High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Monday, September 14, 2009

Seasons of Change as the Dell Barn Makes Room for Garage

September 1966: The York Interstate Fair
was underway and I was starting my senior
year of high school. On the home front, my
mom was still trying to steer me away from
rock 'n roll by pushing musicians like Count
Basie. I preferred Count Five because they
dressed like Count Dracula. Not only that -
they rocked!

Burning up the boss lines in the fall of 1966 and landing in
the top 5 on Billboard, “Psychotic Reaction,” performed by five teenage guys from San Jose, had all the essential ingredients: punkish, pissed-off teen male vocals, machine gun drums, psyched-out fuzz guitar riffs, plus a wailing
rock blues harmonica that invited comparisons to Britain’s Yardbirds. With all that going for it, it's easy to see why
the Deller fellers dug the song, too.

Today, rock reviewers call “Psychotic Reaction’ one of the best garage rock nuggets of the 60s. Although Count Five tried to set themselves apart from other acts by wearing black capes during live performances, they were unable to repeat their chart success and went into the music history books as one-hit wonders.

“96 Tears,” a chart topper by the quintessential garage band ? (Question Mark) & the Mysterians, was one of the most distinctive sounds of the 60s.

Both songs on the Mysterians' punky platter found favor with rat packers in September and October of 1966 and earned positions on my list of the 200 Greatest Hits of the Shady Dell.

The killer bee "Midnight Hour" (not the Wilson Pickett song) has always been right up there among my all time favorites of the garage rock genre.

? (Question Mark) & the Mysterians burst onto the music scene with a refreshingly different garage pop sound and I'm still hooked on what they're puttin' down.

In December of 1966, a new wave of garage swept through the Dell. Among the leading exponents of the genre were the Seeds, a band that released singles on one of the most collectible labels of the 60s, G.N.P. Crescendo. G.N.P. stands for Gene Norman Presents.

The Seeds scored their biggest hit with "Pushin' Too Hard,"
a heavy-hitting combination of raw, Stones-influenced garage punk and trashy psychedelia. Seeds founders Sky Saxon and Jan Savage infused "Pushin’ Too Hard" with all the elements required for garage rock greatness. The vocals are angry and defiant. The guitar solo KILLS. The song even includes a hook derived from Madison Avenue, the “stronger than dirt” riff taken from the 60s commercial jingle for a popular cleaning product!

"Pushin’ Too Hard" is considered by many to be the greatest garage recording of all time. Dell rats were not about to argue!

Two more important genre songs became Dell favorites during the month of December 1966. At #116 on the survey, "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" by the Electric Prunes...

and at #115 is the Blues Magoos' hit recording, " (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet."

Hit records by Count Five, ? (Question Mark) & the Mysterians, the Seeds, the Electric Prunes and the Blues Magoos along with those of the Doors and Jefferson Airplane, reminded me and other old school Dell rats that the times were changing. They signaled a permanent shift at the Dell, a shift away from the traditional sweet, innocent pop and soul songs that had been the Shady Dell’s bread and butter for so many years. Like it or not, garage, punk, funk, psych, acid rock, hard rock and heavy metal were the hot new trends in music...

and nothing could change

the shape of things to come!

Have a Shady day!


  1. Yes, the times were changing. I loved the old doo wop, and still do. However, I also liked the Jefferson Airplane, Moody Blues, Uriah Heep, early Deep Purple etc.


  2. ...and who could ever forget Disco Tex & the Sex-O-Lettes? Don't answer that! (LOL)


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