Psych is a broad term referring to a genre of psychedelic vinyl albums and singles recorded from roughly 1966 to 1969. As psych record collector Patrick Lundborg describes it in his interview at Collectors Weekly, psychedelic music was created by bands that were influenced by psychedelic drugs, from LSD to mushrooms. Both an album’s cover and the music on the vinyl inside reflected these intense influences.

Although the most active sector of today’s market for psych records is in rare and obscure recordings, some of the most famous psych records are by some of the world’s most popular artists, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton. Album covers such as Revolver (1966) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) place The Beatles squarely in the psych-records camp. Magical Mystery Tour (1967) is also a link to the world of rock music posters, thanks to its cover by renowned poster artist John Van Hamersveld.

Other highly regarded examples of British psych include Donovan’s Sunshine Superman from 1966. The list from 1967 is exceptionally deep—Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Their Satanic Majesties Request by the Rolling Stones, Cream’s Disraeli Gears, The Who Sell Out by The Who, and Traffic’s Mr. Fantasy are just a few of the trippy English gems from that seminal year.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a multitude of rock bands released a plethora of psych records in the late 1960s. Moby Grape’s eponymous 1967 debut is a must-have for most psych vinyl collectors, as is the Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 After Bathing at Baxter’s, which was reportedly mixed by the band based on how well the music would sound while the listener was under the influence of LSD.

Country Joe and the Fish made the connection between psychedelic drug culture and their music explicit with their 1967 Electric Music for the Mind and Body. Power trio Blue Cheer released Vincebus Eruptum in 1968, which was the same year one of San Francisco’s most influential acts, Quicksilver Messenger Service, offered up its spacey self-titled debut. Also desirable is the pair of albums by H.P. Lovecraft, a Chicago band that was formed in 1967, relocated to San Francisco in 1968, and then disbanded a year later.

The Grateful Dead was the region’s psychedelic heavyweight. Anthem of the Sun (1968), with its mandala-like cover, combined live tracks with studio work, while the band’s studio follow-up, Aoxomoxoa, featured a gloriously psychedelic cover by Fillmore and Avalon poster artist Rick Griffin.

And then there was the back cover of the band’s 1969 double LP, Live Dead, which featured the word "Dead" in big, blocky letters: It was designed by artist R.D. Thomas so that the top part of "Dead" appeared to spell out the word "Acid" in a not-so-subtle wink to the recreational drug of choice for the Grateful Dead’s audience of Deadheads...

As with Northern Soul, though, the most intense collecting activity in psych vinyl records revolves around the lesser-known, cult-status bands that produced discs in small production runs. Like Northern Soul, scarcity is key.

For example, in 1967, the bands Golden Dawn and 13th Floor Elevators, both from Austin, Texas, released a pair of albums that were not widely distributed at the time but today are considered by many to be classics of the genre. Golden Dawn’s Power Plant is less well known than the Elevators’ Easter Everywhere or The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, the group’s 1966 debut. But that extra layer of obscurity, it seems, is at least part of what makes Golden Dawn attractive to collectors.

But for sheer scarcity and cult cachet, few psych bands compare to C.A. Quintet, a Minneapolis outfit that produced just one album in its heyday. Trip Through Hell, 1969, sold less than 1,000 copies for a label called Candy Floss. Today, beat-up copies with tequila-sunrise stains on their covers fetch more than a grand on eBay.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Funk Soul Psych 45 - Boco - Running The Mardi Gras - Laughing Eye - Vg+ Mp3Zior 1971 Lp Rare Uk Prog Psych Occult Sabbath Monster Nepentha Excellent OrigThe Dovers The Third Eye Miramar Holy Grail Punkadelic Garage Psych 45 Hear!The Common People 1969 California Druggy Psych Fuzz Pop Lp Original In Shrink!Rare Psych Record Lp Acid Archives - Cold Sun Dark Shadows - Rockadelic 1990Rare Psych Record Lp Acid Archives - Children Rebirth - Original Cinema Caravan If I Could Do It 1st Press Uk Decca Stunning Psych Monster Kaleidoscope*/ex- Mc-5 (mc5) I Can Only Give You/one Of The Guys Amg-1001 Psych Garage GrailCressida - Asylum Lp Prog Psych Vertigo Swirl Early ReissueThe Bit' A Sweet - Out Of Sight Out Of Mind 1967 Usa 45 Mgm Killer Garage/psychGtos Permanent Damage Orig 12" 33rpm Lp Psych Hippie Rock Zappa Vg+ PromoThe Velvet Underground & Nico ~ 1968 Mono Press ~ Rare Psych ~ Superb!Gary Higgins ~ Red Hash ~ Original Shrink ~ Rare Private Folk Psych ~ Mint- !!The Impac - Too Far Out Rare Uk 1966 / Freakbeat / Mod / Psych / Joe Meek / Ex+!Tangerine Zoo, The Outside Looking In Psych Rare Lp Mainstream LabelJeff Moore Youngest Son Canada Orig Private Press Acid Folk Psych*/ex Damon -don't You Feel Me/poor Poor Genie- Promo Ankh Records Psych Monster!The Fallen Angels ~ Its A Long Way Down ~ 1st Press Roulette ~ Rare Psych!1968 Sealed Rock Psych Lp The City ‎now That Everything's Been Said Color Cover!Anywhere/flower Travellin'band Psych Prog Orig First Press G/f Sleeve Lp Pokora Velvet Night Self-titled Psych White Label Promo Rare LpWest Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, The Part One Psych Original LabelSpirit Self-titled Psych Original LabelCorpus Creation A Child Orig Texas 1972 Psych Prog Lp Acorn Top Copy Shrink Nm-Elektra 1st The Stooges ~ 1969 Mind Numbingly Ugly Psych = Iggy On His BellyFood Brain/social Gatherin Psych Prog Pokora Foodbrain Orig W/insert Shinki ChenTyrannosaurus Rex My People Were Fair And Had Sky In Their Hair Uk Rare Psych*/vg+ Damon -song Of The Gypsy/oh What A Good Boy Ankh Records 45 Psych Monster!The Remains Self-titled Lp 1966 Epic Ln 24214 1st Us Mono Pressing Nuggets PsychGomorrha S/t Kraut Prog Psych Lp Krautrock Cornet 1st Press Orig1968 Sealed Psych Circus Maximus Neverland Revisited Vanguard Jerry Jeff WalkerRare Psych Record Lp Acid Archives - Dialogue S/t Cold Studio - First Press 1972T.2. It'll All Work Out In Boomland Hard Rock; Psych; Blues Rock Rare LpLaurels -devil's Well / Underground -uk Psych Double-sider Demo 1971 Ex Hear!Sir Lord Baltimore Kingdom Come Hard Rock; PsychSidney Owens & The North, South Connection "sputnik" Psych Funk 45 Moving Up Mp3Small Faces There Are But Four Small Faces PsychThane Russal & Three - Security Uk 7" 1966 Mega Rare 60s Psych GarageR.l. "hot Mix" Europe 1969 ~ Led Zeppelin Ii ~ Hard Heavy Blues Psych Yardbirds#elysian Spring- Glass Flowers Despa Og Top Copy Tranced Out Psych Jazz Listen#Troyka Self-titled Psych White Label PromoRare Psych Record Lp Acid Archives - Cookin' Mama New Day - Rock Bottom 1971Rare Psych Record Lp Acid Archives - Todd Clark Group We're Not Safe - Ex EyesWool Self-titled PsychToe Fat Self-titled Blues Rock; PsychEugen Thomass Ost Scarabea Ep Orig German Jazz Funk Psych Nm Inmus 1968 Junco Partners Rare 1970 Uk Orig Philips Prog Psych Lp Procol Harum Hear It!Agape Gospel Hard Rock Orig Acid Prog Rock Psych Lp! Xian PsychSorcery Sinister Soldiers 1978 Private Doomy Psych Metal Hard Rock Lp CenturySyndicate Of Sound Little Girl Garage; Psych Funk Garage Psych 45 - Dirty Martha - She's Not There - Castle - Mp3Rare Psych Record Lp Acid Archives - Spirit Of Christmas Lies To Live By 1974Soft Boys, The Underwater Moonlight Alternative; Psych Uk PressSmall Faces, The Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake Psych Irish PressUltimate Spinach Self-titled PsychRare Psych Record Lp Acid Archives - David Chalmers Primeval Road 1st Press 1976Zabriskie Point Psych; Folk Rock 1970 Ost SoundtrackBeo Wulf Rare/unknown Heavy Prog Psych Lp 1972 Firebirds 31 Flavors In Shrink!The Cosmic Sound Of Gandharva 1977 Private Ca Dark Psych Folk Lp Sealed! Hear ItCommon People Lp Capitol Rare Psych Fuzz Acid Sealed