These are the four Beatles albums you need if you are into psychedelic music. I will not put them in order (other than alphabetical) because you really need all four of them and I don’t want you thinking you can get away with leaving any of them off your list.
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
This is probably The Beatles most purposefully trippy album. Almost every song on the album is bursting with mind melting madness of some type or another whether it be experimental production, unusual song arrangements, and/or unusual songwriting. “I Am The Walrus” & “Strawberry Fields Forever” are arguably John Lennon at his most “mad.” These are the songs where he went full out with the “kitchen sink” production, the bizarre lyrics, the unexpected song arrangements. It’s all there. “Flying,” “Blue Jay Way,” and the title track “Magical Mystery Tour,” these are songs designed to melt minds and they do just that.
What brililant songs. And what an amazing variety in music in such a compact album. There’s more variety in this 35 minute album than in most band’s whole careers. And it’s all done so incredibly well. And then there’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” which could very well be the most far out song The Beatles ever recorded.
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
This is a trip. Sure the “concept” isn’t really all that tight, but I think that’s why it works so well. It’s like you are in a carnival going around hearing these different incarnations of the same band. Again a wild selection of different styles of music but unlike Revolver, each of the songs somehow sounds connected to each other as well. It’s an amazing trick to make “Within You Without You” & “When I’m 64” make sense together on the same album.
This is an album that has become so legendary that sometimes I think people don’t properly appreciate how great it is. It is not overrated. It really is that good.
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If you think otherwise, you may have not got out of that stage where you want to be different just for it’s own sake.
The White Album(1968)
I talk a lot about variety in this article because that’s one of the things that I love most about The Beatles music and it’s one of the things that I think makes listening to their albums so trippy. Well this is the peak of that variety. There’s 30 tracks here and a vast majority of them are completely different than the other 29 songs on the album. In many ways this is the ultimate Beatles trip and I think it’s their best album ever (psychedelic or not.)
And then there’s “Revolution #9.” It’s hard to get much more psychedelic than that. If you really listen to this track closely on headphones you are likely to get yourself quite a scare and I think that makes the song quite a successful piece of sound art.