In the run up to the 1970s the Psychedelic culture was rife.
From its basis in widespread drug use by open minded hippie types, to authors and artists eager to expand their mind, the sound of psychedelics had its own musical genre. Thanks to the development of more electronic instruments and effects, mind bending guitar sounds, wavy outer space synths and filtered organ solos would help create a musical sound that was attempting to be as weird and wonderful as the experience felt by LSD users. This sound became a sub genre of rock music at the time as pioneers of the sound such as Hawkwind, Soft Machine and The Doors used their impressive skills to craft the enigmatic sounds that would lead the movement. Yet even though this widely appreciated genre was at the heart of the counter culture flock it didn’t make it far into the 1970s for several reasons.
Drugs Were Halted
Being the origin of the movement and one of the main proponents of the hippie culture, psychedelic drugs were a staple in gatherings the same way that beer is at metal concerts. In the ’66 however LSD was criminalized in the Us meaning that the once widespread, eye opening substance was now being cracked down on by authorities. Without the drug to urge people to free their inhibitions and start seeing a different reality, the movement quickly began to slow down.
Even though the free loving folk of the 60s all preached about peace and love, there were some outliers that didn’t seem to get the message. The infamous murders committed by the Manson family shook America and the world, and unfortunately Charles Manson himself is noted as saying he was inspired by Beatles songs. In fact, he believed that the song Helter Skelter was a prophetic song that was warning the world of an upcoming racial war, the name of the song was written at one of the crime scenes. This sparked a turn for the group who were seen as taking over America by those on the outside. On top of this California’s Altamont Speedway Free Festival did little to quell the fears that Hippies were fun loving, caring people. This concert what was intended to be a replication of the fabled Woodstock but for the west coast, turned out to be a nightmare for many. Hundreds were hurt, several were killed, one because of a drug induced state, all of this backfired hugely on the movement in the run up to 1970.
The Music Died
By the time 1970 hit, the hippie movement was on its back legs. This isn’t to say that people weren’t still involved, but the collective and widespread nationwide movement had been stopped in its tracks. Possibly because of the shifting attitude towards them and also because of their lack of drug fuelled recording sessions, psychedelic musicians shifted out of the genre into an overall less wild sound. If this wasn’t enough by 1971 figureheads of the movement including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison had all passed away leaving those behind grieving and rudderless.