In the sixties, the psychedelic music scene was at its prime and the world was full of hippie musicians that loved to drop acid and create some of the most interesting and innovative music known to man. 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 or acid rock. Many bands and artists such as Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, and The Byrds were heavily influenced by LSD, which led to the creation of some very popular music. This decade was full of adventure, music, sex, and drugs, and it was all made possible due to this powerfully trippy drug.
In 1938, Albert Hofmann discovered lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD-25, but did not experience its psychedelic effects until April 16, 1943 after accidentally ingesting it. On April 19th he purposely consumed 250 µg (an extremely small amount) of the substance and tripped the entire journey home on his bicycle. From the forties through the sixties psychiatrists and the government experimented with LSD. 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 fifties, the CIA did various tests involving the use of acid to prove this point and the program was soon shut down. In the sixties, 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 eighties. The drug made a comeback around 1990 through 2000 but declined once again (History of LSD).
After Timothy Leary began advocating the use of LSD by telling 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 before composing music. This gave the music of this era a distinct sound and without LSD, the world would not have psychedelic rock. During this time, many artists referenced LSD in their songs because of the profound effect it had on them. In order to produce the psychedelic feel, the artists would write “esoteric lyrics, often describing dreams, visions, or hallucinations” as well as use other techniques such as distorting and delaying the sound, and playing sections of the song backwards. 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).
The Beatles were a very well-known and popular band in the sixties. The use of LSD and other drugs heavily influenced two of their albums, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s...