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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Apr 28 18:04:33 UTC 2020

Yes, theirs is an interesting take on Hesitation Blues, a traditional song
with very unstable lyrics--no two versions seem exactly alike.  For
example, besides the "psychedelic" bit (at 1:46), this couplet at the
beginning is apparently unique to the HMR version:

I was born in Pennsylvania, I was raised in France
I'm a dirty old man and I wear silk pants.

I was always struck by the HMR's "or...or" construction in the chorus (each
time it returns):

Tell me how long do I have to wait
Or can I get you now, or must I hesitate

No other version has that initial "Or"


On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 12:23 PM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> Lose.")
> --bgz
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list