Saturday Eye Candy: LSD - Dr. Albert Hofmann


Yesterday marked the 67th anniversary of the very first "acid trip," when Swiss scientist Dr. Albert Hofmann accidentally absorbed a small amount of the drug he was synthesizing on April 16, 1943. He wrote of the experience that he was…

... affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.

After further experimentation, Hofmann eventually called LSD "medicine for the soul." It also happens to be one of the greatest creative catalysts music has ever experienced, particularly in its first major embrace by young America in the 1960s. The direct corollary between LSD and rock 'n' roll is unmistakable and produced albums and songs now deemed "classic" by nearly every critic. This week's Eye Candy cherry picks a few gems inspired by acid. Take a gander and then hop on your bicycle and think happy thoughts about Dr. Hofmann!

We settle in on the cool, green grass next to Steve Marriott and the boys.

Sure, it's obvious but also a perfect example of what LSD can do to the musical mind.

And there are other Beatles songs similarly inspired. This was originally aired as a children's cartoon!

Even squeaky-clean mainstream acts like The Cowsills got the spark in the '60s. Real lovely ditty.

There were, of course, less squeaky-clean lads who dabbled and came back with songs about what they saw and felt.

XTC side project Dukes of the Stratospher, released in the mid-80s, got the vibe of the Flower Power era just right. The faux BBC documentary intro is spot-on, too.

Despite Ted Nugent's claim that he had no idea this was about tripping, it's pretty clear this is a psychedelic nugget of the first order.

"My friend Jack eats sugar lumps." Well, there you are. A '60s cult gem from a performance on Beat Club in 1697.

We conclude this FAR from comprehensive salute to the LSD/rock connection with a vintage slab from Pink Floyd in the Syd Barrett period. This piece continues to inspire strange, often wonderful sounds from musicians today. Stick around for the special commentary from a mustachioed Macca at the end.

[Published on: 4/17/10]

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