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The Garage Band Era of the Sixties

 The link for the Garage Band Jukebox is located at the end of the article.

Garage Band Groups

Garage rock was a great period of time during the  60s. Many top acts emerged from hits roots and other rock bands became regional stars.

Garage rock was a raw form of rock and roll that was first popular in the United States and Canada from about 1963 to 1967. During the 1960s, it was not recognized as a separate music genre and had no specific name. In the 1970s, some critics referred to the style as "punk rock", the first form of music to bear this description; although it is sometimes called garage punk, protopunk, or 60s punk, the style has predominantly been referred to as garage rock.

The term "garage rock" comes from the perception that many such performers were young and amateurish, and often rehearsed in a family garage. Some bands were made up of middle-class teenagers from the suburbs, but some were from rural or urban areas, while others were composed of professional musicians in their twenties.

The performances were often amateurish or naïve, with typical themes revolving around the traumas of high school life and songs about "lying girls" being particularly common. The lyrics and delivery were notably more aggressive than was common at the time, often with growled or shouted vocals that dissolved into incoherent screaming. Instrumentation was often characterised by the use of guitars distorted through a fuzzbox. Nevertheless, garage rock acts were diverse in both musical ability and in style, ranging from crude one-chord music (like the Seeds and the Keggs) to near-studio musician quality (including the Knickerbockers, the Remains, and the Fifth Estate). There were also regional variations in many parts of America with flourishing scenes particularly in California and Texas. The Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon had perhaps the most defined regional sound.

The style had been evolving from regional scenes as early as 1958. "Tall Cool One" (1959) by The Wailers and "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen (1963) are mainstream examples of the genre in its formative stages. By 1963, garage band singles were creeping into the national charts in greater numbers, including Paul Revere and the Raiders (Boise), the Trashmen (Minneapolis) and the Rivieras (South Bend, Indiana). Other influential garage bands, such as the Sonics (Tacoma, Washington), never reached the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In this early period many bands were heavily influenced by surf rock and there was a cross-pollination between garage rock and energetic and upbeat party frat rock, though the latter is sometimes viewed as merely a sub-genre of garage rock.

The "British Invasion" of 1964 greatly influenced garage bands, providing them with a national audience and leading many (often surf or hot rod groups) to adopt a British Invasion lilt. The Invasion also inspired new, and often very raw, bands to form. Garage rock bands were generally influenced by those British "beat groups" with a harder, blues-based attack, such as The Kinks, The Who, The Animals, The Yardbirds, The Small Faces, The Pretty Things, Them, and The Rolling Stones. A handful of British garage bands were formed, the most successful being the Troggs. Another influence was the folk-rock of the Byrds and Bob Dylan, especially on bands such as the Leaves

Thousands of garage bands were extant in the USA and Canada during the era and hundreds produced regional hits. Usually thought to be the first to enjoy national success were The Beau Brummels with "Laugh, Laugh" and "Just a Little", which both reached the top 10 in 1964. Other examples include: "Fortune Teller" by Des Moines's The Image (1967), "The Witch" by Tacoma's The Sonics (1965), "Where You Gonna Go" by Detroit's Unrelated Segments (1967), "It's Cold Outside" by Cleveland's The Choir, "Girl I Got News for You" by Miami's Birdwatchers (1966) and "1-2-5" by Montreal's The Haunted. Boston's Remains, though only able to make it onto Billboard's Bubbling Under charts, had enough of a following and reputation to open for the Beatles during their 1966 U.S. tour. Michigan's Shondells released a minor regional hit in 1964 before disbanding; when it was unearthed by a Pittsburgh DJ in 1965, the resulting success of "Hanky Panky" revived the moribund career of Tommy James, who formed a new group of Shondells and went on to chart twelve more Top 40 singles.

There have quite a few groups that went on to international fame and were first classified as garage bands. You can enjoy the music of some of these garage bands which include some very hard to find songs.

Click here to go to the 60s Garage Band Jukebox.



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