Image by Matt Baker, from the Classics Illustrated version of R.D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone, 1946
The final stop on our tour of my favorite musical genres is the 1960s. I like a lot of music from the '60s, and I could easily have decided to write about sunshine pop or Motown or something. But like many people my age, I was exposed to Beatles records early in life, and their songs had a lasting impact that shapes the way I look at all music. My most vivid childhood memories of Beatles songs are mostly related to their more psychedelic works like "Yellow Submarine", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", and "Norwegian Wood". I remember seeing the movie Yellow Submarine for the first time on VHS and thinking, "Yeah, this is for me!"
Of course, the Beatles didn't invent psychedelic rock - it was one area where they started out behind the curve, copying the new direction of bands like the Byrds. Where the Rolling Stones flirted with psychedelia and moved on, the Beatles immersed themselves in the idea of "mind-altering" sounds and it shaped everything they did, as well as the rest of British psych rock, from that time forward.
There are two distinct flavors of psychedelic rock, British and American. British psych rock was more surrealistic and light-hearted, using fairy tales and nursery rhymes as the foundation for drug-inspired weirdness. American psych rock was more about rough-and-ready garage rock run through a weirdness filter of reverb and distortion. My preference has always been the softer-edged British psych rock, but some of the best psych music was definitely made in the US. The Byrds, Love, and lesser-known bands like the Electric Prunes all made great psych rock records, and I've chosen an Electric Prunes song for today's selection. A non-album single that doesn't get heard as much as their big hit "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)", I think it is actually the best synthesis of their pop songwriting and psychedelic sound. Check out that crazy phased guitar on the bridge!
"Everybody Knows (You're Not in Love)" by the Electric Prunes