Garage rock is a uniquely American form of music largely inspired by the British Invasion, although the genre was well established prior to the Beatles with roots in Rockabilly, Surf Rock and Buddy Holly.
The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and Velvet Underground all essentially began by playing garage rock, known for its three-chord simplicity and raw emotion devoid of influence from the corporate music industry.
Pigpen was the only garage rocker in the Dead, and “Sweet Jane” is garage rock.
The genre kicked off with “Louie, Louie,” soon followed by “Hey, Joe,” and “Gloria.”
Spanning fifty years of garage rock history, my list of favorites includes songs from Europe as well as South America. Even though I wrote the first book on hip hop, garage rock has always remained my true love, musically-speaking.
The first band I joined was The Knight Riders, formed in Urbana, Illinois, in 1966, while we were all in junior high. My next band, The Soul Assassins, formed in New York City twenty years later. Two compatriots from Urbana were founding members along with me, although we lost one early on. The drummer, of course. If you like r-r-r-real rock and roll, here is my cream of the crop.
Psycho by The Sonics
Help You Ann by The Lyres
I’m Cracking Up by The Maharajas
You’re Gonna Miss Me by 13th Floor Elevators
El Humo Tace Mal by Los Peyotes
Open Up Your Door by Richard and the Young Lions
Shadow Line by The Fleshtones
I’ll Come Again by The Ugly Beats
Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In?) by The Chocolate Watchband
Out of Our Tree by The Wailers
Sweet Jane by The Velvet Underground
Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Evil by The Flairz
Rari by The Standells
96 Tears by ? and the Mysterians
Cheated and Lied by The Vipers
Piangi Con Me by The Rokes
Keep On Dancing by The Gentrys
It’s Love Come What May by Bobby Fuller