Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Doorway to Experimental Songwriting


In 1965 The Byrds song "Eight Miles High" featured the group's trademark harmonies set over a hypnotic electric guitar sound but was a little too avantgarde at the time to be considered folk anymore. The band had been experimenting in the studio and stumbled onto an even newer form of music that would eventually become known as "psychedelic rock." It's important to remember that their main influence was The Beatles, who had already begun incorporating sound effects in their music a year earlier with the first use of feedback in the recording of "I Feel Fine."

The link between folk/rock and psychedelia continued to permeate throughout the sixties. Peter, Paul & Mary even got a little psychedelic on "I Dig Rock And Roll Music," which made a strong statement about how radio censorship of song lyrics was encouraging secret codes and metaphors with hidden meaning for taboo topics in pop songs. Dylan continued a string of electric folk rock hits which included "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35," "Positively 4th Street," "All Along The Watchtower" and perhaps his most rambling stream of consciousness song "Subterranean Homesick Blues." By the end of the sixties pure acoustic folk still commanded huge followings with songs like "Blackbird" by The Beatles and "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchell.

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