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22 Garage Bands That Became Rock Stars

metal garage

“A Starting Point for Future Rock Stars!”

Today’s rock stars have money, fame and influence. However, some of the most popular rock stars started out small. I thought I’d use this week’s blog to highlight some notable bands that started out by playing in their own garages or basements.

22 Garage Bands that Became Rock Stars!

  1. The Kingsmen-In 1959, five Portland teenagers got together to form the band that would eventually become The Kingsmen. This former garage band is best known for its 1963 version of “Louie, Louie.”
  2. The Ramones-All of the members of The Ramones changed their last names to Ramone though they were not related. This group is considered to be the first punk rock band. “I Wanna Be Sedated,” (1977) is one of the band’s most popular songs.
  3. Nirvana-Formed in 1987 by Kurt Cobain, this band experienced initial success on college radio stations. The unconventional style of their music eventually garnered national attention with the band’s appearance on the MTV Music Awards in 1992. It’s one of the most notable grunge/garage bands of the 90s. Unfortunately, the cost of the band’s rock ‘n roll lifestyle came at a very high price.
  4. The Kinks-In 1964, this band was formed by Ray and Dave Davies in North London. Country music, folk and R&B were all influences for this band famous for the hit “You Really Got Me.”
  5. The Strangeloves-Three members of this band from the 1960s were songwriters. The Strangeloves sang the hit, “I Want Candy.”
  6. Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs-This band is best known for its 1965 hit, “Wooly Bully.” The leader of the group wore a trademark turban while the other members wore pharaoh costumes.
  7. Tommy James and the Shondells-Tommy, the lead singer, started the band in 1959 when he was just twelve years old. A few of their popular songs include, “Hanky-Panky”, “Mony-Mony” and “Crimson and Clover.”
  8. The Outsiders-This Cleveland, Ohio band played in bars until it independently recorded the song, “Time Won’t Let Me.” This song sold over a million copies in 1966.
  9. Paul Revere and the Raiders-Paul Revere, the originator of this band, met fellow band member, Mark Lindsay, in a bakery where he was purchasing hamburger buns. Some of their well-known songs include, “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” and “Hungry.”
  10. The Castaways-This band originated in the Twin Cities. It had a 1965 hit song entitled, “Liar, Liar” that was featured in the 1967 beach movie, It’s a Bikini World.
  11. The Rising Storm-A garage band started in the mid-1960s that played its own music instead of playing covers of other musician’s songs. The popularity of this unique group has grown over the years making copies of their album Calm Before very valuable to collectors.
  12. The Beau Brummels-A garage band out of 1960s San Francisco led by singer Sal Valentino. Their early recordings were produced by Sly Stone. Some of their songs include, “Just a Little” and “Laugh, Laugh.”
  13. The Riptides-The original name of this 1977 garage band was The Grudge. This group was formed by students studying architecture at the University of Queensland (Australia). “Tomorrow’s Tears” and “Some Other Guy” are two of their more famous songs.
  14. The Rivieras-A group of teenagers in South Bend, Indiana got together in the 1960s to form this band. The band’s hit song, “California Sun” is sometimes referred to as “frat rock” because it was played at college fraternity parties.
  15. The Runaways-A 1970s garage band with all women musicians. They are best known for the 1976 song, “Cherry Bomb.” Famous women rockers who emerged from this group include Joan Jett and guitarist, Lita Ford.
  16. The Five Americans-This group from Oklahoma led by Mike Rabon, was originally called, “The Mutineers.” They played college parties and bars during the early 1960s until their original song, “I See the Light” landed in Billboard Magazine in 1965.
  17. The Vagrants-A 1960s garage band out of Queens inspired by the music of the Beatles. They gained a following with teenagers by playing popular clubs in New York. One of their songs is entitled, “Oh Those Eyes.”
  18. The Blues Magoos-A 1960s Bronx garage band that played psychedelic music. “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin Yet” is one of the groups most recognized songs.
  19. Terry Knight and the Pack-Terry Knight, who formed this Flint, Michigan band in 1965, was once a DJ. Some of the songs they became famous for include, “I Who Have Nothing” and “Mister, You’re a Better Man Than I.”
  20. The Paupers-A band out of Canada known for its psychedelic music. This 1960s band was managed by Albert Grossman who also managed Bob Dylan. “Magic People” and “It’s Your Mind” are some of the band’s songs.
  21. Creedence Clearwater Revival-John and Tom Fogerty along with Doug Clifford started this band in 1959 under the name “The Blue Velvets.” They were later called the Golliwogs before becoming the well-known Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Don’t Tell Me No Lies” and “You Came Walking” were two songs written in 1964 by the Fogertys for The Golliwogs.
  22. Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers-A garage band from Newport, Oregon that offered fans catchy lyrics and a memorable sound. They were particularly popular in the Pacific Northwest with songs including “Take a Look at Me” and “I Told You Once Before.”

Alan Bernau Jr

Alan Bernau Jr. is the founder and owner of Alan’s Factory Outlet. He has helped more than 50,000 homeowners design and install custom carports and garages over the last 20 years.

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