But don't stop there, man - we wanna hear your faves! After you mellow down with the editors' selections and give the Spotify playlist a spin, share your favorite good vibed songs by adding to the list.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Grateful Dead - "Viola Lee Blues"
You think San Francisco in 1967 and two things pop to mind: Rolling Stone and the Grateful Dead. Well, Jefferson Airplane and Santana and Sly Stone might pop in there too, but the Dead and Rolling Stone were the two enduring totems from the era, the ones that survived the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes, winding up as true American icons. Put on the Grateful Dead's good (but not entirely representative) '67 debut, and the heady days of the Summer Of Love are immediately evoked - not because it's the best album of the year, but because of its flaws: the band is somewhat stiff in the studio; and the slightly echoey production captures the swirling psychedelics of the time. It's a great period piece, and among its nine tracks stand some of the group's enduring songs, including "New, New Minglewood Blues" and this, "Viola Lee Blues," a ragged, mind-bending ten-minute blues workout that hints at the golden roads yet to come.
Sly & the Family Stone - "Underdog"
I don't know if Rolling Stone talked much about Sly Stone in 1967 - but they should have, because he and his Family were making the roughest, toughest rock & roll on the planet around this time. Brimming with confidence and filled with a joyous fervor, the group debuted with A Whole New Thing that year. "Underdog" is the pulsing highlight of the set with Sly telling it like it is, and the band raging behind him like their horns are on fire.
The Flamin' Groovies - "Golden Clouds"
There's really no contest as to who's the best band to ever come out of San Francisco. It's the Flamin' Groovies by a mile. In 1967 they were just getting started, playing a weird garage rock/jug band fusion that must have confused the patchouli out of the hippies. While they went on to become total rock & roll animals (Teenage Head) and power pop deities (Shake Some Action), this is their strangest period. The high as hell-sounding Stones-doing-folk-rock tune "Golden Clouds" can be found on the group's first EP, Sneakers (which is out on CD as Supersneakers.)
Eric Burdon and the New Animals - "San Franciscan Nights"
This portrait of what was happening in Haight-Ashbury in '67 is intriguing in just how far away, both geographically and musically, it is from Burdon's brash blues-rock origins in London and Newcastle. He had his mind blown by psychedelia and this song, with its acoustic guitar filigrees and deadpan spoken-word intro imploring listeners - especially European ones - to come to the city, is definitely hippie and a little bit dippy. However, Burdon keeps some his previous edge in lyrics like "Cop's face is filled with hate," which at least nodded to the unrest in this counterculture paradise. Even at his most blissed-out, Burdon provided a dark yang to the sunshiny yin of songs like Scott MacKenzie's "San Francisco."
The Monkees - "Words"
Released three days before the cover date of the first issue of Rolling Stone, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. is a strangely daring album from the Pre-fab Four, with the band playing more of their own instruments and even pioneering the use of the Moog. Sitting at the end of the A-side is "Words," a psych-pop gem that's easily my favorite Monkees jam from what's easily my favorite Monkees album.
The United States of America - "The American Metaphysical Circus"
Though it might have come a few months after the release of the iconic rock magazine, a record as psychedelic as The United States of America's one and only album can bend space and time to appear just about anywhere it wants to. Why not here?
The Soul Survivors - "Expressway to Your Heart"
"This is the Rascals, right? Oh, wait - now they sound like the Righteous Brothers! "Hot time, summer in the..." No, it's the Soul Survivors with their lone major hit, the first of many for songwriting and production duo Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. The Soul Survivors never topped it, but they did chart in '68 with a song titled "Impossible Mission (Mission Impossible)" - featuring a guitar riff that sounds a whole lotta like one heard on a '69 Led Zeppelin song.
Let the sun shine in in Spotify playlist form, and keep the music playing by adding your favorites to the list! Not a Spotify user? Share your track picks on the AllMusic Facebook page or the AllMusic Twitter stream with hashtag #sf67songs.