Psychedelic originally described drugs — especially LSD — that made users experience bizarre, mind-bending sounds and images, real and imagined. Soon psychedelic was also used for music, art, and colors that seemed to fit a drug-induced haze.
Psychedelic art is wild, vivid, and might make you a little dizzy, like an electric pink tie-dyed t-shirt or a scene of phosphorescent green poodles in high heels, hiking the Alps against a purple-plaid sky. Psychedelic rock is heavy on electronic sounds and intricate instrumentation, in the style the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers album. The word, dating from the 1950s, comes from the Greek psyche, “soul, mind” and delos “clear” — just what psychedelic isn’t.