Wednesday, November 28, 2012


  The word underrated; What does it mean? My version of the word underrated is something that doesn't get the amount of credit it deserves. In this situation, the object of underrating is a few groups of bands. So here is a list of several bands (Not in any particular order) that don't get the credit they deserve when performing in the musical world.
Note: A lot of these facts are from my head, so don't be upset if they're not 100% accurate!
Also, songs in Italics are featured on the playlist below!

1. Badfinger
Badfinger recording in their studio.
  Perhaps Badfinger's tale is the most tragic on this list. They were a promising British band who's story is sadly never told. They were active from 1968 to 1983, originally formed under the name 'The Iveys' in 1961. Their lineup originally consisted of Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Ron Griffiths, and Mike Gibbins. In January 1968 they were seen by the Beatles' Apple employees Mal Evans and Peter Asher and were eventually invited to become a part of the Beatles' newly formed Apple Corps. After their 1969 release of the song "Come and Get It" (written by Paul McCartney) they agreed to change their names (They were confused with "The Ivy League") and took the Beatles' suggestion of Badfinger, which was an early working title of Lennon–McCartney's "With a Little Help From My Friends," as Lennon had hurt his forefinger on a piano by using only one finger.
  From 1969 through the early 1970's, Badfinger earned great success. They had a number of great hits, including "Without You," "Day After Day," and "No Matter What." When the Beatles split up in April of 1970, Apple Records was failing. Their last album with Apple Records was released in 1972, and they soon joined Warner Bros. Records. In 1974, Badfinger tried to release an album titled 'Head First.' However, Warner Bros. records wouldn't release it. Along with this, their next album was rejected, too. During the early months of 1975, the band spent all their time trying to figure out how to proceed under their unclear legal situation, and salaries were no longer rolling in. This was especially a problem for Pete Ham of the band, as he had just recently bought a  £30,000 house and his girlfriend was expecting a child.
  This is where things turn tragic; On the night of 23 April 1975, Ham received a telephone call telling him that all his money had disappeared. Later that evening he met with Tom Evans from the band and they went to a pub together, Ham drinking ten whiskies. They arrived home at 3 the following morning, and, after Evans left, Pete Ham proceeded to hang himself in the garage studio at only age 27. After this, the band dissolved. A reunion soon followed in 1983 with a few replacement members, but fights broke out. (I'm not too sure about the next sentence but) the new band members wanted a cut of old songs written by Badfinger, and eventually Tom Evans took his own life by hanging himself in the garden of his home in November 1983. It seems that these two deaths were virtually untouched by society, and no one even remembers them happening. I personally believe this band had amazing potential, but were unfortunately caught up in legal matters far beyond their heads. Such a shame the band had to fade away like that, with two members burning out so suddenly.

2. T. Rex
Marc Bolan of T. Rex during their glam rock phase.
  T. Rex is another group that had a tragic ending, although this one wasn't as planned. T. Rex was formed in 1967 during the midst of the psychedelic sixties by singer/songwriter Marc Bolan. They were originally called Tyrannosaurus Rex, and they released four albums under that name, but they changed to T. Rex in the early 1970's when they received a new lineup. Bolan still headed the group, but they now weren't underground. The band T. Rex was the latest in the new glam rock craze, also popularized by Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
T. Rex, fronted by Marc Bolan. Don't know the story about that giant frog on the right though.
  T. Rex enjoyed great success throughout the early to mid-70's, however by the time 1975 rolled around, their popularity declined. Like most great bands, it seemed they were struggling to gain the public's eye. However, when driving on September 16, 1977, Marc's girlfriend Gloria Jones who was driving the car, crashed into a tree. Marc was killed immediately on impact. Tragically, this was the end to the band's struggles, as they broke up immediately after Marc was killed. But such songs like "Bang a Gong (Get It On)," "Ride a White Swan," and "Jeepster" are timeless classics that show us the greatest of the glam rock era, as well as the greatest of Marc Bolan.

A "new" T. Rex song just released in November 2012 called "Childlike Men." Thought I'd share just because of how much I love T. Rex. :) It's just a mix up of other T. Rex songs, but I still love it.

3. The Grass Roots
  The Grass Roots are typically viewed as one of many great sixties groups that had a few hits before slowly fading away. Although the band has been together from 1966 to present day, their sixties tunes are typically what they are most well known for.
Such a psychedelic picture, I love it and the colors! Ah, to live in the sixties!
  The Grass Roots had their first top ten hit in 1967 with "Let's Live For Today," a cover of a 1966 Anglo-Italian song "Piangi con me" by the Rokes. From there, they charted many times with songs such as "Midnight Confessions," their biggest song, charting #5 in the U.S. in 1968, as well as "I'd Wait a Million Years" and "Temptation Eyes."
  I don't know too much about the Grass Roots, but from what I do know, they are incredibly talented. They continued touring up until 2011, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give them a chance. They're just another one of the brilliant yet underrated groups of the 1960's and 70's.

4. Tommy James & The Shondells
Tommy James & The Shondells c. 1967
  Tommy James & The Shondells are an example of a group that is well known for their songs, but not for their name. If someone were to mention Tommy James & The Shondells, no one would have a clue what they were talking about. But songs like "Hanky Panky," "Mony Mony," "Crystal Blue Persuasion," "Crimson and Clover," and  "Mirage" are all bell-ringers for many.
  The band formed in 1959 when the lead singer, Tommy James (then known as Tommy Jackson) was only 12. Then they were called Tom and the Tornadoes, and in 1964 James changed the band's name to Tommy James & The Shondells because the name "sounded good." Later that year, the group recorded a song called "Hanky Panky." This single became forgotten, so the band broke up in 1965. But two years later in 1966, it received extensive airplay and was popular at dances and parties. The world demanded more Tommy James & The Shondells, so they reformed in 1966. From there they enjoyed great success, following "Hanky Panky" with "Mony Mony" in 1968, which was popularly covered by Billy Idol in 1981. The band became very successful; as Wikipedia reads, "as the band embraced the sounds of psychedelia, they were invited to perform at the Woodstock concert but declined." The band stayed together until 1970, when they split up. Unfortunately, there haven't been any reformations and the band doesn't look like it is getting back together.

5. The Turtles
The Turtles, c. mid-sixties.
  The Turtles were originally a surf-rock group formed in 1965 called "The Crossfires." They soon changed their name to "The Tyrtles," a misspelling inspired by both the Beatles and the Byrds. They received their first success in 1965 with a cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe," and from there, they continued to make wonderful music. Their second single, "Let Me Be," reached the top 30 in the U.S, while their third hit, "You Baby," reached the top 20 in 1966.
A particularly adorable sleeve to their single "Happy Together." I just love this!
  In 1967 "Happy Together" would be released, the band's most well-known song. This single replaced the Beatles' "Penny Lane" at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 during spring of '67. In 1968 their song "Elenore" was also successful. The song itself was a parody of those type of happy-go-lucky pop songs they themselves had been performing, but this included cliché lyrics such as "Gee, I think you're swell / And you really do me well / You're my pride and joy, et cetera..." (My personally favorite lyrics from the song, such a wonderful example of a parody!)
  The Turtles eventually broke up in 1970, but reformed in 1983 and are still together today. I don't know much about them, but what I do know is that their music was iconic to the 1960's, and "Happy Together" is one of the most famous songs of all time.

1. "Bang a Gong (Get it On)" - T. Rex
2. "No Matter What" - Badfinger
3. "Hanky Panky" - Tommy James & The Shondells
4. "Happy Together" - The Turtles
5. "Midnight Confessions" - The Grass Roots
6. "Ride a White Swan" - T. Rex
7. "Come and Get It" - Badfinger
8. "Mirage" - Tommy James & The Shondells
9. "Elenore" - The Turtles
10. "Live For Today" - The Grass Roots

1 comment:

  1. I love Tommy James & The Shondells! I'm always surprised when not as many people have heard of them because their songs are so great!