Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: British Sixties Psychedelia

  1. #1
    Fifth Beatle gryphon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    South Netherlands

    Default British Sixties Psychedelia

    The Beginners Guide To British Sixties Psychedelia

    In this guide I intend only to look at the lesser know areas of the subject. However to make a start it is necessary to define some sort of starting point.
    There are several schools of thought as to where one might look but I think that they boil down to two possible seeds.

    The Beatles somewhere around 1966/7 began to produce some psychedelic tracks :
    Its all too much, Strawberry Fields, Blue Jay Way all are possible contenders

    Pink Floyd…………..Arnold Layne and See Emily Play are also considered as a good possibility too.
    In the back ground of the Summer of Love ( 1967) its also claimed that A whiter Shade Of Pale could qualify .
    However for the genre I want to introduce people to , it is important to look at the particular area of

    Typically British Psychedelia
    The Main ingredients which define this appear to be:
    Mostly fuzz guitar or organ based track

    • A distorted fairy tale lyric or a story in the lyric.( There is often a childhood romantic idea to the story…………maybe based on a poem or fairy story .

    • An attempt to pursue the singles market ( although albums were beginning to take hold here)

    • Backing by one of the pirate radio stations operating around the UK before 1967 ( BBC R1 Radio did favour some of these tracks but, it was not really the same force as the pirates)

    • Some connections with mainland Europe which are important in some of the releases .

    • One or two white powders ( Not available in this article!)

    • A radio ban ( Mostly the radio stations were far too unhip the know what the lyrics were about anyway but they did catch a few).

    • A particularly English feel………Maybe a military connection ( A la Sgt Pepper !)

    So lets look at the first major track in more detail:

    • Starting point Arnold Layne ( Pink Floyd)

    So, what have we ?Well there is the classic story in a song lyric often with a wistful or twisted approach, the guitar and organ approach, the white powder influences ………………………………..

    • See Emily Play ( Pink Floyd )
    Again a defining point in the genre…

    Now, it appears that many other bands were working on similar lines :and the intention of this beginners guide is to present a body of material for you to listen to , so I will stick to this goal and not discuss the genre much more:

    • My Friend Jack……………..The Smoke

    • Excerpt From A Teenage Opera…………..Keith West

    This project produced several classics of this kind:

    • He’s Our Dear Old Weatherman……………….Mark Wirtz

    A beautiful baroque Psychedelic melody:

    • Sam..................Keith West

    • Pentacost Hotel…….Nirvana ( UK)

    The World Of Oz

    • Peters Birthday

    A very early pair from pre-1967

    • Marc Bolan The Wizard 1965

    • Al Stewart………The Elf 1966

    Two from Toby Twirl

    • Sir Harry Faversham

    • Toffee Apple Sunday

    Motherlight ( This is claimed and covered by several bands )

    • The House Of Many Windows ( Not the rewrite of “The Magnificent Seven Theme “)

    Orange Bicycle

    • Laura’s Garden

    Magic Worms

    • Green Mellow Hill

    Crocheted Doughnut Ring

    • Happy Castle

    Tyrannosaurus Rex

    • Blessed Wild Apple Girl ( Real gem and a personal favourite

    • One Upon The Seas Of Abyssinia

    These are only intended as a taster………….there are many more gems if you mine for them…….At he time this kind of music was the preserve of late night radio or late night student floors . Many of the acts were spectacularly unsuccessful or only at an early stage of their careers.
    The scene did not last long in London…………transferring in the early seventies to the canal culutre of Amsterdam and living out quite a respectable career well into the seventies.
    The influence is great………………there are still traces of this is later years………..Many flower children were reborn in another age ………….people like All About Eve and many of the Goth bands are nothing more than flower children copies………………..
    A few more from later years:
    First lets examine

    All About Eve

    • In The Clouds:
    Sadly their cover of See Emily Play is not available on youtube

    After Tea

    • When The Snow Flakes Fall On Amsterdam

    Now you will need to speak a touch of Dutch but well into the present day the genre persists

    • Bouderwijn De Groot………………..Verdronken Vlinder( Drowned butterfly !_)
    Last edited by gryphon; 19-11-2010 at 11:01.
    Nice to be able to go back to trust and friendship!!!!!!!!!

    It's a mixed up sensation this being alive
    Oh! it wears a man down into the ground
    It's the strangest elation
    I can't describe it
    Oh it leaves a man weary
    It makes a man frown.
    .............................Chris Simpson ( "Mixed Up Sensations" 1975 Martin's Cafe )

  2. #2
    a restless spirit Jerome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    From Cape Town, South Africa


    Most of this stuff I know very little about but this is a brilliant opener for anyone interested in the genre. Great job Mr G! Going to spend some time this weekend trawling through all of this. Great input.

  3. #3


    i'll be doing the same as jerome on the weekend, i only know 3 or 4 of the tacks listed, personally i love the two Pink floyd ones, other than the majority of psychadelic-ish songs i know are the more commercial ones, 'a whiter shade of pale' is one of my alltime favourite songs along with 'white rabbit'.
    thanks for the list Gryphon

  4. #4


    Thank you for posting this. A rich history of British psychedelia. I'm not familiar with a lot of these, but I'm sure gonna check it out and discover these British hippies. So from this, The Beatles started it. I think Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds and A Day In the Life are also their 'trippy' songs.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts