The Birth of Psychedelia

The Birth of Psychedelia

The 1960s, also called the swinging 60s, were revolutionary times to be in if you were in the music industry and at the heart of the revolution was the US. The 60s was the decade of the British Invasion with bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones originally from England entering The US markets. In response to them, you had the emergence of Bob Dylan. 1963 saw the assassination of US President John .F. Kennedy and this was a torrid time in the history of the States with the bombing of Vietnam. Another major turning point of the this decade came in the form of Woodstock Art & Music festival. This event was held in the August of 1969 and 32 acts ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Bob Dylan including our very own the late Pt. Ravi Shankar performed on that rainy weekend. This event changed the course of modern culture and it is regarded as a pivotal event in the shaping and redefining Rock n Roll.

The mainstream music of the 1960s was dominated by Black Pop scene and the rise of Motown and Stax record companies. The psychedelic movement can be traced back to having its origin in the year 1966 as a parallel, underground music movement. It began in San Francisco and a parallel one began in London. The movement saw the birth of the hippie culture as seen in “The Summer of Love” of 1967. The use of LSD as a recreational drug rose and it accompanied the music as a means of tripping rather than the music itself being a trip. This marked the birth of psychedelia and gave rise to a new genre in music called “Acid Rock”. This saw the music becoming much more mature with Bob Dylan starting to write much more serious lyrics. Moreover, it could be said that it was the music that could take you on a journey rather than the drugs. This is what psychedelia was all about. Not only that, the swinging 60s also saw  the birth of the hippie culture as seen in “The Summer of Love” of 1967. The youth that year quit jobs and dropped out of college and about 75000 poured out into the streets of San Francisco at Haight-Ashbury with dreams of utopia. This time saw the birth of some of the greatest artists and singers of all times like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morisson (of The Doors), Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin.

As Bob Dylan rightly sums up – “Times they are a changing”, the 60s were times of change. Pop Culture and music were given a new direction and it paved the way for the popular 70s. A whole generation of youth was dreamt new dreams and new unchartered territories were explored.




Rahul Sanghavi

A budding engineer with interests ranging from movies to particle physics is what defines me. Music History is something I'm passionate about ."Carpe Diem" are the words I live by.

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