User:Curly Turkey/Garage rock in the US

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Pacific Northwest 1964–68[edit]

In 1964 and 1965 the impact of the Beatles and the British Invasion shifted the tectonic plates of the musical landscape, presenting, not only a challenge, but also a new impetus for teenagers in the Pacific Northwest to form bands, as many of the more experienced acts adapted to the new climate, often reaching greater levels of commercial and/or artistic success than previously. The Kingsmen would go through a significant roster shake-up in 1964, while unwittingly becoming the target of an FBI investigation in response to complaints about the alleged use of profanity in the nearly unintelligible lyrics of their ramshackle hit version of "Louie Louie".[1] With the new lineup featuring former drummer Lyn Eastman on vocals, they continued to be active until the end of the decade, recording a string of singles.[2]

After relocating to Portland, Paul Revere & the Raiders became the first rock & roll act to be signed to Columbia Records in 1963, but did not achieve their commercial breakthrough until 1965 with the song "Steppin Out", which was followed by string of chart-topping hits such as "Just Like Me", originally recorded by the Wilde Knights and "Kicks".[3][4] The Sonics, who formed in Tacoma in 1960, went through several personnel shifts until they achieved their best-known lineup in 1964 when vocalist Gerry Rosalie and saxophonist Rob Lind joined the group.[5] They signed to the Wailers' label, Etiquette Records and proceeded to cut their first single, the overdriven "The Witch" (1964).[6][7] The song was re-issued again in 1965, this time with the even more intense "Psycho" on the flip side.[8][9] They released two albums on Etiquette, Here Are The Sonics!!! (1965) an Boom (1966), followed by Introducing the Sonics (1967) on Jerden Records.[10] They are also known for several other "high-octane" rockers such as "Cinderella" and the power-chorded proto-punk "He's Waitin'".[11]

Prompted by the Sonics, the Wailers entered the mid 1960s with a harder-edged approach as evidenced in fuzz-driven songs such as "Hang Up" and "Out of Our Tree".[8] In 1964 keyboardist Don Gallucci, whose signature electric piano riffs punctuated the hit version of "Louie Louie", left the Kingsmen to start his own combo, Don and the Goodtimes, whose initial lineup briefly included fellow ex-Kingsman Jack Ely, who had sung lead vocal their hit version of "Louie Louie", before he went form Jack Ely & the Courtmen in 1966.[12] Also from the region were Paul Bearer & the Hearsemen[13] the Bootmen,[14] the Liberty Party,[15] the Raymarks,[16] The Velvet Illusions,[17] and the Pastels, who recorded "Circuit Breaker".[18]

Boston and New England[edit]

The Remains in 1966

Though Pacific Northwest provided the initial flurry of garage rock bands, other parts of the United States and Canada were soon to follow, particularly in response to the impact of the Beatles and the British Invasion, which would result in a widespread grassroots rock explosion. One of the next regions to experience a proliferation of bands was Boston and New England. The Barbarians, from Cape Cod, wearing sandals and long hair, and cultivating an image of "noble savages", recorded an album and several singles, such as the partly self-referential, "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl".[19] Impossible to ignore was the sight of their drummer, Victor "Moulty" Moulton, who played the drums holding one of his sticks with a prosthetic clamp in place of his left hand, worn as the result of an earlier accident.[20] In 1964 the group appeared on the T.A.M.I. Show, on same bill as famous acts such as the Rolling Stones and James Brown, playing the joyfully primitive "Hey Little Bird".[20] In 1966, while the other members of the band were away, Moulton recorded "Moulty", a spoken monologue set to music, in which he recounted the travails of his disfigurement, released under the Barbarians' name, but backed by future members of the Band.[20]

The Remains (sometimes called Barry and the Remains), from Boston, led by Barry Tashian, were also popular in the region, and in addition to touring with the Beatles in 1966, recorded songs such as "Don't Look Back" and "Why do I Cry" and a self-titled album for Epic that year.[21] Also from Boston, the Rockin' Ramrods recorded a number of songs, including the distortion-driven protopunk of "She Lied", in 1964.[22] The Squires, from Bristol, Connecticut, released the song, "All the Way" on Atco Records in 1966.[23] Both songs are now regarded as a garage classics.[22][24][25] In the New Haven area, there was a heavy concentration of bands, several of whom, such as the Shags and the Bram Rigg Set, recorded at the Trod Nossel Studios, in Wallingford, owned by music entrepreneur, Thomas Cavaier.[26]


The Seeds in 1966

The garage craze came into full swing in California, where the flurry of bands was the byproduct of several influences, such as surf rock, the British Invasion and folk rock.[27][28][29] Los Angeles became home to numerous groups, whether native or re-located from elsewhere, often with hopes of becoming successful.[29][30] The Sunset Strip was the center of the L.A. nightlife, providing bands with high-profile venues to attract a larger following and possibly draw the attention of record executives looking to sign an act.[31] Exploitation films of the period, such as Riot on Sunset Strip, Mondo Hollywood, and the documentary, Mondo Mod, captured the musical and social milieu of life on the strip.[32][33] Several bands make appearances at the Pandora's Box in Riot on Sunset Strip, as the movie spotlights the prototypical punk underbelly of L.A. flower bohemia, with the Standells supplying the theme song and later an appearance by the Chocolate Watchband.[34][35][36] The Seeds and the Leaves were favorites with the "in-crowd" and managed to score national hits with songs that have come to be regarded as garage classics: the Seeds with "Pushin' Too Hard" and the Leaves with "Hey Joe".[37][38]

Love, a racially integrated band headed by African-American musician Arthur Lee, was one of the most popular bands in the scene.[39] Their propulsive 1966 protopunk anthem, "7 and 7 Is" achieved popularity in the charts, and became a staple in countless other bands' repertoires.[40] The Music Machine, led by Sean Bonniwell, employed innovative musical techniques, sometimes building their own custom-made fuzzboxes.[41] Among their numerous recordings they are best known for their 1966 hit, "Talk Talk". The Sons of Adam, recorded "Feathered Fish", written by Arthur Lee, and "Saturday's Son", an anthem of alienation.[29] The band's ranks included guitarist Randy Holden, who went on to join the San Francisco-based the Other Half and later Blue Cheer, and drummer Michael Stuart, who became a member of Love during the recording of their 1967 album, Forever Changes.[29]

The Great Society, featuring Grace Slick, in 1966

Garage rock was present in the Latino community in East L.A.[42][43] The Premiers, who had a hit in 1964 with "Farmer John", and Thee Midniters, both made up of predominantly Hispanic-American members, are considered notable figures in Chicano rock,[44][45] as are their San Diego counterparts, Cannibal & the Headhunters, who had a 1964 hit with Chris Kenner's "Land of a Thousand Dances".[46]

San Jose and the South Bay area had a bustling scene featuring the Chocolate Watchband, the Count Five, and the Syndicate of Sound.[47] From the East Bay in Fremont came Harbinger Complex.[48] Though San Francisco is primarily known for sophisticated jam-based acid rock, the garage sound was detectable early on in a handful of bands such the Great Society, featuring Grace Slick before she joined Jefferson Airplane,[49] the Brogues, some of whose members later to played in Quicksilver Messenger Service,[50] and the Charlatans.[51] The Flamin' Groovies, founded in 1965, would become a fixture in the Bay area scene, and their career would stretch well into the 1970s.[52]

Illinois and Michigan[edit]

The Shadows of Knight in 1966

Chicago, known for electric blues, continued to have a strong recording industry well into the 1960s and was also hotbed of activity for garage rock bands, providing hits for the American Breed, the Buckinghams, and the Cryan' Shames.[53][54][55] Chicago blues as well as the Rolling Stones influenced the Shadows of Knight, a band who favored a harder approach, featuring Jim Sohns on lead vocals.[56] In 1966 the Shadows of Knight scored hits with their versions of Them's Van Morrison-penned "Gloria", and Bo Diddley's "Oh Yeah", as well as the less successful but more aggressive "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" – all released on Dunwich Records, which recorded numerous garage acts.[56] The Banshees released the cathartic "Project Blue" on Dunwich Records.[57] The Little Boy Blues, in addition to recording "The Great Train Robbery", also cut a version of Van Morrison's highly covered "I Can Only Give You Everything".[58] The Del-Vetts, who later changed their name to the Pride and Joy, issued the fuzz-driven "Last Time Around" in 1966.[59] The New Colony Six, who like Paul Revere and the Raiders, wore Revolutionary war era suits, released four albums worth of material and enjoyed modest chart success.[60]

Michigan had one of the highest concentrations of bands in the country, and the Detroit scene was a major center. In early 1966, MC5 released a version of "I Can Only Give You Everything" before they went on to greater success at the end of the decade.[61] The Unrelated Segments, whose ranks included lead vocalist, Ron Stults and guitarist Rory Mack, recorded a string of songs beginning with local hit "You Can't Buy Love", followed by others such as "Where You Gonna Go".[62] Jim Osterberg, also from Detroit, later known as Iggy Pop, played drums with the Iguanas.[63] Bob Seger and the Last Heard were also a fixture in the Detroit scene.[64] The Underdogs from Grosse Pointe, were a regular fixture popular nightspot, the Hideout, whose stage was frequented by Seger and the Last Heard, the Pleasure Seekers, as well as Glen Fry's band of the time, the Subterraneans.[65][66][67] Terry Knight and the Pack were from Flint and would form the basis of what would later become Grand Funk Railroad.[68] The Rationals, from Ann Arbor and fronted by Scott Morgan, achieved regional success but failed to break nationally.[69] Fenton Records was a "pay-and-record" label owned by Dave Kalmbach[70] that catered to a handful of West Michigan bands, such as the JuJus,[71] the Quests,[72] and the Plagues.[73]

Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana[edit]

The Outsiders, from Cleveland, enjoyed a major hit with "Time Won't Let Me" in 1966.

With their 1963 hit, "Surfin' Bird" the Trashmen, from Minneapolis, paved the way for subsequent Minnesota bands.[74] Minneapolis/St. Paul was the home of the Castaways, who had a major hit with "Liar, Liar" in 1965.[75] The Litter, also from Minneapolis, had a harder sound and released the distortion-laden "Action Woman" as a single in 1966—a song which Michael Hann of the Guardian described as "one of garage's gnarliest, snarliest, most tight-trousered pieces of hormonal aggression".[76][77] The Gestures, from Mankato, were originally an instrumental surf rock-influenced band that adopted vocals in response to the British Invasion.[78] T.C. Atlantic released six singles, including the psychedelic "Faces".[79] The Electras, from Ely, Minnesota, were prolific and cut a string of singles for Scotty Records, sometimes credited as 'Twas Brilling.[80]

Ohio turned out numerous bands, several of whom managed to make an impact on the national charts. From Cleveland, the Choir had a regional hit with "It's Cold Outside", but it was the Outsiders who achieved a major hit with "Time Won't Let Me" in 1966.[81][82] The Human Beinz, from Youngstown, had a samsh hit in 1967 with the Isley Brothers' "Nobody But Me".[83] The Music Explosion, from Mansfield, also had a breakout chart success that year with "Little Bit O' Soul".[84][85] The Bare Facts were from Portsmouth.[86] From Columbus came the Epics,[87] and the Dantes. In Dayton, the Pictorian Skiffuls were one of the most popular groups.[88]

In Wisconsin, Cuca Records, out of Sauk City issued records by a handful garage bands in the region, some of whom can be heard on the Garagemental!: The Cuca Records Story series.[89] Former rockabilly singer, Denny Noie, from Appleton, adopted a garage sound and went to Cuca studios with the 4th of Never to cut "Don't Follow Me" in 1966.[90] From Indiana came South Bend's The Rivieras', whose 1963 hit "California Sun" cleared the way for later acts.[91] Baby Huey & the Babysitters, from Gary, were an all-African American R&B combo and recoded several songs in the garage rock style during the mid-1960s.[92][93] Union City was the home of the McCoys who scored a major hit wit "Hang on Sloopy" in 1965.[94]

New York and mid-Atlantic[edit]

The Vagrants in 1966

Garage bands flourished up and down the Atlantic coast. From the Bronx, New York came the Blues Magoos, who had a hit with the psychedelically tinged garage classic, "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet".[95] The Druids of Stonehenge, from New York recorded "A Garden Where Nothing Grows", followed by the LP, Creation [96] The Vagrants, from Long Island, released a version of the Otis Redding-penned "Respect", made famous by Aretha Franklin, which was later included on the original 1972 edition of Nuggets.[97] The Bruthers, from Pearl River, recorded "Bad Way to Go", which is now considered a garage classic.[98] Richard and the Young Lions, from Newark, New Jersey, had a hit in 1966 with "Open Up Your Door".[99] The Myddle Class from Berkley Heights, were a popular East Coast band.[100] In 1967 the Beach Nuts from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey recorded the garage anthem "My Iconoclastic Life".[101]

Pennsylvania had a large garage scene. From Philadelphia came The Rising Tydes and the Magic Mushrooms.[102][103] The Shaynes, from Lancaster, recorded "From My Window".[104] The Fantastic Dee Jays from McKeesport, near Pittsburgh released a string of singles including "Get Away Girl".[105][106] Two of their members went on to found the Swamp Rats who did a guitar-overdriven cover of the Sonics' "Psycho".[107] The Hangmen were from Rockville, Maryland and had a local hit with "What a Girl Can't Do" and followed with the fuzz-driven, "Faces", then went to Nashville to record the album Bittersweet.[108][109] The Mad Hatters, from Annapolis, recorded several sides including "I Need Love", which was later covered by the Time Stoppers, and "I'll Come Running".[110] From Oxon Hill, Maryland, came the Dagenites.[111] The Fallen Angels, from Washington, DC released the single "Bad Woman" in 1966, then went on to record two albums for Roulette Records.[112]


The Lone Star State was home to some of the largest scenes in the country, with much of the action happening in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Austin. Sam the Sam and the Pharaohs were from Dallas and were fronted by Domingo "Sam" Samudio.[113] They had two breakout hits with "Wooly Bully" and "Little Miss Riding Hood".[113] Kenny and the Kasuals were also also from Dallas.[114] Mouse and the Traps were from Tyler and recorded the Dylanesque "A Public Execution", followed by "Made of Sugar Maid of Spice".[115] The Moving Sidewalks, from Houston, featuring Billy Gibbons, later to go on to fame in ZZ Top, recorded the garage classic "99th Floor".[116] Neal Ford and the Fanatics, also from Houston, were one of the most popular bands in the region.[117]

The 13th Floor Elevators, from Austin, featured Roky Erickson on guitar and vocals and are perhaps the best-remembered Texas band of the era.[118] The Golden Dawn were also from Austin.[119] The Zakary Thaks, from Corpus Christi, are best known for the frantic sped-up Kinks-inspired riffs of "Bad Girl".[120] Also from Corpus Christi came the Bad Seeds and the Liberty Bell.[121][122] The Outcasts, from San Antonio, cut five singles including "I'm in Pittsburgh and It's Raining" and "1523 Blair".[123] The Sparkles, from Levelland, in West Texas, had existed in several different configurations since 1959, but it is their lineup between 1963 and 1967 that produced such songs as "Ain't No Friend of Mine".[124]

The Gentlemen, from Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas, cut a single featuring a song that has been recognized as one of the greatest garage rock records of all time, the fuzz-drenched anthem "It's a Cry'n Shame".[125] The Penthouse 5 and the WordD were also active in the Dallas scene.[126] Fort Worth had one of the largest scenes in Texas, and was the home to popular venues such as Teen a Go Go and Panther Hall.[127] Larry and the Blue Notes, who recorded "Night of the Sadist" and the fuzz-driven "In and Out" were one of fort Worth's most popular groups, along with other such as The Novas.[128][129] were another popular local group.[130]

Great Plains, Southwest, and Mountain states[edit]

The Five Americans were from Durant, Oklahoma and released a string of singles, such as "I See the Light" and their hit "Western Union", which became a huge hit in 1967.[131][132] [133] The Young Aristocracy were from Oklahoma City.[134] From Phoenix, Arizona came the Spiders who featured Vincent Furnier, later known as Alice Cooper, and recorded two singles, most notably "Don't Blow Your Mind", which became a local hit in Phoenix.[135][136][137] They ventured to Los Angeles in 1967, in hopes of achieving greater success, though it would materialize not there, but subsequently in Detroit, re-christened as Alice Cooper and with a new "shock" image just in time for the success to arrive in the 1970s.[136][137] Twentieth Century Zoo, from Phoenix, evolved out of the Bittersweets.[138] The Grodes, from Tucson, Arizona, recorded the original version of "Let's Talk About Girls", later covered by the Chocolate Watchband, and the anthem "Cry a Little Longer".[139][140][141] The Dearly Beloved, also from Tucson, began as the Intruders, but later changed their name the Quinstrels, then settled on their best-known moniker where they had a regional hit with "Peep Peep Pop Pop", followed by two more singles, the last of which, "Flight 13" was recorded with Terry Lee in place of their regular vocalist, Larry Cox, who died in an auto accident shortly before the sessions.[142][143][144][145] Another popular act in Tucson was the Lewallen Brothers.[146][147]

In 1967 the Chob, from Albuquerque, cut a single featuring the frantic "We're Pretty Quick", now considered a garage classic.[148][149][150] Also from Albuquerque were the Lincoln St. Exit,[146][151] as well as the Kreeg,[152][153][154] and the Burgundy Runn, who recorded "Stop", which was later covered by the Chesterfield Kings and "How Far Up is Down".[155][156][157] Norman Petty, who had recorded many of Buddy Holly's famous hits at his studio in Clovis, remained active there in the 1960s, cutting records for various garage bands in New Mexico and West Texas.[158][159] The Fe-Fi-Four Plus 2 from Albuquerque went there to record "I Wanna Come Back (From the World of LSD)" in late 1966, which, as one of New Mexico's first psychedelic records, featured starkly frank lyrics about a bad LSD trip and appeared as the A-side of their debut single backed with "Double Crossin' Girl".[160][161][162] Lindy Blasky & the Lavells cut the original version of "You Aint't Tuff", later covered by the Uniques from Louisiana.[163][164][165] The Movin' Morfomen were from Esapnola.[166][167][168] The Beckett Quintet, from Portales, released the single, "No Correspondence".[169][170][171] Jack Bedient and the Chessmen were from Carson City, Nevada,.[172] the Soul Survivors were from Denver Colorado.[173][174][175][176] Group members Allen Kemp, Pat Shanahan and John Day moved to Los Angeles and teamed up with Randy Meisner, previously with the Drivin' Dynamics, and Randy Naylor to form the Poor.[173][174][175] The Tuesday Club, from Grand Junction recorded "Only Human".[177][178]

Florida and Gulf States[edit]

Florida had one of the South's most populous scenes, particularly on the southern peninsula around Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. We the People, a popular fixture in the Orlando area, came about as the result of a merger between two bands and featured songwriters Tommy Talton and Wane Proctor.[179] They went to Nashville and recorded a batch of self-composed songs for the Challenge and RCA labels – several of which are now highly regarded.[179] They are known for primitive rockers, such as "You Burn Me Upside Down", and "Mirror of my Mind", as well as eclectic pieces such as "In the Past", later covered by the Chocolate Watchband.[179][180][181] The Birdwatchers, from West Palm Beach, gained national airplay with "I'm Gonna Love you Anyway", and made an appearance on Dick Clark's TV show, Where the Action Is.[182][183] The Nightcrawlers, from Daytona Beach, are best known for "Little Black Egg".[184]

From Miami came the Montells and Evil.[185][186][187] The Montells, as the H.M. Subjects, recorded a version of the Pretty Things "Don't Let Me Down", then later "You Can't Make Me"[188][189][190] Evil specialized in an harder, sometimes thrashing sound, on display in protopunk anthems such as the previously unissued, "I'm Movin' On" and "From a Curbstone".[191][192][193] They released a single featuring their rendition of the Small Faces' "Whatcha Gonna Do About It", which was picked up by Capitol a few months later.[194] Also from Miami were the Modds and the Echoes of Carnaby Street who cut "No Place No Time".[195] The Painted Faces, from Fort Myers, released four singles including "Faces", which Mojo Magazine included in their top 100 psychedelic songs of all time.[196][197][198][199] From Tampa came the Tropics and the Rovin' Flames.[200][201][202] The Seeds of Time, from Monroeville, Alabama cut the proto-punk "She's Been Travelin' Round the World" in 1966.[203] [204] [205] The Tikis, from Dolthan, Alabama released the topical "Somebody's Son".[206][207] The Gants, from Greenwood, Mississippi, were the most popular group in the state and recorded three albums and a string singles, such as the blues-drenched rocker, "(You Can't Blow) Smoke Rings" and the Beatles-inspired ballad, "I Wonder".[208][209][210]

Louisiana had its share of activity. In the New Orleans area, where two of the popular nightspots were the Beaconette and the Hullaballoo,[211][212][213] the Gaunga Dyns recorded "Rebecca Rodifier", whose lyrics depict the saga of a fictional female protagonist who dies in the aftermath of an illegal botched abortion—one or rock's earliest songs dealing with the controversial topic.[211][214] The Better Half-Dozen and The Palace Guards were also from New Olrleans.[215][215][216][217] Dr. Spec's Optical Illusion had a gritty, hard-driving sound on display in single "Tryin' To Mess With My Mind" b/w "She's the One".[218] The Greek Fountains, from Baton Rouge, were one of the most popular groups in the state, and drummer Cyril Vetter co-wrote "Double Shot of My Baby's Love", which would later provide a hit for the The Swingin' Medallions.[219][220] The Basement Wall, also from Baton Rouge, became one of the most popular bands in the region.[221] Lafayette's the Rogues released a single credited as the Dry Grins, "She's a Drag", produced by Cyril Vetter, then followed it up with another 45, credited this time as the Rogues, featuring "Put You Down".[222][223] The Persian Market were also from Lafayette.[224][225] The Bad Roads from Lake Charles released the fuzz-drenched single, "Blue Girl".[92][226]

Tennessee, Arkansas, and Carolinas[edit]

Memphis, which had already established a strong reputation for its blues and rockabilly, became a major center of soul music in the 1960s, as the home of Stax Records.[227][228][229] However, the city also had a vibrant garage band scene, with as many 400–500 groups playing in the area, and a core of about eighty bands that played regularly at the better venues.[230] The Guilloteens went to Los Angeles, where they recorded the Phil Spector-produced "Hey You" and "I Don't Believe" at the Gold Star Studios then returned to Tennessee, and drove to Nashville to record "Wild Child'.[231][232] The Hombres were another popular Memphis group and had a hit with their song "Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)", which reached No. 12 on the national charts.[233][234][235] The Breakers had a local and regional hit with "Don't Bring Me No Flowers (I Ain't Dead Yet)".[236][237][238][239] Other groups from Memphis were the Escapades,The Jesters, Randy and the Radiants, Lawson and Four More, and Flash & the Memphis Casuals.".[240] The Yardleys were from Pine Bluff, Arkansas and cut the single "The Light Won't Shine".[241][242]

North Carolina experienced its own garage rock boom. In Charlotte, the Paragons (not to be confused with the Jamaican ska group of the same name) were one of the most popular bands in town, and went to Arthur Smith's studio to record their single on Bobbi Records featuring, "Abba", which became an enormous hit in the local area, reaching No. 1 on the local charts and is now regarded as a garage rock classic.[243][244][245] The Grifs, also from Charlotte, released the fuzz-drenched "Catch a Ride" and went to Michigan to record "Keep Dreamin'".[139][246] The Stowaways recorded the self-financed LP In Our Time, whose assortment of blues and folk-inspired tracks included eerie ballads such as "Just A Toy" and "It Won't Be Wrong".[247] The Damascans recorded "Get Away Girl".[248][249] Sounds Unlimited, from Winston-Salem, recorded the song, "Cool One".[250][251] The Bojax, from Greenville, South Carolina, specialized in hard-driving numbers such as "Go Ahead and Go" and Hippie Times", and the Elite UFO, from Stanton, Kentucky, recorded "Now Who's Good Enough".[252][253]

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