Saturday, December 1, 2012

The "Favorite Garage Bands" Countdown Continues

Another group that scored VERY well in our All-Time Favorite Psychedelic Song Poll (they came in at #2 with their 1967 classic "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night"), I guess I've always considered these guys to be more of the "Psychedelic Rock" genre, too ... but your 194 votes places them at #14 on our All-Time Favorite Garage Bands List, too. (kk)

The Los Angeles-based Electric Prunes will always be best remembered for ‘I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night’ but, like many of the groups profiled here, were so much more than a one-hit wonder. ‘Get Me To World On Time’, ‘Are You Lovin’ Me More’, ‘Ain’t It Hard’ and ‘Shadows’ are all excellent songs that solidify the Prunes well-earned legendary status amongst fans of ‘60s garage rock. They’re also one of the few groups that made this list that are still actively recording in 2012.
Mike Dugo /

Original Electric Prunes Drummer Preston Ritter has been a "Friend Of Forgotten Hits" for quite a few years now ... and has participated numerous times, sharing stories of "the good ol' days". Here he talks about this exciting and innovative era in music, circa 1967 ... 

Hi Kent,
As the drummer that played on all the recorded hits by The Electric Prunes, I can only speak for myself, but I believe the others in the band would probably agree with what I say.
First, we never considered ourselves anything but just a band trying to be as creative as possible. We weren't necessarily thinking in terms of making "hits." We also were not consciously aware of making history in any way, musically or otherwise. But we ended up doing both, I guess.
I remember playing cover songs by other bands in our early shows, simply because we didn't have enough recognizable originals of our own to fill up the whole concert.
For example, we played various songs by The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, and some old blues standards by various artists. Sorry I can't recall exactly which songs now. I do remember one of my favorite covers was, "I'm Not Talking" by The Yardbirds. It seems that the British groups were our biggest influences, since we were still in the midst of the so-called, "British Invasion."
Our first two hit singles, "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" and "Get Me To The World On Time." were also on our first album. The entire album and those two songs were recorded in late summer and the fall of 1966. They were released before Christmas of 1966 and climbed up the Billboard charts very slowly. The first hit, "Too Much To Dream" peaked in February of '67. The song, "Get Me To The World ... " peaked in April of '67.
Our first official tour to back up the first single, was in Spokane and Seattle, Washington. I remember B.J. Thomas and The Turtles were on the bill at those shows.
Then, we took a very long, and arduous tour as part of The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds Tour." It was something like 45 cities in 30 days. Brutal! We not only played every venue that the Beach Boys did, but our manager put in numerous live shows, radio interviews and TV shows in between all the cities we did with The Beach Boys. It was a blur. I remember also, that on most of those shows, we also had The Buffalo Springfield, The Turtles and The Left Banke and Keith with us. At least on the big shows with The Beach Boys. In some of the concerts, we also saw ? and The Mysterians, The Casinos, The Cyrkle, The Buckinghams, The Royal Guardsmen and some others on various show line ups. We did TV shows with Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Fifth Dimension and others.
Then we did some concerts in the L.A. venues, like The Hullabaloo and other famous Hollywood clubs. When we weren't on the road, we were in the studio, recording our second album. We never had any time off. Eventually, tensions and disagreements between various band members, the band vs. our producer, Dave Hassinger and our manager, etc., started to disrupt the band's ability to create and enjoy the whirlwind experiences we were involved in. In other words, it stopped being fun. That's when things started to disintegrate and finally ended up with me leaving the band before the second album was completed. I was the drummer on 9 of the 12 songs on that album, but my replacement had his photo and name on the album cover.
Among the trivia most don't know is that the Prunes were the first band to use and record with the famous VOX wah-wah pedal. We did the first radio commercial, which many know is now a collector's item and on some CDs as well as Youtube. L.A. DJ, Sam Riddle was the announcer on that. He was part of KHJ "Boss Radio" 93 line up of disc jockeys. He later became the executive producer of Star Search. Back in the 60s he also had two popular teen TV shows in L.A. We appeared on both regularly. One was called, "9th St. West" and the other was "Boss City." Sam also hosted a national TV show called, "Hollywood A Go Go." VOX also gave us their new "Organ-guitar" which we used on "I Happen To Love You." That song, incidentally, was the first song in history to have the wah-wah used on it. The Beatles were also given an "Organ-guitar," but they didn't use it on any of their recordings, that I'm aware of. The one given to us can be seen in the VOX photo ad of the band standing around a VOX "Super Beatle" amp.
Because our producer, Dave Hassinger was also the recording engineer for several of the Stones' first albums, including, "Aftermath," we met them and were in the studio at RCA when they were recording. They gave us several Gibson guitars, a bass amp used to record "Have You Seen Your Mother ... Standing in the Shadows," and the Gibson Maestro fuzz box they used to record "Satisfaction." We used that exact same fuzz box while recording "Too Much To Dream."
I'm not sure how The Electric Prunes stand in the public's eye all these years later. The Internet seems to have brought the band's existence and music back to life to some extent. I'm always amazed, but pleased when the band receives any recognition today. I guess we were a bigger part of music history than we ever imagined back when we were together in 1966-67. For the record, the original line up of Electric Prunes on the hit recordings is: James Lowe (Vocals and Percussion), Mark Tulin (Bass, Keyboards), Ken Williams (Lead guitar and effects), James "Weasel" Spagnola (Rhythm guitar and Vocals), and me, Preston Ritter (Drums, Marimba and Percussion).
James "Weasel" Spagnola and Mark Tulin are now deceased. I am a kidney transplant patient and I caught pneumonia and the swine flu in January of 2011. I was in a coma for nine days, my kidney stopped working and I was on a ventilator. Hospitalized for two months in intensive care. But I survived! I had to learn how to walk again, with six months of rehab. Mark died while I was in the hospital, in February, 2011. He was 62. I'm back to playing drums again, as good as ever.
Recently James Lowe had heart bypass surgery. I think it was quadruple. He seems to be recovering well. Don't know what's happening with Ken, since I haven't seen him or communicated since 1967. Mark told me before he passed away that Ken wasn't in too good of health, but I don't know the particulars.
I hope your readers find some of this informative and interesting.
Preston Ritter
For more of The Electric Prunes' story, be sure to check out our other Forgotten Hits Website:

Here's a GREAT clip of The Electric Prunes on The Mike Douglas Show ... after performing their #11 Hit "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night", Drummer Preston Ritter (who had a best-selling book on drumming out at the time) gave "Get Smart" Actress Barbara Feldon (Agent 99 ... and purring television commercial sex kitten) a brief drum lesson! They then rolled into their follow up hit, "Get Me To The World On Time" (#27, 1967) with Barbara on drums!!! It's a classic clip of what Daytime TV was like in the psychedelic '60's! (kk)

Here's one just for fun ... tigers!!!  (kk)

#13 - LOVE
Talk about your bands with a cult following ... Love hit The Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart three times. Their biggest hit was "7 And 7 Is", which climbed to #33 in 1966. 

(Incredibly, their first chart hit was a version of "My Little Red Book", a song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach that was used in the film "What's New Pussycat", performed by Manfred Mann!) Their legendary guitarist, Arthur Lee, passed away a few years ago. (kk)  

Another Los Angeles-based group, Love was at one time among the kings of the almighty Sunset Strip. Every group of the era that played the Strip — including the Byrds, Turtles, Buffalo Springfield and the Doors — looked up to Arthur Lee’s combo. Their biggest hit, a cover of Burt Bacharach’s ‘My Little Red Book’, only hinted at what was to come. Their first album, Love, is in my opinion in the running with Rubber Soul as the greatest album ever recorded, while Da Capo and (especially) Forever Changes get the nod from just about every rock critic that knows his / her salt.
Mike Dugo /

Chicagoland DeeJay Bob Stroud (Rock And Roll Roots) once told me that he believed Love was one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated rock acts of all time. They certainly were an acquired taste. Much as I've tried to find an appreciation for their music, they've just never clicked with me. However, from what I've heard, Love was a "band's band" ... other artists like The Doors looked up to Love as role models of what they themselves might aspire to ... and would catch their live appearances whenever they could.

Here's Love doing their Bacharach-tune ... on American Bandstand no less! (kk)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Garage Bands: 17, 16, 15

The Countdown Continues ... Today in Forgotten Hits!

One of my favorite groups from the mid-'60's, The Five Americans could seem to do no wrong for a while there, scoring five straight hits in 1966 and 1967. 
"I See The Light" (#26, 1966), "Evol - Not Love" (#51, 1966); "Western Union" (their biggest ... and #5 hit in 1967); "Sound Of Love" (#24, 1967) and "Zip Code" (#36, 1967) kept these guys (yet ANOTHER garage band from Texas) on the charts and on our radios. Any one of these tunes would sound GREAT coming out of our radios again in 2012, too ... maybe this special countdown will inspire a couple of jocks on the list to step outside the box and play a couple of these for a change.  (Your audience will love ya for it!!!)
In fact, we're featuring two of them ourselves ... first, my personal favorite "Evol - Not Love" which, while failing to make The National Top 40, was a #7 Hit here in Chicago ... and then the crowd-pleaser "Western Union". (Tell me THAT one wouldn't get your audience going if you gave it a spin!!!) kk


It's kind of funny watching our pop heroes being introduced by some of the biggest names in show business ... many from the previous generation of viewers, like Jack Benny and Steve Allen ... but that's the way it was done back then. These guys were VERY savvy entertainers ... and they knew they had to offer something up for the kids to enjoy in order to build their audience and maintain credible ratings. Thanks to YouTube, we get to see some of these vintage performances again. (kk)

‘Western Union’ and the follow-up ‘Zip Code’, the Five Americans’ greatest hits, are much more pop than garage but don’t in any way diminish their standing with garage rock fans and collectors. One listen to ‘I See The Light’ clearly demonstrates why. The Durant, Oklahoma, group recorded several excellent songs, including ‘Evol Not Love’ and ‘Good Times’.
Mike Dugo /  

Talk about bridging the generation gap ... in 1967, The Five Americans paid tribute to an older form of mail communication (with "Western Union") as well as the latest in postal technology, "Zip Code"!!!

There seems to be a discrepancy as to where these guys hailed from. (I'm showing Texas, which is also what Steve Allen says in the video above, but Mike Dugo says Oklahoma.)  So I dug a little bit deeper ... and the band's official website (run by lead singer Mike Rabon)  explains:

The Five Americans first met in Durant, Oklahoma, at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1962. Under the leadership of Mike Rabon, they formed a group called the Mutineers. They played local beer joints and various frat dances until the summer of 1964. Mike suggested that they go to Dallas and try and make enough money to pay for tuition for the following fall semester. They achieved some local notoriety in a dive called the Pirate's Nook. There they were "discovered" by a local label called Abnak Records. John Abdnor, president of the label, took them under his wing and provided them the resources to write and practice original songs. In only five short years, The Five Americans were the first to achieve what no other group in Texas had done -- sell millions of singles and albums.
Click here: The Five Americans

We heard back from Mike after we told him about their ranking in our Top 20 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands Countdown ...

Hi Kent,
Thanks for getting in touch. As founder of The Five Americans, I would like to say thank you to all those great fans out there who voted us into your top twenty and a big thanks to for continuing to carry the flame for those of us who tried so hard to please so many all those years ago. Here's a picture of The Five Americans on American Bandstand.
All the best,
Mike Rabon
The Five Americans

What I DIDN'T know is that Mike was also part of the group Gladstone, whose hit "A Piece Of Paper" we have featured previously in Forgotten Hits ... a GREAT track that I'm sure stirred a little bit of controversy back in the early '70's.
Mike also has a new book out recounting his whole experience with The Five Americans ... it's available here:
Click here: High Strung (9781608300471): Mike Rabon: Books    (kk)

Now THESE guys are from Texas for sure!!! 
"Wooly Bully", their first chart hit, was a monster ... although it never officially hit #1 in Billboard, the magazine declared it the biggest song of 1965, ranking it ahead of rock and roll classics like "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones, "Help!" and "Ticket To Ride" by The Beatles ... and pop royalty like "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by The Righteous Brothers and "Downtown" by Petula Clark ... Motown gems like "I Can't Help Myself" by The Four Tops and "My Girl" by The Temptations ... ALL of which were #1 Records, as were "Help Me Rhonda" by The Beach Boys, "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher, "Mr. Tambourine Man" by The Byrds, "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis and the Playboys and "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits.
Sam The Sham (real name Domingo Samudio) would hit the top spot with "Li'l Red Riding Hood" the following year (in Cash Box ... it, too, peaked at #2 in Billboard), and also scored Top 40 Hits with "Ju Ju Hand", "Ring Dang Doo", "The Hair On My Chinny Chin Chin" and "How Do You Catch A Girl".
I suppose some would argue that they, too, were an early example of Tex-Mex Rock ... but you guys felt that they deserved a spot in our countdown and, as such, awarded them 191 of your votes. That was good enough for the #16 Spot in our Top 20 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands Countdown. (kk)  

If they had recorded only ‘Wooly Bully’, Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs would still no doubt place highly in any list documenting the top garage bands of the 1960s. Today they are remembered for a string of songs that all scream “Sam The Sham”—‘Ju Ju Hand’, ‘Ring Dang Do’, ‘Little Red Ridin’ Hood’, ‘The Hair On My Chinny Chin Chin’, ‘I Couldn’t Spell !!@!’ and ‘Oh That’s Good, No That’s Bad’. None are 100% garage rock, but all are solid examples of ‘60s pop-rock at its most enjoyable. Everybody knows the group’s signature tune, and the “Uno, Dos, Tres…” opening immediately plants ‘Wooly Bully’ as among the most instantly recognizable songs ever recorded.
Mike Dugo /  

Some consider "Wooly Bully" to be the #1 Party Rock Song of All-Time. Every new generation to come along has discovered it and fallen in love with it as a feel-good anthem. 

Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs always seemed to have their tongues placed firmly in cheek ... it almost seemed like they were winking at us, saying "Look what I can get away with within the context of rock and roll." It was fun, feel-good music at its finest. (One of my favorites wasn't much of a hit ... "Oh, That's Good ... No, That's Bad"  ... but it cracked me up then and it still cracks me up now. Although not a "garage band" tune, it brings back a happy teenage memory when I listen to it.)
But this countdown is all about the hits ... so today we're featuring two of their biggest ... "Wooly Bully" and "Li'l Red Riding Hood" ... which, in this performance, they then run right into their "oh-so-obvious" follow-up hit, "The Hair On My Chinny Chin Chin" ... remember when music was this much fun? (kk)

Here's yet another group that I wouldn't necessarily have considered to be of the "garage band variety" ... but you guys clearly felt otherwise, voting Chicago's Buckinghams into the #15 spot in our countdown.
While I suppose they started out that way ... I mean, who didn't?!?! ... The Bucks developed a very sophisticated sound in the '60's, crafting pop classics like "Kind Of A Drag", "Don't You Care" and "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song" that still sound every bit as fresh today. 
They also showed their R&B roots with a very soulful, Top Five reading of "Mercy Mercy Mercy" as well as dabbled with the new psychedelic musical art form by way of "Susan".
Their early influences were both The British Invasion as well as Chicago blues and R&B (which is why they cut both The Beatles' "I Call Your Name" and James Brown's "I'll Go Crazy" on their first LP! In fact, they even recorded their first LP at the legendary Chess Studios here in Chicago!)
I don't know about you, but I didn't see too many horns in the garages I was hanging out in in the mid-'60's, but The Buckinghams developed a sound that was the precursor to artists like Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears. 
Today, Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna keep the music of The Buckinghams alive with concerts all year long. (For the past several years, they've been part of The Happy Together Again Tour, playing to sold-out houses across the country.)
Meanwhile, former lead singer Dennis Tufano is also back on the road again, singing the hits that made him famous and has appeared on several of those PBS Television Tributes to the '60's.
Here in Chicago, before "Kind Of A Drag" reached national acclaim, going all the way to #1 in Billboard Magazine, The Buckinghams charted four times with the aforementioned "I Call Your Name" and "I'll Go Crazy" as well as their rendition of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and "I've Been Wrong." Anything beyond this point just doesn't ring true to me as being part of "The Garage Band Sound" so I'm going to concentrate on this phase of the band's early career. (kk)

The first of a string of Chicago-based groups that hit the big-time by utilizing horns, the Buckinghams were, in 1967, as popular a group as rock history has ever seen. They achieved five Top 20 hits that year alone, and appeared on every TV music show possible — including The Ed Sullivan Show. Not one of those smash songs (‘Kind Of A Drag’, ‘Don’t You Care’, ‘Mercy Mercy Mercy’, ‘Hey Baby [They’re Playing Our Song]’ and ‘Susan’) can today be classified as garage rock, but their early single cover of James Brown’s ‘I’ll Go Crazy’ certainly comes close.
Mike Dugo /

The Buckinghams first rose to local fame when they landed a gig on WGN Television's "All Time Hits" where they performed the current hits of the day as the "house band." Originally signed as The Pulsations, the station felt they needed a more contemporary name. Ultimately it was a WGN security guard who suggested "The Buckinghams", which sounded British enough to qualify as the flavor of the month ... but was still down home enough to tie to Chicago's very own Buckingham Fountain. Ironically, when The Bucks appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour a few years later, the set was designed with Union Jack symbols, implying again that the group was British! (Talk about not doing your homework!!!) No matter ... The Buckinghams performed a stellar set and walked away with a humorous anecdote that they still tell some forty years later! (kk)

Here is a vintage clip of The Buckinghams performing on the aforementioned "All Time Hits" television program ... 
OMG, they're barely out of diapers!!! (lol) Check out those pompadours!!!  And look at the company they kept on this program in the way of vocal entertainment! 
(Not their best performance, to be sure ... but man what a piece of Chicagoland history!) kk

Heavy emphasis on The Beatles in that vintage clip ... The Bucks would go on to record a couple of Beatles tunes for real ... "I Call Your Name" appeared on their first USA album ... and a nice version of "I'll Be Back" was included on their 1967 LP, "Time And Charges".
After The Buckinghams split up in the early '70's, Tufano and Giammarese joined forces and did a beautiful reading of The Beatles' "I'm A Loser", which I was fortunate enough to see them perform a few years ago at one of Bob Stroud's Rock And Roll Roots CD Release Parties!  (kk)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Countdown Of Your Top 20 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands Begins Today!!!

Have we stalled long enough now to whet your appetite for the real thing??? (Jeez, I feel like Ryan Seacrest on the American Idol Results Show!!!)

Just playin' ...

'Cause now the REAL Countdown begins!!!

Know a Garage Band Fan who hasn't tuned in yet???  Now is the time to let them know ...


With 175 of your votes, The Trashmen kick off The Top 20. They were late-bloomers in this poll ... but once somebody said, "Hey, what about 'Surfin' Bird' and 'Bird Dance Beat' by The Trashmen?", our readers immediately responded in kind. 
"Surfin' Bird" was the #4 Record in the country when Beatlemania hit by way of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" ... and (despite all things British going on at the time), it has remained a timeless classic ever since. 
(Ironically, The Trashmen's two biggest hits were inspired by the Surf Group The Rivingtons, who didn't earn a single vote!!! Even more incredibly, The Rivingtons started out as an R&B Group called The Sharps!)
The Trashmen fall into the Garage Band / Grunge-Rock / Punk Rock / Surf Rock / Novelty Rock category, all of which helped to propel them to the #20 Spot on our countdown. (And Peter Griffin from "Family Guy" probably helped a little, too! lol) kk

"Everybody’s heard about the bird”, right? If you haven’t, you’re missing out on a truly great garage rock anthem by this Minneapolis group. Recorded in 1963, ‘Surfin’ Bird’ is a somewhat rare example of a garage rock song pre-Beatles. Yes … it’s a conscious rip on two Rivingtons’ songs, but the Trashmen still manage to stamp it as their own. Peter Griffin and Family Guy have recently introduced the song to a whole new generation, assuring that the Trashmen will most likely land on similar lists to this one 20 years down the line.
Mike Dugo /

The Blues Magoos had a Top Five Smash with "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" in 1967. Another group who kind of crosses over to the psychedelic rock category, you liked these guys enough to bestow 187 of your votes declaring them amongst your favorites in the "garage band" category, too. (kk)

Although they had recorded and released a folk-rock single as the Bloos Magoos, it wasn’t until the psychedelic sounding and looking Bronx-based Blues Magoos released ‘We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet’ that they dented the charts (Top 5 in U.S.). Their follow-up songs ‘There’s A Chance We Can Make It’ and ‘Pipe Dream” were much less successful, but how many other groups could get away with wearing electric suits on stage and promoting the “Psyche-de-Lite”, an early version of the lava lamp? For anybody wanting a definition of “psychedelic”, check out the band’s jaw-dropping performance of ‘Tobacco Road’ on The Kraft Music Hall!
Mike Dugo /

The Blues Magoos' rendition of "Tobacco Road" was a killer classic ... I remember my brother playing this one all the time around the house when we were growing up. 
This song ALWAYS sounds good, no matter who does it. (Check out Chicago's Ides Of March in concert sometime ... it's an absolute show-stopper. By the way, The Ides Of March, best known for their #1 Hit "Vehicle", just missed our countdown with 96 votes, most likely a result of their first single release, the garage band classic "You Wouldn't Listen".)
And this television clip of The Blues Magoos featuring Jack Benny is to die for!!!  (kk)

Ironically, The Sir Douglas Quintet have made our pages quite a few times recently. In fact, we featured their two best known hits, "She's About A Mover" and "Mendocino" (#13 and #14 respectively) within the past month. Meanwhile, we also had a request for "The Rains Came", their other Top 40 Hit, so that's the one we're spotlighting today ... along with a great clip of the band performing "She's About A Mover" on "Hullabaloo", apparently hosted by Trini Lopez that week! (Watch the clip to the end and you'll see that Herman's Hermits were ALSO guests on that same episode!)  kk

While I guess I've always considered the band to be one of the earliest examples of Tex-Mex Rock, you guys awarded 188 votes as your garage band favorites ... and that was good enough to place them at #18 in this very special countdown. (kk)

Doug Sahm’s ‘60’s group, the Sir Douglas Quintet hailed from San Antonio. The first 1965 single, ‘She’s About A Mover’ is today classified as Tex-Mex but still falls nicely into the “garage rock” label. The Quintet’s first album also contained other garage rock-worthy songs, buy they’re probably best known for ‘Mendocino’, a pop song that graced the charts in 1968.
Mike Dugo /

We also found The Sir Douglas Quintet included on a couple of different "Nuggets" compilations ... so we're giving them a stranglehold on position #18 in our very special Top 20 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands Countdown.  (kk)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Your All-Time Favorite Garage Bands: The Runners Up - Part Three


Their one hit wonder "Talk Talk" is a garage band classic. It reached #15 in early 1967 (and was recently requested by one of our readers as a "Today's Forgotten Hit" suggestion.) Hailing from Los Angeles, their bassist Keith Olsen became an in-demand record producer in the 1980's, working with artists like Ozzy Osbourne, Heart, Santana, Journey, Pat Benatar, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner and The Grateful Dead amongst others. (kk)

The Music Machine’s ‘Talk Talk’ has to be the most powerful garage rock song to ever become a hit. The short but lethal tune introduced the world to Sean Bonniwell’s one glove wearing, black clad combo — and as a result probably scared more than a handful of people. The core members of the Los Angeles group — Ron Edgar, Keith Olsen, Mark Landon and Doug Rhodes — all ended up contributing mightily to rock and roll history. I won’t go into details here; look them up — you’ll be glad you did.
Mike Dugo /

Count Five is another artist that made our Top 20 All-Time Favorite Psychedelic Songs Countdown, thanks to their 1966 Top Five Hit "Psychotic Reaction." 
You can find a more in-depth bio on our other Forgotten Hits webpage:
Scroll down to #14 for all the details! (kk)

Although owing a great debt to the Yardbirds, the Count Five’s ‘Psychotic Reaction’ is a prime example of Garage Rock 101. The San Jose group quickly recorded an entire album after their classic song became a smash, but none of their other recordings came anywhere close to again gaining national prominence. With a song like ‘Psychotic Reaction’ as your signature tune, however … who cares? Lester Bangs further immortalized the Count Five in his 1972 book Psychotic Reaction and Carburetor Dung.
Mike Dugo /

Another one hit wonder ... but what a GREAT, catchy tune. ("Little Girl" went all the way to #8 Nationally) 
We used to play this one back in the day ... and it always got a great (if somewhat surprised) reaction. Recently I've seen a couple of other bands do this one, too ... ALWAYS to the delight of their audience.  (See, we remember!!!)  
I guarantee that your radio listeners would react the same way (if somebody would only play it!) Another band from San Jose, they'd chart twice more before they disappeared. (kk)  

Another San Jose group (the third, by my count, to make this list), the Syndicate Of Sound’s ‘Little Girl’ reached the Top 10 in 1966. They did release an album and three follow-up singles, but nothing that attained the heights of ‘Little Girl’. The rest of their recordings should not be overlooked, however. ‘Mary’, ‘Keep It Up’ and ‘Rumors’ are all excellent.
Mike Dugo /

Could there BE a better definition of the grunge / garage band sound than "Wild Thing" by The Troggs??? A #1 Record and a timeless classic, The Troggs were a bit more diverse than this head-banger might indicate ... they also scored Top 40 Hits with the beautiful ballads "With A Girl Like You" and "Love Is All Around You". Although 148 of your votes still wasn't enough to get them into The Top 20, their legacy provided the perfect reason to do a Runners' Up List in the first place! (kk)  

While their other top hits, especially ‘With A Girl Like You’, ‘Anyway That You Want Me’ and ‘Love Is All Around’, might portray them in a different light, the Troggs will forever be immortalized by ‘Wild Thing’, a song they initially were hesitant to record due to its “groovy” lyrics. The Troggs have been cited as inspirations by many later garage rock / punk bands, with ‘I Can’t Control Myself’ and ‘I Want You’ being particularly influential.
Mike Dugo /

Another group who never really had a legitimate pop hit, ("You're Gonna Miss Me" was as close as they came when it peaked at #55 in 1966), they also rank amongst the hard-core garage band fanatics favorites. Thanks to their on-going "nuggets" classification, these guys also earned quite a few votes in our Favorite Psychedelic Song Poll a few years ago ... but not enough to make the list. Here, they just missed ... falling one spot outside The Top 20 with 159 readers selecting them as their favorite. (kk)  

Often thought of as more a psychedelic group than a garage band, The 13th Floor Elevators only had one song that came close to being a hit — the screaming classic ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’. While the Roky Erickson-led, electric-jug based group recorded four albums and released seven singles, it is ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ that they’ll most likely always be remembered for. The Texas group performed the song on both American Bandstand and Where The Action is, influencing countless bands across the country along the way.
Mike Dugo /

The countdown of your Top 20 Favorites kicks off tomorrow

... EXCLUSIVELY in Forgotten HIts!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Your All-Time Favorite Garage Bands - The Runners Up, Part Two

The list continues today with five more "Runners Up"!

The first of FOUR Chicagoland Groups to make the list is The Cryan' Shames. While I'm not convinced that they were a "garage band" in the typical sense, their first chart hit "Sugar And Spice" has since been designated a "nugget", appearing on several various artists compilations over the years and becoming (for most music fans outside Chicago anyway) their best-known hit. A remake of The Searchers' tune, it ultimately hit #39 on The Record World Pop Singles Chart, their only National Top 40 showing. "I Wanna Meet You" (one of my faves) and "Mr. Unreliable" probably qualify for garage band status ... but after that, the impeccable harmonies for which the band was best known for here locally shone through on gems like the Beach Boys-esque "It Could Be We're In Love" (#1 in Chicago for four weeks in 1967) and their rendition of the Carole King classic "Up On The Roof". (Legend has it that King had The Cryan' Shames' version played at her second wedding!) 
"Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles David Smith and Jones" was the monster, hard-rock hit that shoulda been (but never was) and then they were gone ... from the charts anyway. Led by J.C. Hooke, the band still plays local gigs each summer, sometimes with as many as two or three original members onboard. (kk)  

Perhaps I’m going out on a limb when I unashamedly state that the Cryan’ Shames recorded the greatest song ever not to become a #1 smash. ‘It Could Be We’re In Love’ was far from a garage rock song, but ‘60’s pop doesn’t get any better. The group deserved far greater success than their excellent cover of ‘Sugar and Spice’ (and, to a lesser degree, Jim Fairs’ original ‘I Wanna Meet You’) afforded them. Chicago’s Shames could do it all, however, and ‘Ben Franklin’s Almanac’ is a fantastic representation of what garage rock is all about.
Mike Dugo /

"The Kings Of 'Bubbling Under'", Wisconsin's The Robbs "just missed" The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart five times ... adding insult to injury were additional failures (but HUGE fan favorites) like "Bittersweet" (a regional hit in several sections of the country ... but never enough at the same time to sustain a chart entry), "Cynthia Loves" and (as Cherokee, which was also the name of the studio they would found in the early '70's) "Girl, I've Got News For You." Best known here in Chicago was "Race With The Wind", a legitimate Top 20 Local Hit and "Rapid Transit", which climbed as high as #123 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Chart. We've devoted many pages to The Robbs over the years in Forgotten Hits, who were also taken under the wing of Dick Clark, who cast them as semi-regulars on the afternoon teenie-bopper classic "Where The Action Is". Although their faces were plastered on numerous teen magazines of the day, they STILL didn't catch on to enough of a mass audience to gain them a hit record. But OUR readers know who they are ... and cast 116 votes for The Robbs as one of their All-Time Favorite Garage Bands! (kk)  

If it wasn’t for their regular appearances on Where The Action Is and in the teen magazines of the day, Wisconsin’s Robbs would be probably completely forgotten today. After all, I have never heard a Robbs’ song on the radio, and I’ve been listening for over 35 years. What a shame. ‘Race With The Wind’, ‘Rapid Transit’ and ‘Bittersweet’ gained some chart recognition but deserved to be massive hits. Yes … they later recorded as Cherokee in the 1970s and opened Cherokee Studios in Los Angles, where many top acts recorded, but they accomplished enough as the Robbs to also be remembered for their ‘60s music.
Mike Dugo /

I don't know that I would have necessarily considered these guys in the Garage Band category ... surf rock maybe? Biker Rock? "Cycle-delic Rock"??? But they earned enough of your votes (117 as a matter of fact!) to land in one of the Runners' Up Positions. 
Their biggest chart hit was "Blues' Theme" from the movie "The Wild Angels", a #27 National Hit (and #3 hit here in Chicago.)
Davie has been an active supporter and participant in Forgotten Hits for many years now ... in fact, we've even given away a number of free, autographed CDs to some of our readers, as he's still recording new music all the time! (kk)  

Probably better known for recording surf and “biker music” (for countless ‘60s exploitation flicks), Davie Allan & The Arrows are another of the handful of groups we’re profiling in this special countdown.  The band had four national hits (and a few regional hits here and there.)  ‘Apache ‘65’ achieved some local (California) success and resulted in a national TV appearance on Shindig!. Although many different musicians comprised The Arrows throughout the years, Drew Bennett and Russ Viot were mainstays, and made TV appearances with Allan on both Get Smart and The Invaders.
Mike Dugo / 

Even though I had a few singles (the one hit was "Apache '65"), the major success of "The Arrows" came with the soundtrack work. There was only one official "Arrow" (besides me) early on and that was drummer Larry Brown. We did a short film titled "Skaterdater" with union musicians (Larry Knechtel, Joe Osborne, Al Casey and Jim Horn) that got the ball rolling for doing the soundtracks. The way the story goes is that Roger Corman saw "Skaterdater" and said something like" that's the sound I want for "The Wild Angels". I added the great Drew Bennett on bass plus Russ Viot on rhythm guitar replaced by Wayne Allwine (who became the 3rd official voice of "Mickey Mouse" in 1977). We did various trips and only one tour across the country (partly because we were recording almost everyday for about five years). Other notable soundtracks (of the two dozen or so) includes "Devil's Angels", "The Glory Stompers", "Born Losers" (that one introduced the character "Billy Jack").
Being called a "garage band" was ok. Later on my music was called "biker rock" and I've called it "melodic grunge" since the 90's. I still appear once in a while and since 2009 I've been recording my "Retrophonic" series. Volume 4 is due early in 2013 with new versions of "The Glory Stompers", "Ghost Riders in the Sky", "War Path" (it marks the first time I've re-recorded my first single) plus many new originals and cover tunes such as "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "Cara Mia".
-- Davie Allan

#27 - THE McCOYS:
The big hit, of course, was "Hang On Sloopy", a #1 Record in 1965 ... but The McCoys also did a great "garage band" cover of the old Peggy Lee torch song "Fever". (In fact, they made The Top 40 again with their remake of the Ritchie Valens song "Come On, Let's Go", too!) 
Guitarist Rick Derringer (then still Zehringer) went on to solo fame with "Rock And Roll Hoochie-Coo" and as part of The Edgar Winter Group. He has also recently toured with Ringo Starr. Another Midwest success story. (kk)  

Probably best known for being Rick Derringer’s teen band, the McCoys had a monster smash with ‘Hang On Sloopy’. The group was one of the few from Indiana that managed any type of chart success in the ‘60s. Although you would never know it if you believe their “one-hit wonder” classification, the McCoys released four albums, a dozen singles and recorded eight other songs that landed in the Top 100.
Mike Dugo /

Although they never had a hit record, The Chocolate Watchband are one of the "cult favorites" on our list, a quintessential garage band probably made more nationally famous some 40 years later thanks to all of the "nuggets" compilations that have included some of their releases. While I personally am not especially familiar with their work, their complete history (written in their own words!) appears on their website: Click here: The Chocolate Watchband - the official band website - History (kk)  

A “no-hit wonder” group? If any combo qualifies, it’s certainly San Jose’s Chocolate Watchband. While the band featured multiple line-ups and personnel on their recording sessions, their garage rock music catalog is as impressive as it gets. They are probably best remembered for their cover of The Grodes’ / Tongue Of Truths’ ‘Let’s Talk About Girls’, but their own songs — including ‘Misty Lane’, ‘She Weaves A Tender Trap’, ‘Sweet Young Thing’ and ‘Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)’ — are every bit as amazing. They also appeared in two classic exploitation flicks: The Love-Ins and Riot On Sunset Strip.
Mike Dugo /

The countdown continues tomorrow in Forgotten Hits!