Fun Fact #3: I’m related to Timothy Leary by marriage. I don’t know how, as my grandparents won’t get into the specifics of which wife, what side of the family, and when. I have reason to believe that it’s Rosemary, from the three times we discussed it.
Leary had little to no impact on me as a person, other than a few of his writings and records I consumed when I thought I was “deep” as a kid. He appeared in various historical books I read, was name checked in a few songs (“Legend Of A Mind,” anyone?), and appeared to be an integral part of a subculture that I took interest in at too young of an age.
I was introduced to the Nuggets compilation album at the age of two. I gained the ability to walk, and then almost immediately learned about psychedelic rock music. I listened to The Seeds before learning how to tie my own shoes. After Nuggets, I got a decade-long guided tour in the history of psychedelic rock by going through my parents’ record and 8-track collections. It took me years to find out that Lenny Kaye (of Patti Smith fame) helped compile Nuggets, which I will discuss in a later edition of this series.
This edition of the Never-Ending Mixtape focuses on psychedelic music I’ve listened to for over twenty years. It focuses on the major ’60s groups that dabbled in psychedelic rock, and the one-hit wonders that made their mark on the genre (and likely reunited a bunch of time since for a nostalgia tour). I finally made my own compilation filled with singles and deep cuts from memories of a compilation (itself based on memories of an era).
(Starting From Track 40)
40) The Who – Armenia City In The Sky
A Who song sung by Keith Moon and not written by The Who. “What are The Who doing on a psychedelic rock playlist?” you ask. This was the band dipping a toe in the genre. And it happens to be better than 95% of anything released in the era.
41) The 13th Floor Elevators – Slip Inside This House
Screamadelica is a great record, but Primal Scream’s cover of “Slip Inside This House” took the fun and mystery out of it. It’s a very good minor-key jam that plays on the strengths of Erickson’s voice and the band’s songwriting strengths, with the best example in the song being the bridge. Also, I could have included “You’re Gonna Miss Me” but that would just be expected.
42) The Beach Boys – Vegetables
Smile only recently officially came out for the first time. This was supposed to be included, but ended up on a record called Smiley Smile released decades ago. (Confused? Read this.) Coupled with several songs from Smile, including “Good Vibrations,” the album features a bunch of material from a drugged-out Brian Wilson that hold up years later when compared to often-cited highlights of the era.
43) Count Five – Psychotic Reaction
You’ve probably heard this a million times, even if you didn’t seek out psychedelic music. The lead guitar line is catchy, psychedelic, and partially folky all at the same time. It’s a psychedelic standard, which is why I included it in this playlist.
44) The Mojo Men – Sit Down I Think I Love You
Does it sound like something Van Dyke Parks arranged? That’s because it is! Such a weird and wonderful Buffalo Springfield cover.
45) The Electric Prunes – I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
This song is the reason I obsessed over drum reverb effects. The good kind, not the ’80s Genesis kind. It has some of the best percussion sounds of the era.
46) The Amboy Dukes – Journey To The Center Of The Mind
If you didn’t pick up on it already, this entire portion of the mixtape is structured with gradually-building tempos. This is the high point of the track listing, with songs placed afterwards getting progressively slower (until…well, you’ll see). This is also the only good part of Ted Nugent’s storied career.
47) The Rolling Stones – The Lantern
I’m going to be honest: I just picked a random song from Satanic Majesties that wasn’t “She’s A Rainbow.” It’s a pretty good album from who I consider to be The Most Mediocre Rock Band Ever, but my elders constantly tell me to shut up about that because “I wasn’t there.” This song isn’t the greatest psychedelic song, but it’s not bad either. That’s not a ringing endorsement. You should listen to it at least once, though.
48) The Seeds – Can’t Seem To Make You Mine
One of the first songs I heard off the Nuggets compilation, but out of context on a mixtape (an actual cassette tape) supposedly made by a much-older cousin. Billy Corgan, of all people, would jump on The Seeds train years later.
49) Love – The Red Telephone
Love’s goofiest song (in terms of lyrical content) but not a bad song at all. Though “I feel real phony when my name is Phil” is a pretty awful line.
50) Jefferson Airplane – Today
Yeah, yeah, “White Rabbit” and all that, but “Today” is just as powerful a song and doesn’t feature lead vocals from Grace Slick. The electric guitar lead lines work perfectly here with the acoustic guitar, and the song features my favorite vocal track ever from Marty Balin.
51) The Zombies – Beechwood Park
Everybody knows The Zombies for “She’s Not There” or “Time of the Season.” Like Surrealistic Pillow, Odessey and Oracle is a perfect album, top to bottom, and “Beechwood Park” is a fantastically trippy deep album cut.
52) Donovan – Hurdy Gurdy Man
Seen as the “stereotypical psychedelic song,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man” includes the following:
- Multi-track vocals with way too much reverb
- Fuzzed-out guitar solos
- That drum fill that goes ba-ba (rest) ba-ba-dum-dum that you can hear in pretty much every three Hendrix songs
But it’s still one of the greatest psychedelic songs of all time. And I got to meet Donovan at the age of 5 before I understood things like subtext, subtlety, and what LSD did to songwriters in this era.
53) The Monkees – The Porpoise Song
Here’s a song I haven’t heard for over 13 years until about three weeks ago. In fact, I kind of forgot about the entire Monkees psychedelic phase. And while we’re at it, no. I still haven’t seen Head, but I fully intend to. The single version of this song is a lot better than the one included on the soundtrack because it includes a beautiful orchestral outro.