The Ten Best Psychedelic British Songs

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The Independent Culture

1 ARNOLD LAYNE Pink Floyd (1967)

Here, we catch Pink Floyd in unexplored territory, dipping into the subject of transvestism and upsetting the BBC into the bargain. Three years later, I was able to hitch a ride by the power of a Fidelity stereo and some Alba headphones: my cold, damp bedroom became a 10ft square Tardis of swinging London - in my mind, at least.

2 I MUST BE MAD The Craig (1966)

The intro to this gem is an insane pounding guitar riff with more than a taste of Townshend. Ultra-violent crash chords burst into the verse "I can't explain the way I feel about you"; the stunning drumming is courtesy of Emerson Lake and Palmer's Carl P.

3 MY WHITE BICYCLE Tomorrow (1967)

Geoff Emerick, George Martin's Beatles sidekick, used all the tricks in his psychedelic toolbox for this one. A pre-Yes Steve Howe's brilliant backwards guitar kept us warm and fuzzy on many a long trip. Twink on the skins gets almost as loud as his trousers. Keith West sings about the white bicycles of 1960s Amsterdam.

4 MICHAEL ANGELO The 23rd Turnoff (1967)

The 23rd turn-off was the exit from the M6 motorway to Liverpool. I found this beauty at a car-boot sale: 20p later, I had a mint copy. Classic musical ambrosia to be gulped down by greedy gods.

5 KITES Simon Dupree and the Big Sound (1967)

I just love a mystic blend of the East and West. Drift along opium-soaked strings and twitch your little finger to the rhythm, just to let us know you will be coming back to reality some time soon.


You know that fab guitar intro to "Last Train to Clarkesville" by The Monkees? This one's better. Top-hole lyrics here: "My father's name was Dad/ My mother's name was Mum. How can I take the blame/ For every thing I've done?"

7 THE L S BUMBLE BEE Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (1967)

Pete and Dud get trippy with the little insects. This is rumoured to have the odd Beatle involved (Lennon) - and, let's face it, Peter Cook in little square shades in Bedazzled is the coolest Sixties psych image there is.

8 THE DAYS OF PEARLY SPENCER David McWilliams (1967)

The story of a man stupefied by the world and drifting into the twilight existence of a tramp. A string-heavy wash sets the scene, and an almost countrified bass-and-drum chug keeps you going. The hook is delivered by a distorted disembodied voice piping up every chorus.

9 MY FRIEND JACK The Smoke (1967)

I can remember getting some sort of inoculation on a sugar lump at school. The Smoke's friend Jack eats sugar lumps to inoculate himself against the effects of the real world: a spoonful of LSD helps the sugar lump go down. Great tremolo guitar vibrates you down the track and on to never-never-forever-land.

10 VACUUM CLEANER Tintern Abbey (1967)

From the outset, this is a jewel of a track. The guitar solo sweeps in on a wave of phaze and settles on an elongated feedback wall. "Fix me up with your sweet dose/ now I'm feeling like a ghost," proclaims the singer David McTavish. Superb.