You know the story by now. If not, it goes something like this. Back in October of 2014, On The Flip-Side innocently undertook a region by region Battle of the Garage Band singles. At that moment we failed to understand the scope of our endeavor.
Twelve regions in all. Generally 10 singles per region (more in So Cal, less in Canada). That means that roughly 120 singles got a digital spin on the turntable. Then each region winner went head to head with another region winner. A panel of 7 judges - from the Rockies to the PNW, to So Cal to NorCal to the South - each weighed in on the final 12 singles as they went into a bracket system against each other. The final votes have been tallied by On The Flip-Side's San Francisco accounting office and we can now announce the Top Three Podium winners of the North American Battle of the Garage Bands.
Coming in at No. 1 is The Chocolate Watchband's swan song of a single, Are You Gonna Be There on the A-side and No Way Out on the Flip-Side. The single was released in October of 1967 on the Tower Records label. The Chocolate Watchband represented the Northern California Region in the battle on their way to the Gold Medal.
Coming in at the number 2 spot is the winner of the hard fought Texas region, The 13th Floor Elevators. Their debut single, recorded in '65 and released in '66 for IA Records, of You're Gonna Miss Me on the A-side and Tried To Hide on the Flip-side was a very close 2nd. A slightly stronger flip probably would have put them at the number one spot overall. But the Silver Medal is not so shabby folks.
And taking the bronze medal is the most controversial of them all. Some thought they shouldn't be considered in America since they recorded in the UK. Others thought they shouldn't be considered garage because they sounded so different. Others still thought that the record shouldn't be considered at all since it wasn't released until three years after the band broke up. But we hold the keys to the car, so we get to drive it as we see fit. The Misunderstood, from Riverside, California beat out Love and the Music Machine and The Grains of Sand to lay claim to the crown of what we consider the most competitive region, Southern California. Their 1966 recording (released in '69) for the UK version of Fontana Records is a mind blower. Children Of The Sun on one side and I Unseen on the Flip-Side.
It's been fun.