The 7 Psychedelic Songs From Pink Floyd
Leaders of The Psychedelic Rock Movement
Pink Floyd has several songs on their catalog that are trippy enough to get you high just by listening to them. From the lyrics to the sounds – they’re so psychedelic and in more ways than one, they somehow bend your mind and reality. You never fully understand the term “a song taking you places” until you listen to the following tracks. Some are weird, some are creepy, some are downright disturbing. Whatever it is, these tunes will surely make you feel things.
Pro tip: Listen with your headphones. The entire musical experience is so much better that way.
7. Flaming (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967)
It’s written by Syd Barrett so you know it will be as psychedelic as it can get. The lyrics are about buttercups and unicorns. It was a staple in the band’s set list even after Barrett was replaced by David Gilmour. With the haunting intro and fantastical imagery, it’s no wonder why this became a fan favorite.
6. Astronomy Domine (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967)
It’s another piece from Barrett who was Pink Floyd’s primary songwriter at the time. With the unusual chord progression and lyrics that include the names of some of Uranus’ moons, it’s clear from the get-go that Barrett was a musical genius. His mind worked unlike any other songwriter. In a 2018 interview, Nick Mason told the Rolling Stone magazine, “This is such a great drum track in an interesting time signature. It’s a fantastic bit of ’60s philosophy mixed with a sort of psychedelic lyric.”
5. Atom Heart Mother (Atom Heart Mother, 1970)
This six-part suite is over 23 minutes long. The electronic noises, distorted voice, and solos – it’s an incredibly well-written music. Stanley Kubrick wanted to use it for his 1971 dystopian crime movie A Clockwork Orange but Pink Floyd refused. And because of its complexity, performing it live became costly since they had to hire a full brass section and choir for their tour.
4. Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast (Atom Heart Mother, 1970)
A three-part instrumental track, the title says it all. It features Pink Floyd roadie Alan Styles talking about breakfasts – what he’s preparing and eating, and breakfast he had in the past. You can also hear him muttering, drinking and eating loudly, cooking, etc. It’s quirky and fun but undoubtedly brilliant. It’s pretty clear just how much Pink Floyd liked to push the envelope with their creations.
3. Set the Control for the Heart of the Sun (A Saucerful of Secrets, 1968)
This is the only song that featured all five members of Pink Floyd – there were guitar parts played by both David Gilmour and Syd Barrett. Although it’s a magnificent track, it received negative reviews when it came out. Rolling Stone’s Jim Miller even described it as “boring melodically, harmonically, and lyrically.” As far as psychedelic songs go, this is definitely among the best.
2. Interstellar Overdrive (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967)
This song reflected Pink Floyd’s early years when they leaned more towards psychedelic rock. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, however, especially when it comes to the free-form section. It’s totally understandable given that there’s just a bunch of guitar noises. Roger Waters once referred to it as “an abstract piece” and that’s perhaps the most accurate description.
1. Echoes (Meddle, 1971)
A suitable conclusion to Meddle, Echoes takes up the entire second side clocking in at over 23 minutes. Originally titled Return To The Sun Of Nothing, Waters told Rolling Stone that this was an attempt to describe “The potential that human beings have for recognizing each other’s humanity and responding to it, with empathy rather than antipathy.”