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Garage rock

The term "garage rock" comes from the perception that many such performers were usually young and amateurish, and often rehearsed in a garage. In this sense garage rock was a forerunner of punk music, which professed the same DIY attitude. [Mar 2006]

Related: Lenny Kaye - garage - rock - proto punk

Rock critic (and future Patti Smith guitarist) Lenny Kaye first defined and named the movement in 1972 as compiler of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. This legendary double album was perhaps the first collection of older recordings to treat the music as worthy of lasting attention and not just as a quickly fading "oldie but goodie" memory. As such, Nuggets helped plant the seed for Rhino Records, which returned the favor in 1998 with an expanded 4-CD edition of the seminal compilation.

Psychotic Reaction (1966) Count Five

Psychotic Reaction (1966) Count Five
image sourced here.


Garage rock was a simple, raw form of rock and roll created by a number of United States bands in the mid-1960s. Inspired by British Invasion bands like The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones, these mostly Midwestern United States groups played a variation on British Invasion rock. While the American Midwest produced many of the best-known examples of garage rock, there were many bands in that style coming from the West Coast of the United States and Australia.

The term "garage rock" comes from the perception that many such performers were usually young and amateurish, and often rehearsed in a garage. These bands' music was often much cruder than their inspirations but was full of passion and energy. Most of the bands used simple chord progressions, pounding drums, and catchy lyrics. In many ways, the garage bands were the first bands in what would eventually be known as punk rock.

Hundreds of garage bands popped up around America and a handful of them Shadows of Knight, The Count 5, The Seeds, The Standells had hits, but most were destined for obscurity. In fact, nearly all of the bands were forgotten by the early 1970s, though the famous Nuggets compilation brought them back somewhat closer to the spotlight. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garage_rock [Jun 2005]


  1. Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 [4 CD, Amazon US]
    That the most famous garage-rock record of all time, the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie," is buried on the last CD of this four-disc box is very much in keeping with the spirit of the (often) one-hit wonders that people Nuggets. Here, "Louie Louie" is just another great song. An elaboration on the 1972 double LP, which is included in its original sequence, this set piles on dozens more great moments of inspiration, guts, chutzpah, and sometimes sheer commercial calculation. How else to explain the advice "Look at yourself" from the likes of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, whose idea of mind expansion seems limited to putting together two very vaguely related nouns--"Incense and Peppermints"--so their swinging Farfisa-led track will have something, anything, for verbal content? There's loads of such wisdom on display here, prefab and otherwise, usually delivered as rabidly as possible. (Try the Remains' "Don't Look Back," Mouse and the Traps' "Maid of Sugar--Maid of Spice," or the Music Machine's "Talk Talk," which was actually a hit.) And remember: "The sky is falling / The ocean is calling / The world ... is spinning 'round ... and 'round." For sure. --Rickey Wright
  2. The Cramps - Bad Music for Bad People [1 CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This album was my introduction to The Cramps, and it highlights the best of their early (and best) albums on I.R.S. Records, from the days when that was the most happening punk/new wave label. The Cramps successfully mix rockabilly, surf trash, punk, country and garage into an outta sight 60's B-horror movie sound that opens the ears,boggles the mind, and gets you to jump around the room, insane and highly recommended. -- John Spokus for Amazon.com

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