The Best Psychedelic Rock Bands

Over 3.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Psychedelic Rock Bands

At its apex in the late 1960s, psychedelic rock has since remained one of rock's most popular genres. Gaining significant traction by the 'Summer of Love,' the best psychedelic rock bands were able to fuse elements of other sounds - in particular those of the non-Western variety - to replicate the trippy, groovy feeling popularized during that era. Although psychedelic rock has become a more underground rock movement since the late 1960s, that doesn't make it any less relevant. The neo-psych bands drew a lot of inspiration from earlier psychedelic rock bands and the kaleidoscopic nature of their sound, despite not being associated with the counter culture, and they remains one of the most exciting brands of rock music.

So, who are the best psych rock bands? When you think of psychedelic rock bands, you have to include the likes of The Doors, Grateful Dead, Flaming Lips, The 13th Floor Elevators, The Zombies, Iron Butterfly and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Some of these psychedelic rock bands are considered some of the greatest rock bands of all time, and with good reason. Their songs transcend psych rock and continue to strike a chord with music listeners across the globe and throughout multiple generations. 

That said, if you are a fan of psych or indie music and need a point of reference for new psychedelic rock artists, then you've found the perfect place to discover more music. This list answers the questions "what are the best psychedelic rock bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest psychedelic rock musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's songs and albums instead of just voting for the most popular psychedelic rock groups that you might've heard of. 

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  • Pink Floyd
    1,256 votes

    Emerging from the London underground scene in the 1960s, Pink Floyd's innovative fusion of rock, blues, and psychedelia created a mesmerizing soundscape that still stands as a hallmark of the genre. Spearheaded by the creative genius of Syd Barrett, the band's pioneering approach to songwriting and sonic experimentation elevated them to legendary status among psychedelic rock enthusiasts. Their conceptual albums such as "The Wall" and "Dark Side of the Moon" showcased their ability to weave intricate narratives into their music while exploring the depths of human consciousness.

  • Hailed as one of the most groundbreaking and influential guitarists of all time, Jimi Hendrix completely redefined the possibilities of the electric guitar through his innovative playing style and revolutionary use of effects pedals. His power trio, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, immersed listeners in a kaleidoscopic world of sonic exploration with their mind-bending yet soulful blend of blues and hard rock. Hendrix's fearless experimentation and virtuosic musicianship, particularly his iconic performance of "Purple Haze" at Woodstock, have ensured his enduring legacy in the annals of psychedelic rock history.

  • The Doors
    1,046 votes

    Few bands can exude the brooding mystique of The Doors, whose captivating and poetic lyrics were matched only by their hypnotic music. Fronted by the enigmatic Jim Morrison, the band's dark and evocative sound married Morrison's guttural vocals with Ray Manzarek's haunting organ melodies, creating a sonic atmosphere that was seductive and unnerving. The band's seminal self-titled album, featuring tracks such as "Light My Fire" and "Break on Through (To the Other Side)," remains a cornerstone of psychedelic rock to this day.

  • Cream
    657 votes

    As the first bona fide supergroup of the late '60s, Cream was a musical tour de force that blended blues, hard rock, and psychedelic influences into an unforgettable amalgam. Comprising Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce, the trio's virtuosic musicianship and improvisational prowess transformed extended jams such as "Spoonful" and "Crossroads" into towering landmarks of psychedelia. Cream's explosive live performances and collaborative spirit helped pave the way for future progressive rock bands and cemented their place in rock history.

  • Epitomizing the counterculture movement and sound of the San Francisco Bay Area during the late '60s, Jefferson Airplane took flight with their potent blend of acid-laced rock and folk influences. Led by the powerhouse vocals of Grace Slick and Marty Balin, along with Jorma Kaukonen's distinctive guitar work, the band created anthemic tracks like "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love," which became synonymous with the era's psychedelic revolution. Their immersive live performances and bold activism endeared them to a generation of passionate music fans.

  • The Zombies
    342 votes

    Hailing from the UK, The Zombies expertly meshed haunting melodies, lush vocal harmonies, and experimental song structures to deliver a unique brand of psychedelic pop. Their masterpiece, the 1968 album "Odessey and Oracle," masterfully showcases the band's penchant for combining eerie keyboard-driven arrangements with intelligent, introspective lyrics. The Zombies' innovative, timeless sound continues to inspire countless bands and listeners alike.