This post is part of our Psych 101 program, an in-depth, 14-part series that looks at the impact of psychedelia on modern music. Want to sign up to receive the other installments in your inbox? Go here. Already signed up and enjoying it? Help us get the word out by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter or just sending your friends this link. They’ll thank you. We thank you.
Be advised: You’re about to encounter a bumper crop of bad vibes. The CliffsNotes version of rock history would have you believe that the ‘60s was just a wall-to-wall Age of Aquarius packed to the gills with peace, love, and paisley. But a closer look reveals a darker side to the hippie dream. The same counterculture that made all those sunshine daydreams possible also encompassed some seriously shadowy elements. Psychosis, sexual perversion, misanthropy, morbidity, social decay, the downside of psychedelics—all of these were a potent part of the scene. Whether you’ve got a well known band like The Velvet Underground delivering an ode to sadomasochism on “Venus in Furs” or a more obscure outfit like St. John Green serving up a song for the “Goddess of Death,” take a tumble into the creepier side of the ‘60s.