March is “Sing With Your Child Month” and “Music In Our Schools Month.” To celebrate the musical month of March, I would like to pay tribute to the many famous bands that started in their garages by reviewing three of the more popular bands that were part of the “Garage Rock” genre.
Paul Revere and the Raiders was started by Paul Revere Dick, an organist, and Mark Lindsay, a vocalist. The band was originally called the Downbeats. The name was changed to Paul Revere and the Raiders in 1960.
Their first hit song was a local favorite called “Like, Long Hair”. The song that got them national recognition and a contract with Columbia Records was “Louie Louie,” which they recorded in 1961. They made their U.S. tour in the summer of 1961 with Leon Russell filling in for Paul on the piano. Paul was doing deferred service as a cook at a mental institution because of his conscientious objector status.
The band is still active after 55 years. Many of the early musicians are still members. Three current members have been with the band for over 30 years: guitarist, Doug Heath; bassist, Ron Foos; and keyboardist, Danny Krause.
The Who was founded in 1964 in London, England. It had previously performed under the names The Confederates and Detour. The founders were Roger Daltrey, vocalist; Pete Townshend, guitarist; John Entwistie, bassist; and Keith Moon, drummer.
Their first single was “I Can’t Explain” (1965). It was quickly followed by two albums: My Generation (1965) and Quick One (1966). Thus began a stellar career that continued for the next 18 years. Keith Moon’s death in 1978 was a shock to the other band members that they never quite recovered from. They released two more albums, Face Dances (1981) and It’s Hard (1982), with Kenney Jones on drums, then disbanded in 1983.
The band continues to get together for special occasions and reunions to the present. The Who was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990; the first year they were eligible. John Entwistie passed away in 2006, leaving Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend as the only two surviving members of the original band.
The Yardbirds band was also founded in London, England, and like The Who, were part of the British Invasion. Like the other two bands, they did business under other names until 1963 when they adopted the name, The Yardbirds. Core members of the band were Paul Samwell-Smith, bass; Keith Reif, singer; Jim McCarty, drums; and Chris Dreja, rhythm guitar.
The Yardbirds had a short life â€“ 1963 to 1968. But during those five years, they made some great music, made significant equipment innovations, and had three of rock and rolls’ most distinguished guitar players as members of the band.
Three of the Yardbirds’ notable hits were “For Your Love”, “Over Under Sideways Down”, and “Heart Full of Soul”. Music journalist, Pat Pemberton, felt they were the most impressive guitar band in rock music. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
The Yardbirds are credited with introducing such equipment innovations as feedback, “fuzztone” distortion, and improved amplification.
It is only natural that Pemberton would think The Yardbirds were a great guitar band when you consider the Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page were members at various times.
Whether any of these bands actually practiced in a garage after acquiring their famous names is doubtful. But many of the band members probably practiced in the family garage at one time or another early in their musical careers. It is kind of amusing to imagine any of these famous musicians practicing in a garage. But, can you imagine what tortured sounds may have emanated from those garages?
Click here to see a list of popular bands that started in their garage.