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Acid rock
Stylistic origins Psychedelic rock, garage rock, blues-rock, jazz fusion, rāga
Cultural origins Late 1960s United States
Typical instruments Electric guitar (usually with guitar effects - distortion, fuzzbox, phaser, etc.) - bass guitar - electronic organ - drums
Mainstream popularity Peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Derivative forms Heavy metal, space rock
Fusion genres
Acid punk - Acid rap - Psychobilly - Acid Blues - Acid house
Regional scenes
San Francisco, California

Acid rock is a form of psychedelic rock, which is characterized with long instrumental solos, few (if any) lyrics and musical improvisation[1]. Tom Wolfe describes the LSD-influenced music of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Iron Butterfly, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Ultimate Spinach, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Blue Cheer, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Great Society, Stone Garden and the Grateful Dead as "acid rock" in his book about Ken Kesey and the Acid Tests, The 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, and which played loud, "heavy" music featuring long improvised solos.[3]

History and use of the term

Acid rock got its name because it served as "background" music for acid trips in underground parties in the 1960s (e.g. the Merry Pranksters' "Acid Tests").[2] ("Acid" is a slang term for LSD.) In an interview with Rolling Stone Jerry Garcia quoted Grateful 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."[4] The term "acid rock" is generally equivalent to psychedelic rock. Rolling Stone magazine includes early Pink Floyd as "acid-rock".[5] In June 1967 Time Magazine wrote "From jukeboxes and transistors across the nation pulses the turned-on sound of acid-rock groups: the Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, Moby Grape".[6] In 1968 Life magazine referred to The Doors as the "Kings of Acid Rock".[7]

The term was much used in its heyday of the late 1960s and early 1970s, but has fallen into disuse; it is now only used as a means of putting this music into historical perspective.

When hard rock and heavy metal became prominent in the early and mid 1970s, the phrase "acid rock" was sometimes generically and erroneously applied to these genres. Over time, the common use of the term "heavy metal" replaced "acid rock" for these styles of music. Examples of hard rock bands once commonly called "acid rock" are: Alice Cooper[8], Vanilla Fudge, and Deep Purple.[9]


  1. ^ allmusic
  2. ^ a b Wolfe, Tom (1968). The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Black Swan. pp. 223. ISBN 0-552-99366-2. 
  3. ^ Lucky, Jerry (2003). The Psychedelic Rock Files. Collector's Guide Publishing Inc.. pp. 262. ISBN 1-896522-97-1. 
  4. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine Staff, The Rolling Stone Interviews: 1967-1980 : Talking With the Legend of Rock and Roll, (Jerry Garcia), p.195 ISBN 0312034865
  5. ^ Pink Floyd Biography "...from The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Simon & Schuster, 2001)"
  6. ^ Youth: The Hippies Time Magazine June 7, 1967 Issue
  7. ^ Powledge, Fred. "Wicked Go The Doors." Life, April 12, 1968.
  8. ^ Peter Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock, Rough Guides, 2003, p.224 ISBN 1843531054
  9. ^ Chad Driscoll Purple biography

Simple English

Acid rock is a form of rock music, focusing mainly on hallucinations and drugs. It is mostly an off-beat style. It uses vivid imagery, and sometimes strange sound/musical effects (like backward recorded music).



"Acid rock" was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But it is not very popular today.


Acid Rock got its name from the mixture of music and the drug LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), which most people call "acid". "Acid rock" is usually recorded when the mucisian was high on LSD. Often the lyrics are about hallucinations.

Acid rock tracks and singles







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