Music Hub

Originating Location: United States

Decade: 1960s

Acid rock is a form of psychedelic rock, which is characterized by long instrumental solos, few (if any) lyrics, and musical improvisation.[1] Tom Wolfe describes the LSD-influenced music of the Jimi Hendrix ExperiencePink Floydthe Doors,Iron ButterflyBig Brother & the Holding CompanyCreamJefferson AirplaneUltimate SpinachBlue CheerQuicksilver Messenger Servicethe Great SocietyDeep Purple and the Grateful Dead as "acid rock" in his book about Ken Keseyand the Acid TestsThe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.[2]

"Acid rock" also refers to the subset of psychedelic rock bands that were part of, or were influenced by, the San Francisco Sound,[3] and which played loud, "heavy" music featuring long improvised solos.[4]

History and use of the term[edit][]

[1]The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Acid rock got its name because it served as "background" music for acid trips in underground parties in the 1960s (e.g. theMerry Pranksters' "Acid Tests").[2] ("Acid" is a slang term for LSD.) In an interview with Rolling StoneJerry Garcia quotedGrateful Dead band member Phil Lesh stating, "acid rock is what you listen to when you are high on acid." Garcia further stated there is no real psychedelic rock and that it is Indian classical music and some Tibetan music that are examples of music "designed to expand consciousness."[5]

Former Atlantic Records executive Phillip Rauls is quoted saying, "I was in the music business at the time, and my very first recognition of acid rock — we didn't call it progressive rock then — was, of all people, the Beach Boys and the song 'Good Vibrations'."[6] Generally, the term "acid rock" is equivalent to psychedelic rockRolling Stone magazine includes early Pink Floyd as "acid-rock".[7] In July 1967Time magazine wrote, "From jukeboxes and transistors across the nation pulses the turned-on sound of acid-rock groups: the Jefferson Airplanethe DoorsMoby Grape".[8] In 1968 Life magazine referred to the Doors as the "Kings of Acid Rock".[9] In 1969, Playboy Magazine referred to Led Zeppelin as "acid rock". When hard rock and heavy metal became prominent in the early and mid-1970s, the phrase "acid rock" was sometimes mistakenly applied to these genres. Over time, these bands such as Alice Cooper fell in under the term "heavy metal" which replaced "acid rock" for these styles of music.[10]