Best Top Hippie Albums of the 60s
by Christina Gregoire
It’s such a shame that so many rocking Baby Boomer idols went to rock n roll heaven at such a young and tender age. But, it’s interesting to think about what would have happened if Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison had lived?
Would we be setting up our TIVOs to capture a crotchety Jimi Hendrix squinting his way through an unplugged “Crosstown Traffic” on PBS? Would we be downloading DVDs of a plastic-surgeried Janis Joplin's 60th Birthday Special? Or, would we be googling YouTube for the latest underground video of a tired, besoddened, and leathery Jim Morrison winking his wienie in some Santa Barbara pub? Probably. Probably that and more.
Who knows what might have happened if our musical mascots had lived? Well, we’ll never know what fabulous melodies died with them, because all we have left are their performances frozen in time. But, that is enough. And, we should be thankful that megastars like Eric Clapton (and others) continued to give us little pieces of their hearts, so we could drown out the aftertaste of disco.
Great Albums for Baby Boomers From the 1960s
Wow, just putting the word "hippie" into writing is interesting. Most "hippies" didn't call themselves "hippies" back in the day, but that awful label will have to do, even though most of those rebellious Boomers went mainstream, and they now enjoy the deep pockets that advertisers and manufactures continue to covet.
Here is a cross section of hippie albums that made their way onto the Rolling Stones 500 best albums. I want you to know that I edited out some great RS albums; however, I think I left most of the 60s flavor in. Note: I've removed broken links. If you find more, leave a note at bottom of page. I keep adding new youtube links, but those music companies are ever vigilant.
Hippie Albums From 1965 and 1966
- Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds: This is a classic Dylan song. Bob Dylan was America's answer to John Lennon.
- If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears – The Mamas and the Papas: Most of the Mamas and Papas songs are a bit too bubblegum for me, but I do like "Go Where You Wanna Go" because it's a song about freedom.
Hippie Albums From 1967
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles: Released during “The Summer of Love”, the sitar sound of George Harrison was the perfect soundtrack for anyone lucky enough to be hanging out in Golden Gate Park during that brief, but magical, moment. Other groovy Beatles’ albums with trippy songs include Revolver and The White Album.
- Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience: This is the album that turned me on to a totally new sound. I played it every morning before facing the horrid, square, straight, boring people at my high school.
- Forever Changes – Love: The cover of Forever Changes looked familiar, but I had to look up this album, because I didn’t recognize the names of the songs. However, when you hear this tune, I know you’ll be happy that I put this on my list. Just curl up in the lotus position on your Indian-print pillows and groove to this beautiful guitar work.
- The Doors – The Doors: I’m not going to link to “Light My Fire” because it's been played so much it has become almost like elevator music, though it was radical for its time. Actually, I think Jim Morrison gives away more passion in “Break on Through”.
- The Grateful Dead - The Grateful Dead: I'm sorry to disappoint some of you, but I was never a big fan of The Dead. They were good in person, but their albums ended up sounding too spaced out or too cowboy.
- Buffalo Springfield Again - Buffalo Springfield: You’ve heard Mr. Soul before but you may not have remembered the name of the song.
- Moby Grape – Moby Grape: I saw these guys and they were fabulous…then they just dropped off the radar.
- Surrealistic Pillow – The Jefferson Airplane: Feed your head.
Hippie Albums from 1968
- Music From Big Pink – The Band: Well, I never quite got into The Band, but I do like this song, and their music brings back some amazing memories.
- Cheap Thrills – Big Brother and the Holding Company: I can’t understand why anyone would rank Pearl above Cheap Thrills. I’m sure the sound quality is better on Pearl, but those Rolling Stoners are voting for the wrong album.
- Wheels of Fire – Cream: All Cream albums had extremely trip-adelic tunes. What else would you expect from Eric Clapton?
- Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies: I don’t remember when this came out but the album is quintessentially hip.
Hippie Albums from 1969
- Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin: How Many More Times is one of the most hardcore cool and grooving hippie songs of the era. I’ll never get tired of this. It reminds me of the good old days on the beaches of Oahu.
- Let It Bleed – The Rolling Stones: I’m not sure anyone would portray the Rolling Stones as a hippie band, but we all listened to them as we rolled the open country in our friends' VW vans.
- Willy and the Poor Boys – Credence Clearwater Revival: This was just one of the CCR albums on the RS 500 list, but it has one of the best anti-war songs of all time.
- Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash: Oh, these guys remind me of the grooviest days of my life.
- Happy Trails – Quicksilver Messenger Service: Check out Maiden of the Cancer Moon. If you turn it way up and close your eyes, you will feel like you are back in the Avalon Ballroom with the echoey feedback bouncing off the walls.
Many of these groups, such as Led Zep, had several great albums listed by Rolling Stone Magazine. If this trip down zee old memory lane has just wetted your whistle, there are plenty more groovy albums where these came from. PS I wasn't much of a hippie after I realized that most hippies were broke. I was mostly just a rabid music lover.
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What are your favorite bands? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page.