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Roky Erickson Facts

Rocking with Roky Erickson: The Life and Legacy of the Iconic Singer

A Brief Introduction to Roky Erickson

Roky Erickson was an iconic American singer, songwriter, and guitarist known for his influential contributions to psychedelic rock music. Born on July 15, 1947, in Dallas, Texas, Roky rose to fame as the frontman of the 13th Floor Elevators, one of the most pioneering psychedelic rock bands of the 1960s. He later went on to have a successful solo career, producing some of the most enduring rock music of the 20th century.

Early Life and Relationships

Born as Roger Kynard Erickson, Roky spent most of his early life in Austin, Texas. He was heavily influenced by his surroundings and developed a deep love for music at an early age. His interest in rock music started in his teenage years, and he formed his first band, The Spades, in 1964 at the age of 17.

Roky was romantically linked to several women throughout his life. He married twice but never had any children. He had a turbulent personal life, battling mental illness, drug addiction, and legal issues that led to several periods of institutionalization.

Career Highlights

Roky Erickson’s music career spanned over five decades, and during this time, he had several remarkable achievements. He first gained fame as the lead vocalist of the 13th Floor Elevators, a band often credited with being the pioneers of psychedelic rock. Some of their most significant songs include “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” “Reverberation,” and “Slip Inside This House.”

After the band’s breakup in 1969, Roky began his solo career. He released several successful albums, including “The Evil One,” “Don’t Slander Me,” and “All That May Do My Rhyme.” Roky’s music was marked by his powerful vocals, guitar work, and a signature blend of rock, blues, and folk music.

Throughout his career, Roky had a profound influence on generations of musicians, including REM, ZZ Top, Primal Scream, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. His unique style and sound made him one of the most enduring figures in rock history.

Top Songs

Roky Erickson’s music has been celebrated by fans and critics alike, and he had several hit songs throughout his career. Here are some of the most notable tracks that showcase his range as a musician:

  • “You’re Gonna Miss Me”
  • “Two-Headed Dog”
  • “Starry Eyes”
  • “Don’t Slander Me”
  • “I Walked with a Zombie”
  • “If You Have Ghosts”

Net Worth

It is challenging to determine Roky Erickson’s exact net worth since his estate has not publicly disclosed it. Still, it is widely believed that he amassed a significant fortune through his music career and collaborations with other artists. Despite his success, Roky was known for living a modest lifestyle and remaining grounded throughout his life.

Legacy and Influence

Roky Erickson’s contributions to music, particularly psychedelic rock, were immense, and he remains a legend among rock fans worldwide. His influence on generations of musicians can be seen in their music today, and he continues to inspire new generations of fans through his unique sound and style.

Numerous artists have paid their tributes to Roky Erickson, including Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, who said, “Roky was a legend. He was a pioneer in what we call the now-classic genre of psychedelic music.” REM’s Peter Buck called Roky the “King of the Psychotics,” while Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie said Erickson’s music was essential to their own sound.


Roky Erickson’s life and music were marked by their uniqueness, creativity, and power. He remains one of the most significant figures in rock history, and his contributions to music will endure for generations to come. His fans will always remember him as the master of psychedelic rock, whose legacy continues to inspire new artists to this day.

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