Sounds of the 60s: Garage Bands and Rock, Part 9
by Jack B. Stephens
This week we will introduce additional groups of the 1960s who are credited for the beginnings of Punk Rock. These bands are included on the famed 1972 compilation “Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968”. Many of these groups did not last long and were not very popular at the time of their beginning. Some were simply considered too controversial for the critics and the general public. They did have success among their hard-core fans, but it would truly be years later before their contribution and influence to later rock and roll music would be discovered.
The Stooges formed in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1967 and are often credited as being one of the first punk bands. Their sound was raw, primitive and experimental. Fronted by lead singer Iggy Pop, recognition was hard due to the view that they were vulgar, weird and dangerous.
Iggy was known to dive off the stage, smear his chest with peanut butter and expose himself to the audience. Their influence and popularity really didn’t come until years later.
They released their first self-titled album in 1969 which included the single “I Wanna Be Your Dog” which failed to chart.
The album also included staples such as “No Fun” and “1969”.
Their second album “Fun House” was released in 1970, but was not well received by both the critics and the general public. It includes songs such as “T.V. Eye” and “Down on the Street”. The original group broke up in 1971. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 and is included on the Rolling Stones list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
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MC5 formed in Lincoln Park, Michigan in 1964. The band was loud and intense with politics as controversial as they were. Their songs are typically surrounded by rebellion, sex and drugs. They are credited for laying the foundations for the emergence of punk rock years later. They achieved little mainstream success due to their notoriety.
Their first single release was “I Can Only Give You Everything” in 1966 which was popular in the Detroit area as was their next release “Looking at You” in 1968.
They did achieve national attention in 1969 with their first album “Kick Out the Jams” which includes the single of the same name which reached number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their second album “Back in the USA” released in 1970 did not do as well.
Their third album “High Time” which included “Future/Now” released in 1971 fared even worse commercially. However, the reviews of both releases were good. The original band disbanded in 1972 due to poor sales and the departure of bassist Michael Davis.
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Nazz from Philadelphia formed in 1967. The band’s first self-titled release album in 1968 contained the single “Open My Eyes” backed with “Hello It’s Me”. Although “Open My Eyes” was the “A” side that was promoted, the “B” side “Hello It’s Me” became the more popular being played in Boston, Philadelphia and then on radio stations across the country. The single gained national success reaching number 66 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, “Open My Eyes” gained the group larger recognition later as it was included on the 1972 “Nuggets” compilation. Nazz was a short-lived band with only three album releases; however, Todd Rundgren’s career was launched during this period. The band broke up in 1969 after the second album. The album included the single “Not Wrong Long” backed with “Some People”.
Sir Douglas Quintet
Sir Douglas Quintet formed in San Antonio, Texas in 1964 founded by Doug Sahm. The band gained attention in the local area and then moved to San Francisco. They were influential in combining many styles within rock music including both Tex-Mex and Cajun. Their biggest hit was “She’s About a Mover” reaching number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other notable songs include “The Rains Came” in 1966, “Mendocino” in 1968 which reached number 27 on the US chart and “Dynamite Woman” in 1969. The band split up when Sahm left to work on a solo career in 1972.
It is interesting to note that some of the performances of the bands we have discussed this week, particularly The Stooges and MC5, are still considered too controversial for the mainstream. This shows how far ahead of the time many of these bands were. One thing we can certainly say is that they are all important in the development of rock and roll music and it’s far reaching influence on other bands. As I have stated in previous articles, one of the hallmarks of rock music is that many bands often push the envelope as far as possible.
-Jack B. Stephens
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