Psychedelic rock is one of the better known rock sub-genres. This genre’s popularity rose in the 60s and 70s, where many rock musicians and band members were experimenting with different types of drugs, and using their “high” state of minds to write songs. The genre gets its name from the meaning of the word psychedelic, which means soul-manifesting. The term was coined in 1957, in order to name the effects of LSD (which is the short for lysergic acid diethylamide).
While many bands were users, not all of them contributed to the genre. Below are two of the best known psychedelic rock bands:
Led Zeppelin was founded by guitarist Jimmy Page, who was originally the only member left from the psychedelic/blues rock band The Yardbirds. He recruited band members, including singer Robert Plant for Yardbirds concerts. After he realized his tour obligations with his tour company (as a member of The Yardbirds), he named his line-up Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin released their commercially successful debut album Led Zeppelin in 1968. The band refused to get creative for the names of the following 3 albums, as they were named Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III and Led Zeppelin IV. The band released 4 more albums with their original drummer John Bonham, who died in 1980 due to massive alcohol consumption. The band broke up after Bonham died.
Coda, the final album of the band, was released in 1982 and it consisted of many of the tracks the band had recorded earlier but never released.
Page and Plant went on to have successful solo careers and they also contributed to each other’s albums. Page also collaborated with Whitesnake singer David Coverdale and they released an album together, appropriately called Coverdale-Page.
The band later performed together a couple of times after the break-up, with years in between the reunions.
Led Zeppelin is still considered one of the most influential rock bands.
English psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd (the band is also considered a progressive rock band) was formed in 1965 by Syd Barrett (lead vocals) and Roger Waters (co-lead vocals, guitarist). Barrett left the band in 1968 and Waters became (and remained) the band’s leader (music, lyrics, concepts, genre) until his departure from the band in 1985.
The band officially split up in 1996 but reunited in 2005 for a single charity gig. The reunion didn’t involve Syd, who had left the music world decades ago. Barrett died in 2006.
The band released 14 studio albums In total. Among their biggest hits were Another Brick in the Wall (from the 1979 album The Wall) and Wish You Were Here (from the 1975 album of the same name). Both of these albums are concept albums.
Wish You Were here is centered around Syd Barrett, his absence from the band and his mental state, as well as the music industry. As it is often the case with concept albums, there are few tracks. The album has 5 songs in total, with the shortest track lasting for over 5 minutes and the longest over 13 minutes.
The Wall is centered around themes of isolation and it is most famous for the song Another Brick in The Wall, as well its controversial lyrics and video. I bet right now you are tempted to sing “We don’t need no education, We don’t need no thought control, No dark sarcasm in the classroom, Teachers leave them kids alone” . Unlike Wish You Were Here, however, The Wall has 4 sides, many more songs with much shorter duration.
Pink Floyd has sold over 200,000,000 albums worldwide and continues to inspire many new alternative and progressive rock bands.