[Ads-l] "psychedelic" music (1964)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 28 16:23:40 UTC 2020

OED3's earliest citation for sense 2a of "psychedelic" ("designating a
style of popular music inspired or influenced by the effects of psychedelic
drugs") is from November 1965. On the self-titled debut album by The Holy
Modal Rounders (Peter Stampfel & Steve Weber), released in October 1964,
the song "Hesitation Blues" includes these lyrics:

"Got my psychedelic feet in my psychedelic shoes
I believe, Lordy mama, I got the psychedelic blues."

The song is an old blues standard, but these lines were added by Stampfel
as an intentional application of the word "psychedelic" to music. (Stampfel
discusses this in the 2006 documentary "The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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