If you’re looking for the best, most definitive and listenable list of psychedelic rock albums handpicked by a musician, you’ve reached your destination.
Psychedelic rock has evolved from the ’60s, but that typical fuzz pedal sound lingers on through time. The ’60s rock bands set the ball rolling for future generations to pick up from and make their trademark sounds. Through the years, psychedelic rock has delighted listeners young and old. Nowadays, although not as prevalent as the ’60s and ’70s, psychedelic rock holds it’s own as a highly expressive form of rock and roll.
It’s that time of year to sit back and list up tunes you love to play during the holiday season and this list ensures you’ll have a psychedelic one. These albums have been on repeat on my stereo over the last few years.
I was going through psychedelic rock album lists on other websites and was disappointed because they didn’t do justice to the genre and listed generic albums which didn’t sound great or showcase the best the genre had to offer through the years, so I decided to make my own.
This list of albums has been carefully selected and you won’t find them on other websites. I compiled this list with the purpose of sharing the vivid soundscapes of psychedelic rock through the years so you can dig those sounds that inspired generations.
In my hunt for the best sounds that typified psychedelic rock, I made a list spanning music from the ’60s up to the ‘2000s. If you’re looking for that classic psychedelic rock and roll sound spanning the decades of rock you’ve found the right list and you can listen to the albums here itself.
Let’s get Rockin’ and Rollin’ then.
21. Country Joe & The Fish – Electric Music For The Mind and Body(1967)
Country Joe and the Fish with ‘Electric Music For The Mind and Body’ has that classic psychedelic sound right from way back in 1967. A melodic and essential album for any psychedelic rock fan, Country Joe and the Fish is listed on other websites as well and it starts off my list. The album itself is something you’ll dig which should set the groove.
20. Leafhound – Growers Of Mushroom(1971)
Leaf Hound is a lesser-known band from the UK but their sound has got psychedelic written all over it. Titled ‘Growers Of Mushroom’, this album gets that brit blues psychedelic sound of the early ’70s back in the groove. Although the vocals by Peter French, who would go on to front Atomic Rooster as well, isn’t the best of the best it’s a shroom trip nonetheless.
19. All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker(2015)
All Them Witches are a band that I dig a lot. Relatively newer to the scene in the mid ‘2010s the southern American rock band can certainly hack it. ‘Dying Surfer Meets His Maker’ typifies the ATW sound with far-out lyrics and those psychedelic grooves that fans of the band dig, making them hard not to take notice of.
18. Ten Years After – Watt(1970)
Ten Years After are another British blues-rock band that venture into psychedelic sounds from time to time. ‘Watt’, their 1970 release is a progressive psychedelic blues-rock album which is wrapped in electric guitar fuzz giving it a classic sound to dig.
17. Brain Ticket – Cottonwood Hill(1971)
Brain Ticket and their release ‘Cottonwood Hill’ in ’71 has amassed a cult following, albeit not as much as other bands. Nonetheless, their experimental psychedelic sound drives the strange surreal lyrics and the overall sound of the album. It’s definitely something to dig on the outer soundscapes of psychedelic rock.
16. The Sacred Mushroom – Sacred Mushroom(1969)
Another shroom trip, another band on mushrooms. The Sacred Mushroom, which also features on my YouTube channel BOMBEATS was a short-lived band from Cincinnati, Ohio. Danny Goshorn on vocals and guitar drives the sound and culminates into a psychedelic album which is more blues inclined but wrapped in psychedelic fuzz. The album ‘Sacred Mushroom’ is their only release but a mighty good one.
15. Farm – Farm(1971)
Farm are yet another Brit band making this list. Their ’71 self-titled album ‘Farm’ didn’t receive popular recognition and remains a relatively unknown psychedelic rock delight. The sound is full of classic psychedelic blues and tunes that are sure to hit the right grooves.
14.Quicksilver Messenger Service – Happy Trails (1969)
A nice short little album with a driving theme, makes it seem like this album was recorded in a single take, which could also be true. Quicksilver Messenger Service lay the psychedelia down on this one with a kick-ass upbeat album that is sure to hit the right grooves.
13. The Underground Youth – Mademoiselle(2010)
Craig and Olya Dyer, a husband and wife team together make up The Underground Youth and I’m a huge fan of their simplistic, epic style and sound. The whole album is drenched in fuzz and reverb and has that classic enveloping psychedelic sound throughout which makes this album a top-class effort.
12. Yardbirds – Yardbirds ’68 (1968)
The Yardbirds are the essential band that had members who would go on to make Rock and Roll history, namely the likes of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. Their 1968 album Yardbirds ’68 is the essential psychedelic blues-rock sound of the swinging ’60s.
11. The Stooges – The Stooges(1969)
Iggy Pop and the Stooges ring in at number 11 on this list. This album was a badass release and one that welcomed the world to the Stooges and significantly, Iggy Pop. The sound is electric psychedelic at it’s badass best.
10. Porcupine Tree – Voyager 34 (2000)
Porcupine Tree rarely shift from their trademark progressive sound but with the LSD-influenced Voyager series, they set the standard high for progressive psychedelic rock albums. The whole album which consists of four tracks called phases(I-IV) is a brilliant psychedelic release to listen to.
9. The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
The top 9 consists of more well-known efforts and albums and this Beatles album ‘Revolver’ remains their most psychedelic release of all their hit albums. The album marked a considerable shift of style for the Liverpool band and is a classic must-have on the list.
8. Tame Impala – Lonerism (2012)
Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala are the flag bearers of the current crop of psychedelic rock bands. Formed in the late 2000s the Aussie band are remarkable in their impeccable psychedelic sound, drenched in heavy synths and electric guitar sounds along with upbeat drumming, they are a formidable outfit meant to be taken seriously. ‘Lonerism’ is no different and is, in my opinion, their best release to date.
7. Brian Jonestown Massacre – Take It From The Man(1996)
The Brian Jonestown Massacre are a band I dig a lot. They’re one of my favourite current bands. Their trademark heavy psychedelic sound infused with drug-influenced sounds and lyrics make them a delight to listen to. ‘Take It From The Man!’ is one of their best albums and they’re really smooth to listen to live as well. They’ve got a huge discography and all their albums are groovy to listen to. Anton Newcombe and co. might have taken a while to get into the mainstream but the world is glad they did because their sounds are brilliant.
6. Pink Floyd – Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
The Floyd and Syd Barett’s heavily influenced songwriting made this ’60s classic and Pink Floyd’s debut album a major success. The high-intensity riffs and out of place bizarre sounds all culminate into a classic psychedelic rock album that deserves recognition alongside Pink Floyd’s other highly successful albums. You can read another post of mine about the enigma that was Syd Barrett, along with a bunch of rare lost drawings, lyrics and poems here.
5. Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Zuma (1975)
While not exactly falling into the category of psychedelic rock, Neil Young and Crazy Horse make a substantial claim with their 1975 release ‘Zuma’. The eclectic sounds of Neil Young remain fixated on every track of the album and it deserves to be on this list particularly because of the track ‘Cortez the Killer’.
4. Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love (1967)
Jimi Hendrix and his surreal, esoteric playing style is a psychedelic rock must on any psych-rock album list. The album has some brilliantly electric riffs and licks all in Hendrix’s trademark style. This one’s on Spotify because the Jimi Hendrix YouTube channel hasn’t shared the entire album.
3. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
The quintessential, supremely drug-infused psychedelic rock and roll album is The Velvet Underground’s debut album, ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’. Despite being such a fantastic album it didn’t get commercial success when it released, but instead received posthumous fame and popularity, developing a huge cult following for its easy psychedelic grooves and familiar New York City street vibe.
2. Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)
The masters of psychedelic rock are undoubtedly Cream. Their debut album ‘Disraeli Gears’ is the answer to what psychedelic rock is. The album is an all-out epic that is bound to weave its effervescent effect on you. Most listeners are familiar with Cream and the Clapton induced psychedelic rock sound. Here is the album anyway
1. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Deja Vu
Numero uno hits close to home. This album by CSNY i.e. David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young has been on my playlist for years and I never get tired of it. It is THE psychedelic rock album that is a cut above all the others because it involves classic rock’s most heralded lineup of musicians and every song on the album is a number one in my book. If you haven’t heard it yet, go ahead and do because it’s the best psychedelic rock album of all time.
Notable absentees include The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesty’s, Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?, Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow, Grateful Dead – Anthem Of The Sun, The Doors – The Doors.