How do you get your musical fix in the digital age? If you’re looking for something a little more old-school, you might want to check out some of the best sixties rock and garage psychedelia around. From the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, there’s something here for everyone.
The Electric Prunes- I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
The Electric Prunes- I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
One of the satisfied examples of postulated sixties garage psychedelia, this record is sonically and lyrically expansive. The song’s airy feel is elevated by the playing of a theremin, which gives off an otherworldly tone. Lyrically, the song is about a man who has a dream in which he meets a girl. Though he knows it’s just a dream, he can’t help but to be entranced by her.
The Standells- Dirty Water
The Standells were an American garage rock band, formed in Los Angeles in 1962. They are best known for their hit song “Dirty Water”, which is now considered an anthem of the city of Boston.
The Standells were one of the first American bands to embrace the British Invasion sound and add a tough, garage rock edge to it. They also incorporated elements of psychedelic rock into their music, which helped to pioneer the genre. The band’s music is featured in several films and television shows, including The Simpsons, Psych, and is also used as the soundtrack for the video game Saints Row IV.
The Sonics- Have Love Will Travel
Right from the start of “Have Love Will Travel,” The Sonics let you know that they mean business. The opening guitar riff is sharp and to the point, setting the stage for one of the most driving and energetic tracks of the garage rock era. The verses are short and sweet, with just enough time for frontman Gerry Roslie to snarl his way through the lyrics before the band kicks into overdrive for the chorus. With its simple but effective lyrics and unrelenting energy, “Have Love Will Travel” is a perfect example of why The Sonics were one of the most important and influential bands of the 60s.
The Strangeloves- I Want Candy
The Strangeloves were an Australian-American pop band, formed in New York City in 1964 by Bob Crewe and featuring New York session musicians Frank Infante, Chris Bartley, and Printemps. Their biggest hit was “I Want Candy”, a song written by Bert Berns, Bob Crewe, and Bob Feldman, which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1966.
The Strangeloves’ musical style embraced the energy and attitude of early rock and roll while simultaneously invoking the nascent psychedelic sound of the mid-1960s. Their stage show was highly theatrical, with the band members often donning bizarre costumes (such as furry animal heads or sheepskin vests) and generating a feeling of controlled chaos. Despite their humorous intent, The Strangeloves were actually a very proficient band, capable of crafting catchy pop songs as well as harder-edged garage rockers.
The Knickerbockers- Lies
The Knickerbockers were an American rock band, formed in Bergenfield, New Jersey in 1962. They are best known for their 1965 hit single, “Lies”, which peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The Knickerbockers were one of the first bands to be classified as “garage rock”, a genre that would be come to be defined by such hits as The Standells’ “Dirty Water” and The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard”. According to AllMusic critic Greg Prato, “Lies” is “widely regarded as one of the first garage rock anthems.”
The song was written by band member Buddy Merril and was inspired by a relationship he had been in that ended badly. In an interview with Donna Dabney of the website Classicbands.com, Merrill recalled:
“I was dating this girl for about six months and she broke up with me. I was really broken hearted about it. I went over to try and patch things up with her and her new boyfriend answered the door. He told me she wasn’t home but she would be back later. I knew he was lying so I wrote the song ‘Lies’.”
The Remains- Don’t Look Back
The Remains was a Boston-based garage band that achieved some success in the 1960s. The band members were Bill Denneen (drums), Barry Tashian (guitar, vocals), Vern Miller (bass) and Dickburg (guitar).
The Remains were hardware put together by ardent young music fans in search of a new sound. They didn’t want to be another Beatles, rolling out safe three-chord pop tunes. They wanted to be the Rolling Stones, playing bluesy hard rock. They also wanted to be different from the Byrds, who had popularized the use of feedback and distortion. The Remains were tough and tight, and their songs were propelled by Denneen’s signature drumming style.
The Remains’ first album, The Remains, was released in 1966 and featured the original version of “Don’t Look Back.” The song was written by Tashian and became a minor hit, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album also included a cover of Bo Diddley’s “Mona.”
The Remains disbanded in 1968 after releasing a second album, Remember.
The garage bands
The garage bands of the early and mid-1960s provided the template and attitude for what would become psychedelia. The Rolling Stones, themselves huge fans of early rock and roll and R&B, released their own brand of raw, bluesy rock with a distinctly menacing undertone. The Beatles began their recorded career with a string of singles that harkened back to their Liverpool roots, but by 1965 they had embraced the possibilities of studio technology and were experimenting with feedback, tape loops, and other sonic devices on songs like “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The Kinks’ Ray Davies combined social commentary with surrealism on such tracks as “See My Friends” and “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.” Other top British Invasion outfits–including the Who, the Animals, and Gerry & the Pacemakers–also experimented with feedback, distortion, and alternate tunings.
The psychedelic bands
Thepsychedelic bands were the first to use feedback, and create distortion with their electric guitars to produce Psychedelic Rock. The psychedelic sound began to be used in 1966, with The Beatles’ song “Tomorrow Never Knows”, and Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?”. Psychedelic Music came to its height in 1967, with The Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star”, and Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive”.
The British Invasion
The British Invasion was a musical movement in the early and mid 1960s. It refers to the large number of rock and roll, pop, and R&B performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The Beatles were the most successful and well-known band of the British Invasion.