For this week's Friday Feature we're going back in time to discover what girls did in their garages in the 1960s. This was the era of original garage rock and is often considered to be 'protopunk' due to its raw, DIY rock nature.
As the name suggests, 1960s garage rock was not elitist, all you needed was a garage, a guitar and Bob's your uncle. Teenagers and young adults from all walks of life formed garage rock bands. This is most apparent in garage girl groups where the quality to performances ranged from raw, distorted crooning to super polished close pop harmonies. Garage girl groups took musical influences from everywhere including rock, jazz, doo-wop, early R&B, pop and Beatlemania. Song topics were mostly about teen traumas. Though some songs were superficial, because the groups were all female, many were a source of early feminism with urges of rebellion, individuality and independence. Many songs were about crushes and relationships with bad boys and the girls wanting their own bad sides released. Some songs were warnings of what happens when you give your heart to guy who doesn't respect you. Often with garage girl groups the music is sweet, young and feminine whilst the lyrics express a yearning for the edgy, wild and free.
My favourite lyrics have to come from the spoken bits from 'Give Him a Great Big Kiss' by the Shangri-Las. I usually hate spoken bits in songs but these are so iconic:
When I say I'm in love you best believe I'm in love L-U-V!
Well what color are his eyes?
I don't know he's always wearing shades...
Is he tall?
Well, I've got to look up...
Yeah? Well I hear he's bad!
Mmm, he's good bad, but he's not evil.
Is he a good dancer?
What do ya mean is he a good dancer?
Well how does he dance?
Close, very, very close...
Here are some of my favourites:
Give Him a Great Big Kiss - The Shangri-Las
The Hurtin' Kind - The Bittersweets
Only Seventeen - The Beatle-Ettes (Beattle-Ettes)
Quite a Reputation - The Chymes
Bend Me Shape Me - The Models
Baby I Dig Love - The What Four
Big Bad Wolf - The Sham-Ettes (I LOVE this song!)