We have been discussing Garage Rock and Bands (Part 1, and Part 2) as well as their big impact on the sounds of the 1960s and the influence on future rock and roll music that was to come. The British Invasion as well as the growing popularity of rock and roll music was certainly an incentive for many to try their own hand at being part of that explosion. Groups and artists began to develop and experiment with the music. This can be seen in most of the groups and artists we have explored so far. While they wanted to have a hit record, for most they also wanted to have their own style and recognition. Some were very successful with one high chart ranking national hit, but failed to reproduce that success with subsequent releases. However, those songs are well known until this day and are part of that strong foundation that is known as rock and roll music. Some groups and artists did indeed have huge success with many of their songs and we are going to explore a few of these groups this week.
Paul Revere and The Raiders
from the Pacific Northwest formed in 1961 where they had their first charted single on the Billboard Hot 100.
That single “Like Long Hair” was an instrumental which reached number 38. The band went through some lineup changes before recording several national garage rock classics. The sound was very different from their first charted single.
Their first major hit was “Just Like Me” which reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965.
The song “Kicks” became their most well-known song and reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966.
Tommy James and The Shondells
from Niles, Michigan officially began in 1966 although there were variations of the group formed by James going all the way back to 1960.
Their first single “Hanky Panky” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1966. The song was originally released in 1964 by James and an earlier variation of the Shondells. It was a regional hit in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois; however, at that time it gained no national attention.
The group had a string of hit records through the 60s.
Including this number 4 hit in 1967 “I Think We’re Alone Now”.
By 1968, the group experimented with psychedelic rock and released their biggest single “Crimson and Clover” which reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1969.
formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California and were originally known as a surf rock group called the Crossfires. However, the band changed their named shortly after and a sound that was a blend of folk and rock and roll.
Their first hit under the name of The Turtles was a cover of a Bob Dylan song “It Ain’t Me Babe”. The single reached number 8 in the summer of 1965 on the Billboard Hot 100.
During the latter part of 1965 and 1966, the band did release more singles and albums; however, none that had the success of their first release. With some lineup changes and a slightly different sound, The Turtles achieved much greater success in 1967. During that year, the band had some of their best selling singles including “She’d Rather Be With Me” which reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In the spring of 1967, the band had their biggest hit as well as the song they became known for. “Happy Together” reached the number 1 spot for three weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It actually knocked the song “Penny Lane” by The Beatles out of the top spot on the chart. The band continued to be successful through 1968 and 1969, but disbanded in 1970.
The Grass Roots
went through several changes in lineups since their inception in Los Angeles by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri in 1965. The “real” band didn’t appear until 1967 and consisted of Rob Grill, Creed Bratton, Rick Coonce and Warren Entner. The group had several high charting songs through 1972 although Bratton left the band in the middle of 1969.
Their first Top 10 hit “Let’s Live For Today” reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967 and brought attention to the group.
The following year 1968 brought a string of hit records including their biggest hit “Midnight Confessions” which reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Their success continued through 1972 with several charted singles including “Temptation Eyes” which reached number 15 in 1971 and one of their last successful songs “Glory Bound” peaking at number 34 in 1972.
As we have seen, garage rock and the bands who performed it were truly a large part of what we identify as the sound of the 1960s. Many of these bands did only have national success with one or two extremely popular songs; however, in exploring further, we see there were also many bands that had several high chart ranking singles. Regardless of that, each of the groups we have explored, whether associated with being one hit wonders or groups with several hit records, are all part of that strong foundation for what we know as rock and roll music.
by Jack B. Stephens
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Sources and Info:
Paul Revere & the Raiders is an American rock band that saw considerable U.S. mainstream success in the second half of the 1960s and early 1970s. Among their hits were the songs ” Kicks” (1966; ranked No. 400 on Rolling Stone ‘s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time), ” Hungry” (1966), “Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?”
One of the most popular and entertaining rock groups of the 1960s, Paul Revere & the Raiders enjoyed seven years of serious chart action, and during their three biggest years (1966-1969), sold records in numbers behind only the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Song information for Kicks – Paul Revere & the Raiders on AllMusic
2 The year of first publication. If the work is a derivative work or a compilation incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the derivative work or compilation is sufficient. Examples of derivative works are translations or dramatizations; an example of a compilation is an anthology.
Tommy James and the Shondells are an American rock band, formed in Niles, Michigan in 1960. They had two No. 1 singles in the U.S., ” Hanky Panky” (July 1966, their only RIAA Certified Gold record) and ” Crimson and Clover” (February 1969), and also charted twelve other Top 40 hits, including five in the Hot 100’s top ten: ” I Think We’re Alone Now”, ” Mirage”, ” Mony Mony”, ” Sweet Cherry Wine”, and ” Crystal Blue Persuasion”.
Tommy James & the Shondells — the very mention of their name, even to someone who doesn’t really know their music, evokes images of dances and the kind of fun that rock & roll represented before it redefined itself on more serious terms. And between 1966 and 1969, the group enjoyed 14 Top 40 hits, most of which remain among the most eminently listenable (if not always respected) examples of pop/rock.
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Long disillusioned with their record label and its growing financial problems by this time, Kaylan and Volman resisted White Whale’s efforts to turn the Turtles into something approaching an assembly-line pop act. The label apparently encouraged Kaylan and Volman to fire the rest of the band, tour with hired musicians and make records by adding their vocals to backing tracks recorded by Memphis session players.
Though many remember only their 1967 hit, “Happy Together,” the Turtles were one of the more enjoyable American pop groups of the ’60s, moving from folk-rock inspired by the Byrds to a sparkling fusion of Zombies-inspired chamber pop and straight-ahead, good-time pop reminiscent of the Lovin’ Spoonful, the whole infused with beautiful vocal harmonies courtesy of dual frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman.
The Turtles scored a handful of hits in the ’60s – songs that are still played on oldies stations nearly fifty years later – yet they seldom receive the credit they deserve. As I prepared to write this review, I just could not figure out why they aren’t held in higher esteem by the public at large.
The Grass Roots had a series of major hits — most notably “Let’s Live for Today,” “Midnight Confessions,” “Temptation Eyes,” and “Two Divided by Love” — that help define the essence of the era’s best AM radio.
The Grass Roots are an American rock band that charted frequently between 1966 and 1975. The band was originally the creation of Lou Adler and songwriting duo P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri. In their career, they achieved two gold albums, one gold single and charted singles a total of 21 times.