Top Ten Thursday: Best Psychedelic Albums of All Time

psychedelic music

With the music trend increasingly shifting back to psychedelic rock lately, we decided to put our heads together to come up with our favorite psychedelic rock albums of ever. Surprisingly enough, every album on our list was released pre-1979 except Wes’ miss. I guess 60’s and 70’s were just a bit more focused on keeping their listeners really high … high on serotonin levels that is … because everyone of these albums will keep you happy as a clam. Many modern psychedelic albums were considered; Black Mountain, Foxygen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tame Impala. In fact, Flaming Lips and Kurt Vile’s new albums were actually the inspiration. Nonetheless, the below are the albums we think best satisfies those moments you really just need a nice hit of psychedelics:
10. Moby Grape – Moby Grape
Moby Grape, album cover, Moby Grape
Moby Grape’s debut album was an early forerunner to the groovy San Francisco vibes that we all came to know and love. Moby Grape is an often overlooked album, especially when considered how many folk psychedelic acts came to follow suite.

9. Love – Forever Changes
Love, Forever Changes, album cover art
Arthur Lee and his crew of psychedelic lovers’ third and final album (the original crew anyways) was their magnum opus. Combining baroque pop with psychedelic folk in an album that culminated into the epitome of sixties psychedelia … Love is Loved.

8. Cream – Disraeli Gears
Cream, album cover art, Disraeli Gears
Cream was one of the more stacked bands in terms of the basic three rock instruments. Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton made some incredible music. It was a staple of their generation and “Sunshine of Your Love” is still used as a staple for almost any drug induced scene in a television show or movie.

7. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles , album cover art, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Peppers changed music forever. Not only the way it was written and performed, but the way it was recorded and presented. It brought about some of the most advanced recording techniques to date, and pioneered the concept of the concept … woah, trippy.

6. Pink Floyd – The Wall
Pink Floyd, album cover art, The Wall
Pink Floyd didn’t need no thought control, that is why they brained up this incredible adventure of an album on their own. This double LP is one of the most epic and elaborate concept albums ever created. It is a cinematic masterpiece in itself, and to top it off it has an animated movie and a live show that is as amazing as it is frightening.

5. The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle
The Zombies, album cover art, Odessey and Oracle
One of the more textually rich albums ever. The Zombies knew how to layer vocals in a way matched only by The Beach Boys. This album gets a lot of praise here at LxL, but always rightfully so.

4. The Velvet Underground – Loaded
The Velvet Underground, album cover art, Loaded
In terms of modern psychedelic albums, Loaded is probably the one of the larger sources of inspiration. The Velvet Underground switched gears and came up with a bit of a more accessible sound. It paid off incredibly well.

3. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd, album cover art, Dark Side of the Moon
There really isn’t a more stereotypical stoner album than The Dark Side of the Moon. Most college students either discover this album in one of two ways: 1. While getting stoned. Or 2. While attempting to see if it really lines up with The Wizard of Oz … sometimes I suppose both could be the case as well. Neither really do the album justice for what it’s worth. The intricate psychedelic wackness, the weird timings, the jazz fusion, it will all get you by the brain banana.

2. Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
Jimi Hendrix, album cover art, Electric Ladyland
Hendrix all but created the guitar tonal effect that is the staple for the psychedelic music. Each and every string plucked of Hendrix’s exudes a swirling sonic sound that changed the sound of rock and roll forever. Electric Ladyland is one of his rawest, most mind-melting albums, and it plays into his psychedelic elements perfectly.

1. The Beatles – Revolver
The Beatles, album cover art, Revolver
Sgt. Peppers may have been revolutionary for rock/pop music, but Revolver was the album that jump started the revolution. Again, this was an album that experiments with the engineering such as crumpling up the audio tape, playing tape backwards, and changing the speed of the tape while recording all were pioneered and discovered to work as recording techniques. Rumor has it that before recording “Tomorrow Never Knows” John Lennon had told producer George Martin that he wanted his voice to sound like the Dali Lama screaming from the tops of the Himalayas. To be honest, I don’t know what the hell that means, but I think they nailed it.

The “Just Missed Our List” List

Todd: Jimi Hendrix – Axis: Bold As Love
Jimi Hendrix, album cover art,  Axis: Bold As Love
Hendrix most polished album shows that he was just as good as coming up with new recording techniques as he was inventing new guitar tones. This is my favorite Hendrix albums and one of my favorite albums of all time.

Wes: Tame Impala – Lonerism
Tame Impala, album cover art, Lonerism
Tame Impala really hit their stride with Lonerism in Wes’ eyes. These Aussie psych-punks carried the psych-flag back to music waving it higher than anyone in recent years.

Austin: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground, album cover art, The Velvet Underground and Nico
Velvet Underground’s debut album contains some real heavy type of psychedelic tunes. These aren’t always the light, airy, happy-go-lucky hippy tunes you usually think of when you hear the words psychedelic music. This is a darker shade of tie-dye, and it kicks some serious ass.

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Author: Todd

I dig musics ...

12 thoughts on “Top Ten Thursday: Best Psychedelic Albums of All Time”

  1. YAY! Lonerism is on the list. and so funny, i’m sure lots of people will see #7 and be like “WTF”… and than you see #1 and it all makes sense. Great list though, and you gave me some albums I haven’t heard before that I need to check out.

    1. We would have liked Tame Impala to be in the top 10 but it came down to splitting hairs over which album to put on. Personally I was for Innerspeaker and Wes pushed Lonerism. Both are so solid, but in the end the classics stood their ground. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. Solid list on some great psych. I especially like having Love’s “Forever Changes” on there, as well as some double Hendrix action.

    If you’re showing some love for Psych Rock innovators like Moby Grape, you can’t forget the 13 Floor Elevators! They were one of the originators back in 1966, but you still have another great ’66 album correctly placed at the #1 spot with “Revolver.”

      1. Wes, you are clearly my favorite. Seeing the Lips in about 2 weeks in Indy and really looking forward to hearing “The Terror” live.

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