Sean Lennon on 10 Lost Psychedelic Classics
"It's really my favorite period in rock & roll history"
MAY 13, 2014
Lennon, an avid connoisseur of far-out Sixties sounds, explored some of the era's deepest cult releases for this playlist. "There are a hundred songs I could pick," he says. "It's really my favorite period in rock & roll history. Revolver and Pepper are my favorite Beatles records – that's when everyone was trying hardest to blow people's minds."
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1. July, "Dandelion Seeds"
July are a great lost British psychedelic band. This song starts out with this really groovy, funky, bluesy rock thing – and then suddenly it cross-fades to this completely different tripped-out song. I'm a big fan of that kind of thing.
2. Kaleidoscope, "Egyptian Garden"
You can hear that they were super influenced by ethnic instruments from Turkey and the Middle East. I read that Jimmy Page once called them his favorite band, which blew my mind.
3. The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, "Why Did I Get So High"
This band is so awesome. Their drummer, Spencer Dryden, was later in Jefferson Airplane, and Glen Campbell played on their second record – but they never quite crossed over.
4. The United States Of America, "The American Metaphysical Circus"
Completely mind-blowing. They were one of the first synth bands – there was no guitar player – and all the songs on this album are about this American dystopia. They were way ahead of their time, and I really love them.
5. Os Mutantes, "O Relogio"
Os Mutantes are a lot more known than the other bands on this list, because Kurt Cobain loved them. They had to make their own distortion pedals, apparently, because it was hard to find stuff in Brazil at the time.
6. Sweetwater, "Motherless Child"
They were supposed to open Woodstock, but they got busted by the police, so Richie Havens ended up playing first, and now no one really pays attention to them. This is a cover of an old folk song, but the arrangement is so beautiful and ambitious – it's really on the level of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.
7. Linda Perhacs, "Parallelograms"
It's hard to understand how she was overlooked at a time when Joni Mitchell was ruling the world – her voice is incredibly beautiful. This song is about a parallelogram, and it has parallel harmonies. Very conceptual.
8. The Bubble Puppy, "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass"
They were from Texas, and they're one of those bands that just sort of fizzled out. I don't know how many more great songs they have. All I know is that this song has a super-rocking riff, and I love how that riff corresponds to the vocals.
9. Crabby Appleton, "Peace By Peace"
Crabby Appleton's name reminds me of that scene in Spinal Tap when they’re sitting around, talking about the old bands they were in. They had one big hit, "Go Back," but this song wasn't as big. They broke up after one more album.
10. West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, "Eighteen Is Over The Hill"
I can understand why this band is overlooked, because their records are very hard to listen to – they're really out there. They almost make Frank Zappa seem mainstream. But then they have these moments where it just works. This is one of their best songs.