What rock ‘n roll groups did you grow up with?
Who did you listen to?
What was your era?

No matter what decade you grew up in, that music will stick with you for the rest of your life. While new performers come and go, those oldies you love from your school years are the ones you will cherish…..they are the ones who will ALWAYS put you in a better mood.

Now, for the crux of this article:
While there are top-notch performers and bands found in every decade, it was the 1960s when it exploded…I mean it completely atom-bombed the music industry. More songs made the Billboard Hot 100 from 1965-1966 than any other time in history, thanks to producers and sleazy managers signing up just about any young teenage guy band they could, just to make a quick buck. Sign the group, have a hit, dump ‘em, get the next one and do it over again.

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Many so-called rock historians say the American rock revolution began with the Beatles in 1964…but if you do a little digging, you’ll see it ain’t so. True, the Beatles kicked it into high gear, but the era of rock bands ruling the American airwaves had its rumblings in 1962 when The Beach Boys made the Top 20 with “Surfin’ Safari”…followed by “Surfin’ USA” in 1963. When the Beatles appeared on American TV in February 1964, the Beach Boys were the #1 rock band in the country.

With the Beatles came other British bands invading our pop charts, knocking many solo American teen idols (Bobby Rydell, Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, etc.) off the charts. With the Beatles and Beach Boys leading the way, many new rock bands popped up…”garage bands” they were called. Teenage boys were forming groups, hoping to become the next Beatles. All it took was two guitars, bass guitar, and drums…sometimes a portable organ. These young groups flourished from 1964-1969, with many making the big time.....but thousands more staying in obscurity.

Some had one monster hit and they disappeared.
Some lasted for a few good hits and albums before they broke up.
Some were able to cut their own records, some maybe became locally recognized, but not doing anything on a national level.
But the majority of ‘em became known in their own small towns, playing gigs like high school dances, wedding receptions, barn parties, homecoming celebrations, and appearances in the town square.

These are the guys we celebrate here.

The gallery below shows fifty such Michigan garage bands: some that made it big, others you may recognize, and a handful you’ve never heard of who have drifted into rock obscurity. Take a look…there will be more soon…

Michigan's Rock 'n Roll Garage Bands, 1960s


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