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Garage rock (sometimes called garage punk or '60s punk) is a raw and energetic style of rock and roll that flourished in the mid-1960s, most notably in the United States and Canada, and has experienced a series of subsequent revivals. The style is characterized by basic chord structures played on electric guitars and other instruments, sometimes distorted through a fuzzbox, as well as often unsophisticated and occasionally aggressive lyrics and delivery. Its name derives from the perception that groups were often made up of young amateurs who rehearsed in the family garage, although many were professional.
|Cultural origins||Late 1950s to early 1960s, United States and Canada|
In the US and Canada, surf rock—and later the Beatles and other beat groups of the British Invasion—motivated thousands of young people to form bands between 1963 and 1968. Hundreds of grass-roots acts produced regional hits, some of which gained national popularity, usually played on AM radio stations. With the advent of psychedelia, numerous garage bands incorporated exotic elements into the genre's primitive stylistic framework. After 1968, as more sophisticated forms of rock music came to dominate the marketplace, garage rock records largely disappeared from national and regional charts, and the movement faded. Other countries in the 1960s experienced similar rock movements that have sometimes been characterized as variants of garage rock.
During the 1960s, garage rock was not recognized as a distinct genre and had no specific name, but critical hindsight in the early 1970s—and especially the 1972 compilation album Nuggets—did much to define and memorialize the style. Between 1971 and 1973, certain American rock critics began to retroactively identify the music as a genre and for several years used the term "punk rock" to describe it, making it the first form of music to bear the description, predating the more familiar use of the term appropriated by the later punk rock movement that it influenced. The term "garage rock" gained favor amongst commentators and devotees during the 1980s. The style has also been referred to as "proto-punk" or in certain instances "frat rock".
In the early to mid-1980s, several revival scenes emerged featuring acts that consciously attempted to replicate the look and sound of 1960s garage bands. Later in the decade, a louder, more contemporary garage subgenre developed that combined garage rock with modern punk rock and other influences, sometimes using the garage punk label originally and otherwise associated with 1960s garage bands. In the 2000s, a wave of garage-influenced acts associated with the post-punk revival emerged, and some achieved commercial success. Garage rock continues to appeal to musicians and audiences who prefer a "back to basics" or "do-it-yourself" musical approach.