Here are the best psychedelic rock full albums that are definitely worth your time. Take a trip down memory lane with these classics.
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Label: Apple Records
Release Date: 1 June 1967
When The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, it was nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. The album redefined what a pop album could be, and its influence can still be felt today. Sgt. Pepper’s is a masterclass in psychedelic rock, with soaring melodies and trippy sound effects that transport the listener to another world. The album is also incredibly experimental, with unconventional song structures and an ambitious concept that ties the whole thing together. If you’re looking for the best psychedelic rock album of all time, look no further than Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Recorded mostly at Abbey Road Studios in London, The Dark Side of the Moon was engineered by Alan Parsons and used innovative production techniques including multitrack recording, tape loops, and feedback. Though it is a concept album, Pink Floyd’s publisher considers it a rock opera.
Bassist Roger Waters conceived The Dark Side of the Moon as a reflection on death, and its themes include mental illness, conflict, greed, aging, and time. One of its songs bears the same name as the album. Drummer Nick Mason said about its themes: “If you take [The Dark Side of the Moon] as not about anything to do with illness, madness or anything like that—if you take it as just a loose set of themes about human relationships and things like that—then you can begin to see what all million people see in it.”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s final album, Electric Ladyland, is a double disc effort that saw Hendrix expanding his sonic palette with help from some famous friends. The result is a sprawling, sometimes uneven record that’s nonetheless one of the most fully realized albums of the psychedelic era. Highlights include the feverish opener “Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland),” the squealing slide guitar showcase “Voodoo Chile,” and the gentle closing ballad “Angel.” With its mix of blues, rock, soul, and pop, Electric Ladyland is a fitting epitaph for one of rock’s most innovative and influential artists.
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album, commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV and featuring the band’s iconic symbol on the cover, is one of the most influential records ever made. Though largely constructed from folk and Celtic music influences, it also contains some of rock’s heaviest material, particularly in the tracks “Black Dog” and “When the Levee Breaks”. The latter song, in particular, features an unforgettable performance by drummer John Bonham.
The Doors – The Doors
The Doors were one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the 1960s. With their debut album, The Doors, they created a unique blend of psychedelic rock, blues, and jazz that catapulted them to the forefront of the counterculture movement. The album features some of their most iconic songs, including “Light My Fire” and “Break On Through (To the Other Side)”. The Doors are often credited as being one of the first rock bands to truly harness the power of psychedelia, and The Doors remains one of the greatest psychedelic albums of all time.
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico is the debut album by American rock band the Velvet Underground, released in March 1967 by Verve Records. It was recorded in 1966 while the band featuring Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker were in contact with pop artist Andy Warhol and collaborating with his multimedia project, the Exploding Plastic Inevitable.
Warhol’s association brought the band a higher profile and a deal with MGM Records, which released the album without Warhol’s involvement after he withdrew from it. Although it failed commercially upon release, The Velvet Underground & Nico is now widely considered one of rock music’s most important and influential albums; music critic Lester Bangs called it “the most prophetic album of them all”, while music magazine NME declared it the greatest album of all time in 2002.
King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King
In the Court of the Crimson King is the debut album by English rock band King Crimson, released on 10 October 1969 on Island Records in Europe, Atlantic Records in North America, and Vertigo Records in New Zealand. It was one of the first successful examples of a rock band blending different genres, including psychedelic rock, progressive rock, hard rock, and avant-garde music. The album was influential to other artists and many subsequent concept albums were based upon its themes of alienation, insanity and dystopia. Despite failing to achieve significant commercial success upon its release – it peaked at number 5 on the UK Albums Chart and number 28 on the US Billboard 200 – In the Court of the Crimson King has been widely acclaimed by critics. In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it number 95 on their list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The album cover is a painting by Barry Godber titled “Mr. Arkadin” which was inspired by Orson Welles’ film Mr. Arkadin (1955).
Yes – Close to the Edge
Close to the Edge is the fifth studio album by English rock band Yes, released on 13 October 1972 by Atlantic Records. It is their last album before lead singer Jon Anderson joined with guitarist Steve Howe to form the group Cinema. Close to the Edge was a commercial success, reaching number 3 in the UK and number 4 in the US. It was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of 500,000 copies in 1973. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package in 1974.
The album’s three tracks occupy all of side one and most of side two of the original vinyl release; “And You and I” spans 10:35, “Siberian Khatru” 8:57 and “Close to the Edge” 18:50. On CD releases, “And You and I” and “Close to the Edge” are each divided into two tracks, while “Siberian Khatru” remains as one track.
Yes began recording Close to the Edge in May 1972 at Advision Studios in London. They had difficulty completing it as they were not satisfied with their work; after seven weeks, they decided that only one song was good enough for release. As a result, they scrapped most of what they had recorded up to that point and started again from scratch. The album’s title track was completed over three sessions in July 1972; it contains six sections which flow together without interruption.
Genesis – Selling England by the Pound
Selling England by the Pound is the fifth studio album from the English rock band Genesis, released in October 1973 on Charisma Records. It reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 70 in the US. The album was reissued with anew stereo and 5.1 surround sound mix by Nick Davis and Tony Banks on DVD-Audio and Blu-ray Audio, released on 8 May 2007 in Europe and 24 September 2007 in North America by Rhino Records/Atlantic Records.
The album marked the peak of the band’s commercial success in theirnative UK, becoming their fourth successive LP to enter the top 3 ofthe UK Albums Chart (a run of success bettered only by The Beatles). Itwould be their last release before drummer and vocalist Phil Collinsbecame a dominant creative force within the group, writing or co-writingseven of its eight tracks (Guitarist Steve Hackett wrote or co-wrote allof his contributions).
The album’s title refers to an English gentleman’s poetic idea ofwhat his country offers to him (“selling England by the pound”), andthe cover art features a montage of British landmarks superimposed onthe silhouette of a gentleman carrying a suitcase. Engineering issuesmeant that several takes were used for certain songs – “Dancing withthe Moonlit Knight” is an amalgamation of at least four separate takes,with three different sections being edited together – something whichdrummer Phil Collins later admitted was “a bit dodgy”.
The album includes three of Genesis’ most celebrated tracks: “IKnow What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)”, “Firth of Fifth” and “Supper’sReady”. The latter is a 23-minute track comprising eight distinctsections, making it one of Genesis’ longest compositions. It remains agreat concert favourite for many fans, even after Collins’ departurefrom Genesis.
Rush – 2112
Rush is one of the most iconic progressive rock bands of all time, and 2112 is their most well-known album. Released in 1976, the album features the band’s signature mix of complex instrumentation and songwriting, with lyrics that deal with modern issues like technology and censorship. While the album was not an immediate hit upon its release, it has since gone on to be hailed as one of the best prog rock albums ever made, and is considered a classic by fans of the genre.
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