If you grew up in the 1960’s you most likely heard a type of rock music on the radio that is now known as “garage rock” or “underground garage rock”.
Garage rock got its name sort of unfairly because people assumed that all groups rehearsed in garages. But it actually refers to a style of music, both artistically in terms of lyrics, mood, and theme, and technically in terms of instruments selected and how those instruments sound at the end of day (especially those that were electronic). To me, it is a gritty sound that was more aggressive than pop music and a little more unsophisticated, an early form of what we call today “alternative rock” that you hear locally on 102.1 The Edge (KDGE-FM, owned by iHeart Media).
Many music historians trace the beginnings of garage rock to as early as the late 1950’s to the 1970’s, but most credit the period from 1963-1968 as the most predominant time that this music came out as an alternative to pop music.
If you lived in the DFW area in the 60’s during the time of the Vietnam War and when illegal drug use was on the rise among young people, you heard some of this music on 1190 KLIF — but if you had an FM radio (which was not automatically installed in cars back then), you tuned more to 98.7 KNUS (both KLIF and KNUS were owned by legendary broadcaster Gordon McLendon at 2120 Commerce Street in downtown Dallas).
I had a high school friend from St. Mark’s, Tim Spencer, who was on the air on KNUS who had that deep sounding voice that was sexy, and perhaps you thought he might have been smoking something before going on the air! (NOTE: 1190 is now KFXR owned by iHeart Media and 98.7 is KLUV-FM owned by CBS Radio).
Here is a short list of my favorite garage rock bands with a sample song:
1. The Standells (Dirty Water)
2. The Woolies (Who Do You Love)
3. The Castaways (Liar Liar)
4. Paul Revere & The Raiders (Steppin Out)
5. The Kingsmen (Louie Louie)
6. Sir Douglas Quintet (She’s About A Mover)
7. Tommy James & The Shondells (Hanky Panky)
8. The Animals (It’s My Life)
9. The Yardbirds (I’m A Man)
10. The Knickerbockers (Lies)
All of these songs can be seen on You Tube. If you have Sirius XM in your car, home, office, or your smartphone, Sirius XM 21 is your 24/7 garage rock band channel.
You can also hear some of these songs weekdays from 12nn-4pm CT on Sirius XM 60’s on 6 with Pat St. John (you can also hear Pat on weekends on 101.1 CBS-FM in New York City online and on your mobile app).
See you next time.