2 minutes, 30 seconds

May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds: The Marriage Between Music & Psychedelics

We're celebrating the anniversary of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by exploring the world of LSD-inspired music.

What do The Beatles Have to do With LSD?  

That’s a great question — if you’re joking.

One song has a very special connection to LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) or acid. Can you guess?

The particular song, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, was released on this day 54 years ago (May 26, 1967). If you haven’t noticed, it contains the letters LSD as some kind of apparent acrostic reference to the drug. The irony is, this Easter Egg was completely coincidental, according to songwriter, John Lennon.

The "Story of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"

While “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” quickly became iconized as the anthem for the psychedelics space, Lennon insisted throughout his life that the title was a coincidence, originating from artwork crafted by his then 3-year-old son, Julian.  

The artwork depicted a school friend, Lucy – floating in the sky with diamonds. While the image is Googleable, it is hard to make out. However, once Julian announced its contents, Lennon immediately set off to write about it. He claims the song also pulled inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a work with its own heavy associations with hallucinogens.

Of course, the blatant references to psychedelics (and other drugs) throughout the band’s discography, along with the song’s trippy atmosphere, dream-like imagery, and title, make his explanation hard to accept.  

But then again, that's not to say LSD didn’t play a part.  

Why Are Music & Psychedelics So Closely Tied?

Psychedelics and music have paired perfectly overtime, from ancient rituals to modern therapy, and all the counterculture in between. Both psychedelics and music have profound effects on the mind.

Psychedelics & The Artist

Music groups like The Beatles helped tailor an entire culture of peace, love, and healing. Beyond such sentiments, psychedelic research shows that LSD can affect how we make meaning. Ever found yourself struggling to decode a Beatles song? What on earth are they talking about? It’s no surprise that Paul McCartney has stated that drugs like LSD played an obvious role in band’s creative process, supporting long-held suspicions that The Beatles’ experimentation with LSD contributed to their writing of albums Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), and Magical Mystery Tour (1967).

LSD has only been around since the mid-’40s but it quickly gained prominence in the music scene for its abilities to influence artists’ creative drive. Where cannabis has historically been tied to reggae, jazz, and hip-hop, LSD took on more radical associations when the hippy movement, psychedelic rock, and anti-war demonstrations erupted in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  

Psychedelics & The Audience

Psychedelic drugs go beyond helping artists express themselves. Research shows that LSD can help listeners find meaning in seemingly meaningless music. That’s because LSD helps individuals make personal connections. It alters how the brain responds to music in terms of sensory processing, memory, emotion, and original thoughts. That's part of what makes the combination so effective in therapy.

Combining Music & Psychedelics in Mainstream Therapy

Clinicians use music to help their clients navigate emotionally through their psychedelic therapy sessions. What makes music and psychedelics so useful in a therapeutic setting is the opportunity they create for clients to access parts of their psyche that are normally closed off, whether due to trauma or anxiety.

LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA are known to encourage new perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors. Even the great author and psychonaut, Aldous Huxley, insisted on LSD’s abilities to mitigate end-of-life anxiety, having it administered to assist in his own death 3 years before its outlawing. Although, he’s not known for any music, Huxley was praised for his imaginative works, such as Brave New World and The Doors of Perception.

At MINDCURE, we research and develop psychedelic solutions to improve mental health. We’re also the developers behind iSTRYM, a digital therapeutic platform providing clinicians and their clients with personalized healing tools to drive therapeutic outcomes.

By partnering with LUCID Music, MINDCURE’s iSTRYM gives clinicians access to exclusive music designed for specific indications and compounds to help guide their clients’ healing. By integrating machine learning, and collected data, mental health professions are able to deepen or alter the patient’s experience as necessary.

Psychedelics can heal the world, and MINDCURE is leading the way.

Written by

Kaleb Stropkovics