Some bands seem destined to live forever, their music discovered and praised by every new generation. Other bands, if lucky, get a brief spell out in the sun. These are some of the bands that could have been reduced to 1960’s nostalgia, had it not been for the public support of some well known alt rockers.
5. The Sonics
A band well ahead of their time, using fuzzed out guitar tones and wild rhythms. It’s not a direction that would have been much out of place for the punk bands of the late 1970’s. But their legacy could have been forgotten had it not been for the help of some fellow bands from the state of Washington.
Bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Mudhoney professed their love for the Sonics, leading to renewed interest in the garage rock band. It also lead critics to reconsider the importance of the group with some even going so far as to call them America’s great rock band.
4. The Carpenters
Once labeled a guilty pleasure, the Carpenters have enjoyed constant appeal, especially for each generation of rockers. Yes, the gesture may have seemed ironic at first, like singing a sappy song in jest. But as time went on and bands quoted the Carpenters making their legacy stand for revelation, it became clear that the rockers name checking the Carpenters weren’t joking in the first place.
Sonic Youth’s cover of Superstar is destined for movie immortality through the use in Juno. Kurt Cobain called A Kind Of Hush one of his favorite albums. Frankly, I would not be surprised if Marilyn Manson chose to cover of Close to you in the foreseeable future. Few would.
3. The Troggs
It’s unclear how serious the Troggs took themselves, but it’s safe to say that the English band was never out to take over the world. Their string of mid 60’s bands felt more like a bonus, rather than the start of world domination.
The Beatles, the Kinks and the Stones may be the more famous bands, but the Troggs belong to their own select club of fans. Like the Sonics, the Troggs were tremendously influential on punk rock, with the Ramones and Iggy Pop citing them as influences. REM also covered Love is all around in a now legendary unplugged session. The legacy of The Troggs is set to endure for future decades.
2. The Zombies
As opposed to the Troggs, the Zombies always seemed destined for the big time. Their arrangements and songwriting felt on par with the best of their contemporaries. Their albums suggested lofty ambitions. You will always find some 60’s fan ready to swear the superiority of the Zombies over the Beatles and Beach Boys.
While the band never achieved the success many felt they were owed, the future was to treat them well. The album Odessey and Oracle, in particular, is viewed as something of a classic on par with Sgt. Pepper’s.
There aren’t many covers of the Zombies, partly because of the difficulty in covering their ambitious arrangements. There is, however, a sense of reverence when speaking about the band. The albums made by the Zombies are regularly part of best of lists in magazines and websites. And you can detect their influence on anything from Sufjan Stevens, Father John Misty, or the Fleet Foxes.
1. Gram Parsons
He was a country rock legend, the equivalent of James Dean singing classic Americana songs, as far as alternative rockers were concerned. Gram Parsons achieved some success with the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and solo. But it is the influence he would have on future generations that is truly remarkable.
Parsons is sole biggest point of reference for the alternative country boom of the 1990’s. Bands like Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown seemed to bathe in the man’s light and influence. Ryan Adams and Evan Dando covered his songs. Parsons’ appeal shows no sign of waning.
The 1960’s are always due for rediscovery. Alternative rock bands have been particularly willing to try and uncover some lost gems from one of music’s greatest decades. They helped maintain the fame of these 60s bands for new generations to come and newer bands look to do the same.