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This shift in rock music (grafted onto the historical synthesis of the bard, the punk and the sound sculptor) coincided with the boom of "free jazz".Rock'n'roll had been born at the confluence of blues and country music, but after 1966 blues and country/folk became mere ingredients (two among many) of a much more complex recipe.The convergence of these three wildly different threads yielded the great season of psychedelic music, a genre that reflected the spirit of the time, that experimented with studio sound and that embodied the frustration of the youth.The synthesis of 1966 was fueled by hallucinogens, as if drugs were the natural meeting point of the bard, the punk and the sound sculptor.Between 19 rock music took three decisive breaks from the original nature of rock'n'roll: Bob Dylan introduced an explicit socio-political message; British bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Who (the heirs to the "juvenile delinquent" image of the 1950s) indulged in instrumental and vocal mayhem; the Beach Boys, the Beatles and the Byrds focused on studio techniques and eccentric arrangements.Each of them embodied three different ways of using music as a vehicle: the profound bard, the street punk, the sound sculptor.Until then, rock musicians had all operated within the boundaries of the three-minute melodic song of pop music.
If one had to pinpoint an event that concretized this historical synthesis, it would have been in may 1966, when Dylan's Blonde on Blonde came out, a double album (already a significant departure from the old format) that had ironically been recorded in Nashville (between october 1965 and march 1966).
The Rolling Stones and the Who personified an eternal and universal attribute of youth: rebellion.
The Beach Boys and the Beatles were as removed as possible from their times (the Vietnam war, the civil-rights movement, the fear of the nuclear holocaust). Dylan used music as a weapon, the Rolling Stones and the Who used it as an insult, while the Beach Boys and the Beatles were largely indifferent to the ideological turmoil.
Albums with lengthy, free-form "songs" began to flow out of London, New York and Los Angeles: the Fugs' second album with Virgin Forest (recorded in january and released in march, thus actually beating Dylan), Frank Zappa's double-album Freak Out (recorded in march and released in june), the Rolling Stones' Aftermath (recorded in Los Angeles in march), the Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground & Nico (mostly recorded in april and may), the Who's A Quick One (recorded in the fall), the Doors' first album (recorded in the summer), Love's Da Capo (between summer and fall), etc.
Several of them had been recorded at the same time as Dylan's masterpiece, signaling a collective shift away from the pop song.
The lengthy "acid" jams of the Velvet Underground, of Jefferson Airplane, of the Grateful Dead and of Pink Floyd, relied on a loose musical infrastructure that was no longer related to rhythm'n'blues (let alone country music).