They Were Not So Legen-“Wait For It”-Dary!
No one seems to remember these early bands of Rock N’ Roll legends. What would happen if they continued to play with their early bands? Could they have possibly made it to the top as legends? What got them involved in this such project in the first place? This list would definitely make you ask some questions. Did they really do something like that? I guess, even legends such as themselves had to start somewhere. Find out everything there is to know about the Top 10 BEST Early Bands of Rock n Roll Legends.
10. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s Psychedelic Rock Band Fritz
A teenage Stevie Nicks first made her music when she was still in her senior year with her schoolmate Lindsey Buckingham in 1966. She recalled it during her 1981 interview with The Source.
“I was a senior in high school and Lindsey was a junior, and we went to a Young Life meeting – which was a religious meeting that simply got you out of the house on Wednesday nights – and he was there and I was there and we sat down and played ‘California Dreamin’.’ I thought he was a darling.”
In the same period, Buckingham started performing in a group known as “The Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band,” and later on was shortened just to “Fritz.”
“He called me up and asked if I wanted to be in a band, and so, I was in this band with him for three and a half years – a band called Fritz.”
They’ve played talents shows at their alma mater, Menlo-Atherton High School, including student dances and family parties in a neighboring suburban San Jose. It was then Stevie Nicks joined the band when their lead singer dropped out.
Nick’s country soul, growing up in the Southwest, helped broaden the band’s sound. She started to contribute some originals of her own, including “Funny Kind of Love” and “Where Was I.”
Their group’s reputation continued to grow, and Nicks started to balance out her speech communication courses at San Jose State with some concerts in support of some of the biggest names in Rock N’ Roll which includes Santana, The Steve Miller Band, The Ike and Tina Turner Revue, and Chicago.
9. David Bowie’s Sixties Mod Group the Lower Third
The Lower Third was one of the groups with whom David Bowie recorded with. The band was formed in 1963 in Margate, and they moved to London in early 1965, and shortly afterward, Bowie was still going by his real name as David Jones when he won an audition to be the band’s vocalist.
The Lower Third had the same style of The Who and The Kinks, that made it easier by the presence of producer Shel Talmy, who produced The Who and The Kinks. Shel Talmy was behind the board on the band’s first single.
The future David Bowie belted it out with some Little Richard standards, he even blasted some solos on a saxophone. He bested out his best friend, Steve Marriott when he got the job.
“We liked the stuff he was doing, and he really started to develop an image for us, as well.” – the band’s guitarist Denis Taylor
The band played their first gig together during the spring of 1965, and the next few months they shuttled back and forth to gigs riding an old diesel-fueled ambulance.
“We were too loud onstage, we used feedback and sounds and didn’t play any melodies. We just pulverized the sound, which was loosely based on Tamla Motown. We had an ardent following of about a hundred mods but when we played out of London we were booed right off the stage. We weren’t very good.” -David Bowie
The Lower Third broke up in a feud overpay with their manager. A hunch that Bowie was never on the supporting side of the argument, they left Bowie on his own, which was probably favorable to Bowie anyway.
8. Iggy Pop’s High-School Garage Band the Iguanas
The Iguanas were the ones responsible for launching a teenaged drummer named Jim Osterberg, better known today as the punk pioneer Iggy Pop. It was formed in Ann Arbor, in 1963. The band originally comprised of Osterberg and guitarist Jim McLaughlin, who together jammed informally on 12-bar blues and R&B hits of the day.
During an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, Iggy Pop told,
“We practiced playing ‘What’d I Say’ by Ray Charles and something called ‘Let There Be Drums’ by Sandy Nelson, which was my idea because it was a drum solo.”
They made their public debut at a junior high school talent shows at the Tappan Middle School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, performing like White Stripes drum-and-guitar duo. Upon landing their first paid gig at a local school dance, they played their two-song set “Let There Be Drums” and a self-penned Duane Eddy–Chuck Berry amalgam, which brought the young audience out of the seats and wildly dancing around the aisles.
“Immediately, y’know, I took a level up socially in my encounters in the hallways, The chicks were a little nicer and the guys were – ‘Hey, that was pretty cool, Osterberg.'” – Iggy Pop
Later upon entering high school during that fall, they managed to recruit saxophonist Sam Swisher, guitarist Nick Kolokithas, and bassist Don Swickerath. As they have expanded the band, they named themselves as The Iguanas, named by Pop after “the coolest animal.”
7. The Cars’ Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr’s Mellow Early-Seventies Trio Milkwood
The duo Ric Ocasek, and Ben Orr are considered the new wave personified by many, and it is nearly impossible to imagine the both of them doing another style of music. But long before they rise to prominence with The Cars, they were members of a trio band called Milkwood. Teaming up with guitarist Jas Goodkind to form the band.
“We were playing around town and somebody asked us if we wanted to make a record. In two weeks we recorded that Milkwood thing.” – Ocasek
Ocasek and Orr had been together playing music since the ’60s, but it wasn’t until the early ’70s that they achieved some recognition, resulting in Milkwood signing to the Paramount record label. Their sound was heavily influenced by such as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and America.
The group disbanded, as Ocasek and Orr decided to return to play their original genre, rock n’ roll. Forming one of the most successful rock bands of the late ’70s and the early ’80s, “The Cars.”
6. Grace Slick’s Sly Stone–Produced Experimental Rock Band the Great Society
A daughter of an investment banker and descendant of Mayflower settlers, Grace Slick spent his early life in the ’60s earning a living as a model at San Francisco’s I. Magin department store.
“I was on the third floor, the couture department, wearing $10,000 dresses. You wear one, wander around. All the rich people come up and feel the material, ask how much it is, and then you go change.”
The Great Society was nearly popular as Jefferson Airplane. It was the very first band Grace Slick sang lead and played various instruments before joining Jefferson Airplane.
The band rehearsed throughout the early fall and developed a distinctive sound, in which were not as disciplined as Jefferson Airplane. Slick contributed a song called “White Rabbit,” owning debts to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and jazz pianist Gil Evans – plus LSD.
“I took acid and listened to Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain album for 24 hours straight until it burned into my brain.”
The Great Society broke up in late 1966 after recording only one locally released single. And shortly after Jefferson Airplane became big.
5. Brian May and Roger Taylor’s Sixties Power Trio Smile
Before Queen released their first album, half of its members worked together in Smile, a hard rock band that played in the London and Cornwall area during the late ’60s. Although Smile was never able to commercially release any of their works during their existence, they were able to make or record six songs which finally saw domestic release in 1997.
The band was formed at Imperial College in Kensington, Londo, in late 1968. Brian May and Tim Staffell placed an ad on the school’s bulletin board looking for “Ginger Baker–type” drummer to play with them in the group. Roger Taylor, who was a previous lead vocal in the band called Reaction, he was the best of those who auditioned and after choosing him as their drummer they branded themselves the new power trio “Smile.”
“We thought he was the best drummer we had ever seen, I watched him tuning a snare – something I’d never seen done before – and I remember thinking how professional he looked.” – Brian May
4. Lemmy’s Costumed Sixties Band the Rockin’ Vickers
A rather energetic and fearless British mid-’60s band, the Rockin’ Vickers are mostly remembered today because the guitarist was Ian Willis, better known internationally as Lemmy of Motorhead. He spent much of his early life during the ’60s wearing a priest’s collar as a member of the Rockin’ Vickers.
“My old man would have hated it, seeing me in a band that – shock, horror – took the piss out of being a vicar. At the same time, he’d probably have loved seeing me having to wear a fucking vicar’s dog collar onstage.”
Knowing Lemmy, he would not have done anything without Rock N’ Roll. At the young age, he began his interest in rock n’ roll. He even hitchhiked to Liverpool at the age of 16 just to see one of the Beatles’ Cavern sets.
After the first band to break through the Iron Curtain, playing to 10,000-seat arenas in Finland, Lemmy decided to quit and wanted to make a name for himself. He briefly served as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, but for just a few years he’d be making big out of himself – first in the psych-rock band Sam Gopal, then Hawkwind and finally Motörhead.
3. Neil Young and Rick James’ Motown Pop Band the Mynah Birds
For a short time in early 1966, Mynah Birds did exist. It was hardly believable at the first time hearing it, but it really happened: Rick James, Neil Young, bassist Bruce Palmer, who would go on with Young to Buffalo Springfield after the Mynah Birds disbanded. This trio did an album’s worth of material for Motown but nothing from those has ever been released. The very reason why it is difficult to know exactly what they sounded like. The Mynah Birds tapes were believed lost, but again according to Neil Young: “…a musicologist has recently stumbled upon them, mislabeled in Motown’s vaults.”
Neil Young did not sing on any of their songs and his guitar playing was mixed down so low that it is indistinguishable.
“I wasn’t a driving force behind the Mynah Birds – I was the lead guitar player, Ricky was the front man, he’s out there doin’ all that shit and I was back there playin’ a little rhythm, a little lead, groovin’ along with my bro Bruce. We were having a good time.”
2. Bon Scott’s Australian Teen-Pop Band the Valentines
Seeing Bon Scott playing with a bell-bottom–wearing teeny-pop band group would make everyone cringe. Something you’d never expect to find Bon Scott. But the future hard rocking god spent his late teenage life during the ’60s as a co-frontman of the Perth-based pop group, sharing some spotlight with Vince Lovegrove.
The teen-pop band was formed in 1966, it was the first band Scott’s played with before he screamed his way to the top of rock n’ roll. They managed to capitalize on their success by recording a number of songs which were co-written by George Young and Henry Vanda.
It’s really hard to imagine to see Scott enduring a life of a teen idol. His friend, Mark Evans, former AC/DC bassists, recalled seeing the tiring truce between Bon Scott the Rock God and Bon Scott the Pop Star in his book, Dirty Deeds: My Life Inside/Outside AC/DC.
“I was sitting in front of the PA on the side of the stage and I could see him disappear into the wings during solos and after songs to slug from a bottle of Johnnie Walker, as the set progressed he built up a descent sweat and I could see something strange going on under the sheer chiffon sleeves. Tattoos were starting to appear – he had tried to hide them with makeup but the sweat was making it run. The guy was turning into Bon Scott before my eyes.” -he writes
Damn glad that this band didn’t make it. Pheww.
1. Robert Plant and John Bonham’s Psychedelic Sixties Outfit Band of Joy
Formed in 1966 by Rober Plant, who would later become to be the vocalist for one of the most legendary rock bands in history, the Led Zeppelin. Feuds with management led to Plant attempting to form his own version of the band, which also eventually folded before recruiting John Bonham into the group.
“It was debatable whether he’d join because it was a long way to go and pick him up, and we didn’t know whether we would have the petrol money to get over to Redditch and back! We always laugh about that. It turned out to be a really good group. It was a combination of what we wrote ourselves, which wasn’t incredible, and re-arrangements of things like [Jefferson Airplane’s] ‘She Has Funny Cars’ and ‘Plastic Fantastic Lover.’” – Rober Plant
Band of Joy manage to booked session time in Regent Sound Studios to record demos. Resulting in two covers, “Hey Joe” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” and the originals “Adriatic Sea View” and “Memory Lane.” – the latter written by Plant and Bonham
They were a favorite with underground mod culture but disbanded in 1968 when they can’t manage to hold a recording contract to manifest.