For the fifth iteration of Psychedeliacs, a blog dedicated to psychedelic music exploration, I have decided to make a list for you. In it will be tunes of my favorite subgenre of music: Baroque Pop. Before we move on, let’s have a brief description of the genre. Baroque Pop (pronounced Bah-rowk Pop) originated in Britain and the United States during the first wave of psychedelia of the 60s, with its peak happening during ‘67-’69. Many bands such as The Association, The Zombies, The Beach Boys and, of course, The Beatles started fusing elements of pop and rock with classical music. Using instruments such as harpsichords, clavichords, harmoniums, french horns, oboes, cellos, among other things, these bands came to create what we now know as Baroque Pop.
Not surprisingly, this genre remains alive today at least in small increments. In fact, on my last post, Psychedeliacs Vol. 4, I brought to you one of the great modern artists of the genre: Jacco Gardner. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are ten essential Baroque Pop from the beginning of time (the 60s) to today.
1. THE ZOMBIES: CARE OF CELL 44
The keys, harmonies and Colin Blunstone’s airy vocals make this one of The Zombies’ most recognizable tunes.
The lyrics are also poignant as they tell the story of someone writing to their partner who is in prison.
2. THE BEATLES: FIXING A HOLE
I would just use the entire Sgt. Pepper’s album but that would be cheating.
Fixing a Hole fits the bill nicely. Prominent harpsichords and whimsical lyrics make this a perfect example of the genre.
3. JACCO GARDNER: HELP ME OUT
Netherlandish artist Jacco Gardner carries the Baroque Pop torch with this excellent tune off his debut album Cabinet of Curiosities.
Keep tuned for his imminent new album with California’s Frank Maston.
4. MASTON: (YOU WERE) IN LOVE
This tune off his LP Shadows perfectly exemplifies Frank Maston’s knack for writing sweet but haunting music.
His music is very reminiscent of Van Dyke Parks which leads me to the next entry.
5. VAN DYKE PARKS: THE ALL GOLDEN
Van Dyke Parks is a freak of nature. I dare you to figure out the rhythm on this song.
The entire album Song Cycle released in 1968 is Baroque Pop on steroids.
Go listen now. It’s a musical trip.
6. THE BEACH BOYS: GOD ONLY KNOWS
Nothing new here.
This tune is just so beautiful I could not omit it. I still get nostalgic when I think of that final Airport scene in Love Actually.
If watching movies with my sister ever did anything for me, it was introducing me to The Beach Boys and Baroque Pop.
7. THE ASSOCIATION: WINDY
You may recognize this one from the Breaking Bad soundtrack when Wendy The Prostitute sells meth as well as other products and services.
Nonetheless, it’s a great song by a seriously underrated band.
8. THE BEATLES: SHE’S LEAVING HOME
The Beatles get two because, well, you know why.
One of the things that differentiates baroque pop from sunshine pop is the emotional weight of the songs.
Read the lyrics of the song as it plays and try not to get teary.
9. THE ROLLING STONES: IN ANOTHER LAND
A true anomaly in the Stones’ recorded catalog, in another land has the sound of a truly great Baroque Pop song.
My only issue with it is that it doesn’t seem genuine coming from them.
“When The Beatles sneeze, The Stones catch a cold.”
10. SIMON & GARFUNKEL: SCARBOROUGH FAIR / CANTICLE
This one is off their 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme.
It’s based on the traditional English song about the town of Scarborough.
The vocal rounds are amazing.