Skip to main content

The Byrds – Eight Miles High – 1966

About The Song

“Eight Miles High” is a groundbreaking psychedelic rock song by the American band The Byrds, released in 1966. It’s renowned for its innovative blend of folk-rock and Eastern musical influences, as well as its controversial lyrics.

Five facts about “Eight Miles High” by The Byrds:

  1. Experimental Sound: “Eight Miles High” is widely regarded as one of the first psychedelic rock songs. Its distinctive sound, characterized by jangly guitars, unconventional chord progressions, and modal improvisation, pushed the boundaries of popular music at the time.
  2. Inspiration from Drug Experience: The song’s lyrics, written by Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn, and David Crosby, were inspired by the band’s experiences with LSD during their tour of England in 1965. The phrase “eight miles high” is often interpreted as a reference to the psychedelic effects of the drug.
  3. Radio Ban: Despite its critical acclaim and commercial success, “Eight Miles High” faced controversy and censorship due to its perceived drug references and subversive lyrics. Several radio stations banned the song, contributing to its reputation as a countercultural anthem.
  4. Musical Influence: The song’s innovative use of Indian-influenced melodies and unconventional song structure influenced numerous musicians and bands, including The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Its fusion of folk-rock and Eastern musical elements paved the way for the psychedelic rock movement of the late 1960s.
  5. Legacy: “Eight Miles High” remains one of The Byrds’ most enduring and influential songs. It has been covered by numerous artists and is often cited as a landmark recording in the history of rock music. In 1999, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in recognition of its cultural significance and lasting impact.



Eight miles high, and when you touch down
You’ll find that it’s stranger than known
Signs in the street, that say where you’re going
Are somewhere just being their own

Nowhere is there warmth to be found
Among those afraid of losing their ground
Rain gray town, known for its sound
In places, small faces unbound

Round the squares, huddled in storms
Some laughing, some just shapeless forms
Sidewalk scenes, and black limousines
Some living, some standing alone