In the 1960s, the garage rock band phenomena began.  The name came from bands becoming famous who had gotten their start rehearsing in a family garage.  Most of these bands had a more aggressive and unsophisticated sound than was found in the commercial pop music, and many of the songs revolved around the traumas of young people (especially high school).

While the list of garage rock bands is long, here’s just a brief look at some of the most famous. Each has become a part of the industry’s cannon of great music.

The Kingsmen: originally created in a Portland garage by 5 teenagers, they became most famous for their 1963 recording of “Louie Louie.” The original single reached number 2 on the Billboard Chart and sold over 1 million copies.

Paul Revere & the Raiders: originally from Boise, Idaho, this band saw a lot of success in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Some of their biggest hits include “Hungry” and “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone.”

The Strangeloves: was originally a fictional group made up of New York songwriters who pretended to be a band from Australia – and would hire musicians to record their work.  When their single “I Want Candy” became popular, the group had to rethink their strategy, with the band eventually taken over by a trio of real musicians.

Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs: known for their creative costuming (which included camp robes and turbans), the Pharaohs became most famous in the mid-1960s for hits such as “Wooly Bully” and “Li’l Red Riding Hood.”

The Runaways: was one of the few all female garage bands.  The group had moderate success, including their single “Cherry Bomb” (which gave them huge international popularity).  However, they remain the most famous for having launched the career of Joan Jett.

Nirvana: part of a later wave of garage bands, this 1987 band formed by Kurt Cobain originally gained popularity on college rock stations.  However, the attention given them lead to an invitation to perform at the 1992 MTV awards, which thrust them into the international spotlight.

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