At one time, Blue Cheer was hyped as the loudest rock band on the planet. Rampant personnel changes stunted their progress but the band's first three albums remain essential listening for devotees of all music that is heavy. Basically inventing acid rock (and heavy metal, too) with their blistering rape of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" in 1968, these NorCal kids pretty much flattened all comers for the crown of world's heaviest band at the time. Their debut album, Vincebus Eruptum is marked by big, fat, revved-up blues riffs with dueling lead guitar solos that occupy totally separate spots in either speaker, and wholly over-the-top drum rolls that do the same thing. Other elements include unhealthy amounts of fuzz, dirty hippie "yeahs" at just the right moments, and a serious biker rock/LSD vibe. The name of the band even refers to a brand of the drug. Vincebus Eruptum makes Cream and Iron Butterfly and any other late '60s pre-metal band sound like Herman's Hermits by comparison. The original lineup (a trio) recorded the sprawling, more psychedelic Outsideinside before shrieky guitarist Leigh Stephens left and was replaced by loud guitar prophet Randy Holden, who offered three insanely heavy cuts to the group's third album New! Improved! Blue Cheer. By the time the group recorded a self-titled fourth album, bassist/singer Dickie Peterson was the only remaining original member. Recordings from this period are best collected on Good Times Are So Hard To Find: The History of Blue Cheer.