms and instrumentation. The Grateful Dead of San Francisco, for instance, created an improvisatory mix of country rock, blues, and acid R&B on albums like The Grateful Dead (1967) and Anthem of the Sun (1968), while another 'Frisco band, Jefferson Airplane (fronted by the striking vocalist Grace Slick), sang of the childlike hallucinatory delights of an acid trip in the 1967 Top Ten hit "White Rabbit." In Los Angeles the multiracial band Love played whimsical,

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