Revisiting Garage Rock’s Roots – An Audio Tour

linkwrayGarage rock really hit it big time over the past 10 years or so, spawning an entire new generation of a simplistic approach to the true essence of rock. It’s raw and steady. Bands like The Hives, The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Dirtbombs and Weezer continue to enjoy commercial success that has never been realized by the founders – the original garage bands.

Believe it or not, garage rock started 40, some would argue 50 years ago. The scene developed somewhere around 1958 with songs like “Rumble” by Link Wray (pictured, and featured in Pulp Fiction), but really took hold during the hippie-happy 60’s.

The early garage bands became influenced by the British Invasion of bands like The Who and The Kinks, until a distinct genre evolved, even though “garage rock” wasn’t coined until many years later. The original garage era didn’t last long though – by the late 60’s it was all but gone. But there were some great songs and bands that will forever own the title as the founders of garage rock. Here are a few favorites:

The Creation, “Making Time” Often referred to as a “freakbeat” band, The Creation gained notoriety in the movie “Rushmore” for this song. It captures the fuzzy guitar and hollow sound of many garage rock songs that followed.

The Sparkles, “No Friend of Mine” You can really hear the influence of the trippy 60’s sound in this one, but it has attitude and the steady, dominating drum beat of great garage rock.

The Sonics, “Have Love Will Travel” This song has all the elements of proper garage rock but has a bluesy feel and throws in a horn. It’s enjoyed a revival by being covered by The Black Keys.

The Del Vetts, “Last Time Around” Chicago’s entry into the scene came through The Del Vetts. This song displays a familiar 60’s beat but still hits the garage note and features a nice, heavy bass.

Richard & The Young Lions, “Open Up Your Door” A tambourine ties this early garage song to the era in which it developed, and it also has a little surfer rock mixed in – but decidedly garage.

If you want to learn more about 60’s garage bands, there are two excellent resources in and