The Culture of Psychedelic Drugs


Lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD was the most commonly used hallucinogen in America during the 1960's. At the time, it was not illegal so gaining access to the drug was not a challenge for those who desired a mind-expanding experience. The consumption of the drug was especially high in the counterculture population. Association with the drug in arts and culture was called psychedelia and several artists created music with influence from the drug.


The Flower Power Movement

The Vietnam War in the 1960's brought up a significant counterculture movement. This subgroup was often termed as "hippes" and they were characterized by their rebellion to a perfect society, their fashion of clothing, the use of drugs, especially LSD, and the music they listened to. Their philosophy was "peace, love, drugs, and rock 'n' roll".

The Music

The common music genre among the counterculture was psychedelic music. It is distinguished by the use of electric guitars, rebellious lyrics, and the use of drugs.


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Jefferson Airplane

This song by Jefferson Airplane is called "Volunteers". It was released as a single in 1967 on the album "Volunteers of America". The song's lyrics clearly show movement away from war.

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin (1943-1970) was an iconic voice of psychedelia. The song "Me and Bobby McGee" was originally written by Kris Kristofferson but Janis Joplin's version shown here became one of the most popular songs she sang.

The Doors

Jim Morrison is the lead singer of the 60's band. This song is called "Light My Fire" released in 1967 on their self-titled debut album.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Jimi Hendrix was an icon of psychedelic rock. He has written several great songs. The song showed here is called "Purple Haze", released in 1967 and one of his greatest hits.

The Beatles

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

This album contained the most revolutionary music of its time. It took 7 months of hard work to record, and was released on June 1st, 1967. The music in the album was considered psychedelic and because the Beatles were already hugely popular across the Unites States, it caused the psychedelic genre of music to go mainstream rather than just be popular among the subculture.