In the sixties, the psychedelic music scene was at its prime and the world was full of hippies. During this time, drugs were a very popular part of the hippie culture and the prevalence of LSD helped to create the distinct genre of psychedelic music known as psychedelic of acid rock. Many bands and artists such as Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, The Byrds, and Jimi Hendrix, were heavily influenced by LSD, which led to the creation of some great music. This decade was full of adventure, music, sex, drugs, and exploration, which was all made possible due to this powerfully triply drug.
Before jumping into the details of the psychedelic scene one needs to know the history of lysergic acid diethylamide and how it came to be such an important part of this culture. In 1938, Albert Hofmann discovered LSD-25 but did not experience its psychedelic effects until April 16, 1943 after he accidentally ingested it. On April 19th he purposely ingested 250 µg (an extremely small amount) of the substance and tripped the whole way home on his bicycle. From the ‘40s through the ‘60s LSD was experimented with by psychiatrists and the government. While psychiatrists could not find any legitimate medical purposes for the drug, the government determined that it could be used to control large groups of people. In the ‘50s, the CIA did many tests involving the use of acid and the program was soon shut down. In the ‘60s, the drug became very popular with the help of Timothy Leary and it spread around the United States and the United Kingdom like wildfire. While possession of LSD was outlawed in late 1968, its use remained popular until the decline in the ‘80s. Use of the drug inclined one again from 1990 through 2000 but declined once more after that (History of LSD).
After Timothy Leary began advocating the use of LSD and told the people of the world to “turn on, tune in, and drop out”, the drug became very popular. The goal of LSD along with other psychedelic drugs was to open the mind and “find a new light to look upon things” (Bacig). Many artists took this approach to their music and would drop acid then compose music. This gave the music of this era a distinct sound and without LSD, the world would not have psychedelic rock. There are many references to LSD in songs from this time due to the big influence it had on the artists who wrote them. In order to produce the psychedelic feel, the artists would write “esoteric lyrics, often describing dreams, visions, or hallucinations” as well as other techniques such as distorting the sound, playing sections of the song backwards, and delaying sounds. Another important part of psychedelic rock is the influence of Indian music. Bands such as The Beatles popularized this technique of using ”exotic instruments like the sitar, the tambura, and the tabla” in their music (Psychedelic Rock).
In the early sixties LSD was incorporated with music starting when Ken Kesey held acid tests (essentially big parties...