Classic Garage Band Crazy

You have to wonder what fuel was in the tank for these sessions. Hopped up doesn't half describe it.

We listened to decks of songs over the course of a few days and asked: what ever possessed them to make this kind of music? (Possible answers – the devil, their mean old mamas, swimmer’s ear, witnessing animal sacrifice before age six, and a natural-born perverseness.)

All Garage Band music is one of the vertebrae in the backbone of Rock-N-Roll. A big thick, gnarly lump of bone tied in by gristle and sinew – cracked, defiant, rough and tumble. It’s feral Rock. This list singles out the truly insane Garage Band songs, though. They’re more than off the wall – because there aren’t any walls. Period.

They’re funny, goofy, surreal in theme and lyrics, but always very intense and danceable beyond reason. Like a white-hot poker in your ear. This music took tanker cars full of booze, a landslides of pills and a madness that seems now as if it would be impossible to recreate.

Gimme Some Lovin’

The Spencer Davis Group
Single (1966)

As good a place as any to start, especially given the fact that, although he would soon become a superstar, Stevie Winwood, of Traffic and Blind Faith future fame, came up with this wild dance number with bandleader Spencer Davis.

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She’s About A Mover

Sir Douglas Quintet
Mendocino (1965)

Until their native San Antonio scarfed up some cachet in recent years, it struck this gang of miscreants that they could cash in on the British Invasion by calling themselves The Sir Douglas Quintet. They didn’t make chamber music.

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The Who
Meat Beaty Big And Bouncy (1966)

I was born with
a plastic spoon in my mouth…

Beginning in 1965 until the rise and triumph in 1969 of the “rock opera” Tommy, The Who rattled off hits more often than most people have really good sex. In those fertile years before they became a super group they came across like something along the lines of the world’s best bar band writ large.

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Click to dive even deeper into this song, one of the extraordinary musical works that makes Rock-N-Roll the greatest genre on Earth.

Bottle Of Wine

The Fireballs
Bottle Of Wine (1967)

Plain and simple, “Bottle Of Wine” is about getting falling-down shit-faced. The Fireballs had a #1 hit in 1963 with “Sugar Shack,” but afterward saw only minor action on the charts before “Bottle” became a huge frat house, spring break bomber.

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Psychotic Reaction

The Count Five
Psychotic Reaction (1965)

1965′s “Psychotic Reaction” was an early departure from mainline Garage into psychedelic-tinged, stripped-down music. Some argue that “Psychotic Reaction” was the very first psychedelic song, but it’s a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic to go on that outing.

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Locked in the closets of the insane asylum of Garage Band music are its DNA roots in Doo Wop. A quick listen to The Rivingtons “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” from 1962 will set you straight. It makes you feel good because nonsense, for the most part, is a lost art and we so need it as a species.

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96 Tears

? And The Mysterians
96 Tears (1966)

The ultra-minimalist, offbeat “96 Tears” can legitimately be called one of the chief inspirations of Punk music, one that was in turn influenced by the ragged sound of a slice of the British Invasion.

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Click to dive even deeper into this song, one of the extraordinary musical works that makes Rock-N-Roll the greatest genre on Earth.

Surfin’ Bird

The Trashmen
Surfin’ Bird (1963)

Essentially The Trashmen appropriated The Rivingtons’ two big hits  (“Papa-Omm-Mow-Mow”, above; and “The Bird Is The Word”). The group’s name gives new meaning to the term “pick-up band.”

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Wooly Bully

Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
Wooly Bully (1965)

No one knows what the 1965 3-million-copies-sold smash is about. The lyrics are bizarrely opaque. An American bison? A yak? (Wooly Bully was the name of writer Domingo Samudio’s pet cat.)

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