In the wake of Beatlemania and the British invasion, American teenagers from coast to coast strapped on guitars, cobbled together drum sets, and set up in the garages provided by the country's newfound suburban sprawl. While acts like the Kinks, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones had sophistication, money, and girls, most garage bands had little more than rollicking, chaotic energy and a rudimentary knowledge of guitar chords. Undaunted, these proto-punks set out to replicate the sneering rebellion of their heroes. Among the more popular acts were ? and the Mysterians, who had a national hit with "96 Tears," and Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, whose "Wooly Bully" also temporarily topped the charts. For every band who broke through, however, thousands more went unheard, except at local recreation centers, dance halls, and high-school gymnasiums. Seattle band the Sonics had a razor-sharp blues-based sound that still drops jaws today, while San Jose's the Count Five brought us the timeless classic "Psychotic Reaction." As the first wave of hippie psychedelia began to spread across the country, many bands traded in their Beatle boots for Jesus sandals, and top groups like Love and the 13th Floor Elevators effectively made the transition. Garage rock lay more or less dormant throughout the '70s, although a few revivalists made it without succumbing to the temptations of heavy metal. But by the late '90s, a full-fledged garage renaissance was underway. Spearheaded by the primitive minimalism of the White Stripes and the overt showmanship of the Hives, garage rock emerged unscathed from the gutter to become a touchstone for 21st century rockers.
Notable Artists: The Count Five, the Strangeloves, the Unknowns