Sounds of the 60s: Garage Bands and Rock: Part 13

by Jack B. Stephens

A reader commented that most bands could be considered “Garage” since the term as used in this series does concentrate on a group of people who get together to form a band, practice their music, find a somewhat unique style, and try their best to get recognition. This is correct since it would be very unusual for a group of people to simply jump on stage and start performing with no practice. About the only way this could happen is if a group of already known seasoned performers get on stage and start jamming or if we speak of animated bands. This, of course, would not constitute a band as it applies to these articles. This series could easily be called Bands of the 60s; however, using the term “Garage” is meant to separate these bands out from ones that were manufactured by producers. Eventually, this series will move into the 70s and beyond; however, there are still many bands to cover that found their beginnings in the 60s. It is truly amazing how many of these bands actually exist.

The Balloon Farm

The Balloon Farm at Shorecrest High School dance 1968 – Photo: Richard Evans

The Balloon Farm formed in New Jersey in 1967 and were named after a nightclub in New York City. The band was short-lived only achieving success with their first single “A Question of Temperature” which reached number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. This single is now known as a garage and psychedelic classic. The “B” side of this single “Hurtin for your Love” also received some attention. Their next release in 1968 “Hurry Up Sundown” was not a success. The band recorded on Laurie records in the US and was dropped before they could put together an entire album.

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The Painted Ship

The Painted Ship an often overlooked band from Vancouver, British Columbia formed in late 1965. They were quite popular regionally and have since gained more attention from listeners particularly in the genres of Garage, Punk and Psychedelic Rock. Their first release in 1966 “Little White Lies” is considered a punk rock classic. The B side of the single “Frustration” gained recognition as well. Their next single was “Audience Reflections” backed with “And She Said Yes” both of which received airplay in BC as well as in the United States. Although they never gained an international audience, two of their songs are included on the “History of Vancouver Rock and Roll, Volume 3” a series that is definitely worth checking out.

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The Spiders

The Spiders formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1964 as a high school band. The founders were Vincent Furnier, later known as Alice Cooper, on lead vocals and Dennis Dunaway. They formed to play in a local talent show which brought an overwhelming response resulting in them becoming a true band. Interestingly enough, they performed around Phoenix with a huge spider’s web as a backdrop which told of things to come. Their first single in 1965 while still in high school was “Why Don’t You Love Me” backed by “Hitch Hike”. Their second single “Don’t Blow Your Mind” in 1966 became a number 1 local hit and was backed with “No Price Tag”. By 1967 the band retired the name The Spiders and became known as Nazz. They released one song under this name “Wonder Who’s Lovin’ Her Now” backed with “Lay Down and Die, Goodbye” before discovering that there was another band with the same name. At this time, Furnier decided the band needed a gimmick and a stage presence. This led to the band Alice Cooper composed of all former members of the Spiders.

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Procol Harum

Procol Harum formed in England during 1967 from the remains of the group The Paramounts and featured Robin Trower along with Gary Booker. The original band continued on until 1977. Their first studio release “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in 1967 is their most known single and has the distinction of selling over 10 million copies. It reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. After this success, the band began touring with their first gig being the opening act for Jimi Hendrix. Their next release also in 1967 was “Homburg” which reached number 34 on the US chart. The following releases during the remaining years of the 1960s included “Quite Rightly So” in 1968, “A Salty Dog” in 1969 and “The Devil Came From Kansas” the same year. These releases had little success, but the group continued on into the 1970s with more success. We may cover these when we reach the bands of the 1970s.

Along with more well-known bands, I try to cover lesser known bands since I feel it is important for them to get recognition. The groups I cover all had some type of impact on listeners as well as future bands. Another goal is to give my readers the opportunity to discover and listen to bands they may be completely unfamiliar with. I consider myself very well versed in the history of rock and popular music; however, in writing this series I have discovered bands that I wasn’t even familiar with. The 1960s was truly a decade packed full of numerous bands and we will continue to explore them. You the audience often provide direction in how this series flows so keep those comments and suggestions coming.

Jack B. Stephens

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Sources and Further Information:

The Balloon Farm | Biography & History | AllMusic

Find The Balloon Farm biography and history on AllMusic – Psych-punk quartet the Balloon Farm remain best…

The Balloon Farm – Wikipedia

After Adam disbanded, Henny and Schnug were joined by Mike Appel and Jay Saks and adopted the name “The Balloon Farm”. The band’s first single was “A Question of Temperature”, which was released in October 1967. First pressings of the 45 rpm single contained a typographical error that rendered the title as “A Question of Tempature”.

Balloon Farm – Seattle (1965-1969)

No Description

Painted Ship | Biography & History | AllMusic

Find Painted Ship biography and history on AllMusic – Alumni of Vancouver, BC’s largely unheralded ’60s…

The Painted Ship Interview with Bill Hay

a) Little White Lies: I decided to write a song about the way relationships REALLY are as opposed to the usual bullshit we get fed. The world is built on lies( cultural fables, politicians, lawyers,relationships etc. etc.) No? Well, let’s see. Gentle readers,hands up if you’ve never lied to your significant other.

The Painted Ship Audience Reflections / And She Said Yes – 7

Audience Reflections / And She Said Yes – 7″ London – 1967 Michael Panontin After the regional success of their fantastic double-sider ‘Little White Lies’ / ‘Frustration’ , William (the Captain) Hay and his Painted Ship sailed into the summer of love as one of Vancouver’s hippest garage acts.

The History Of Vancouver Rock And Roll

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The Spiders (American rock band) – Wikipedia

The Spiders were a 1960s garage rock band, featuring Vincent Furnier (later known as Alice Cooper) on lead vocals. They consisted of Furnier, Dennis Dunaway, Glen Buxton, John Tatum, John Speer and Michael Bruce.

Meet The Spiders: Alice Cooper’s Garage Punk Band – Bloody Popcorn

This is not breaking news or anything, but Alice Cooper was once in a 60s garage punk band. In fact, most of original Alice Cooper band were. They were called The Spiders and they kicked ass. Now, aside from their name, there was nothing too spooky about the band, but Alice is the king of…

Alice Cooper | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links | AllMusic

Find Alice Cooper bio, music, credits, awards, & streaming links on AllMusic – Pioneers of heavy rock, and masters of shock rock…

Procol Harum | Biography & History | AllMusic

Procol Harum is arguably the most successful “accidental” group creation — that is, a band originally assembled to take advantage of the success of a record created in the studio — in the history of progressive rock.

Procol Harum – Wikipedia

Procol Harum () is an English progressive rock band formed in 1967. Their best-known recording is their 1967 hit single ” A Whiter Shade of Pale”, considered a classic in popular music and one of the few singles to have sold over 10 million copies.