Psychedelic Music in San Francisco : Style, Context, and Evolution


This investigation into the psychedelic music of San Francisco outlines its musical and cultural context and identifies key characteristics. The origins, development, decline, and revival of this vibrant and innovative form of rock, which emerged in the mid-1960s, are traced through an original model of musical style evolution.

Part of the research involved interviews with members of bands such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, and It’s A Beautiful Day.

This is a book edition of a Ph.D. thesis for an interdisciplinary program in humanities. The approach blends music, history, and communication studies.

Craig Morrison is a musician (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and is also the author of Go Cat Go ! Rockabilly Music and Its Makers (published by the University of Illinois Press) and American Popular Music : Rock and Roll (published by Facts on File).

reader comments :

"Your thesis is wonderful. You should get a publisher for it and let the world read it. True scholarship regarding pop music is appallingly lacking don’t ya think ? The problem as I see it is that so few serious musicians with an academic background have actually ’heard the electric guitars of their souls ..and said yes to them’ to speak.....(that’s from the original liner notes of the
legendary ’What’s Shakin’ blues compilation LP.......a quote that has stuck with me). The opposite is often true for musicians who come to academia and music scholarship from a rock or blues place. Some of the pompous shit that I read in serious music mags makes me gag. You have really done something special as a musician. You have closed that gap !!!
" - Norm M (guitarist)


Psychedelic Music in San Francisco : Style, Context, and Evolution is available as a digital download for $5 or as a printed book for $25.90, from

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is an ethnomusicologist, teacher, author, and musician
based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
7 Nights Music Communications, 2006