"They wanted to be The Beatles. They wanted to be the Stones. OK, so a couple of them made itů but what about the rest?"
—Advertising blurb for the box set Nuggets II: Original Artifacts From the British Empire and Beyond
Garage Rock is a raw form of rock music that is typically performed by amateur teenage musicians in Garage Bands
The first wave of garage rock lasted from around 1963 to 1968
. Perhaps the most influential (and definitely the most frequently covered) garage rock single was "Louie Louie", a tune written by Richard Berry, reintroduced by the Sonics and the Wailers and definitively covered by the Kingsmen. However, it was The British Invasion
that really started the deluge; The Beatles
, The Rolling Stones
, and all the movement's other groups inspired countless teens from all over the world to form their own bands.
Nearly every early garage band that made a hit was a One-Hit Wonder
, although some bands like The Sonics, The Standells, The Seeds, and especially Paul Revere & the Raiders were slightly luckier. (Also, major names like Alice Cooper
, Ted Nugent
, Iggy Pop
and Todd Rundgren
got their starts in garage bands.) The double LP (and later box set) Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era: 1965-1968
, compiled by Patti Smith
Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, contains a decent amount of these hits, as well as some "deep cuts" and even novelty songs from garage and Psychedelic Rock
There is significant overlap between garage rock, Surf Rock
, Folk Rock
, The British Invasion
, and proto-punk. Question Mark & the Mysterians, The Monks, and a few later garage rock bands such as The Stooges
are often considered to be the first Punk Rock
In The Seventies
and The Eighties
, punk bands like The Cramps
and The Ramones
would create the first garage rock revival. But the most successful garage rock bands were formed in the 2000s, when The White Stripes
, The Strokes
, and The Hives
achieved commercial success that was unrivaled by even the first wave of garage rock bands.
The film That Thing You Do!
is a tribute to this genre.
Some influential mid-60s American Garage Rock bands:
- The 13th Floor Elevators ("You're Gonna Miss Me"; more Psychedelic Rock than garage, but very influential on both genres)
- The Blues Magoos ("We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet")
- The Castaways ("Liar, Liar")
- The Chocolate Watchband ("Sweet Young Thing", "Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In)?")
- Count Five ("Psychotic Reaction")
- The Electric Prunes ("I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night," "Get Me to the World on Time"; they were at the midpoint between garage and Psychedelic Rock)
- The Flamin' Groovies (started in 1965, made their major impact in The Seventies, and finally split up in 1992)
- The Kingsmen ("Louie Louie", "Jolly Green Giant")
- The Knickerbockers ("Lies")
- The Leaves ("Hey Joe" [which became a Garage Rock standard], "Too Many People")
- The Monks (five American servicemen stationed in West Germany whose unique sound was half-garage, half-Psychedelic Rock)
- The Nazz (Todd Rundgren's first band; hits included "Open My Eyes" and the original version of "Hello, It's Me")
- Question Mark & the Mysterians ("96 Tears")
- The Remains ("Don't Look Back")
- Paul Revere & the Raiders ("Indian Reservation," "Kicks")
- The Rivieras ("California Sun")
- The Seeds ("Pushin' Too Hard," "Can't Seem to Make You Mine," "Mr. Farmer")
- The Shadows of Knight (their version of "Gloria" Covered Up Them's original on the American charts)
- The Sonics ("Strychnine," "Psycho," "The Witch"; considered the ancestor of Washington state's Alternative Rock scene)
- The Standells ("Dirty Water," "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White")
- The Stooges ("No Fun," "I Wanna Be Your Dog," "1969"; they came along too late to be part of the original movement, but combined garage rock with proto-punk)
- The Turtles (started as a garage-y Folk Rock group before having pop hits like "Eleanor" and "Happy Together")
- The Trashmen ("Surfin' Bird")
- The Wailers (not those Wailers; this group was from Tacoma and recorded the song "Tall Cool One", as well as one of the better known pre-Kingsmen revivals of "Louie Louie")
Equally influental mid-60s UK bands who were kindred spirits:
- The Animals
- The Beatles (without them, there would have been no British Invasion and hence no Garage Rock, at least not as we know it)
- The Creation ("Making Time")
- The Kinks
- The Pretty Things ("Rosalyn", "Don't Bring Me Down")
- The Rolling Stones (their influence on the genre can't be overstated)
- Them (Van Morrison's first band; hits included "Here Comes the Night" and the original version of "Gloria")
- The Troggs ("Wild Thing", "I Can't Control Myself", "Love Is All Around")
- The Who
- The Yardbirds
Bands from The Seventies, The Eighties and later who helped revive Garage Rock:
Tropes associated with Garage Rock:
- Flanderization: The original 60s garage bands were a diverse bunch; several bands performed Beatles-like Power Pop or Byrds-ish Folk Rock. However, the genre became best known for bands influenced by the tougher, R&B-inspired side of The British Invasion, such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals, The Kinks and The Yardbirds.
- Name's the Same/Similarly Named Groups: In those pre-internet days, it was all too easy for bands in different cities or countries to give themselves identical names without realizing it. Particular favorites included the Missing Links (used by 9 different bands), the Chosen Few (10 bands) and the Coachmen (11 bands).
- The Smurfette Principle: Most original garage bands were male, although there were a handful of female bands.
- Three Chords and the Truth: Garage Rock makes musical and lyrical simplicity a virtue, partly out of necessity. One of its most appealing aspects is its contention that anybody can be in a band, with only a minimal amount of practice.