Before They Were Metal: 15 Early Bands That Birthed Hard Rock Heroes

by (@JordanRuntagh)


Is there anything more awesome than sitting back and cranking up a classic track from your favorite hard rock band? We’re gonna have to argue that there isn’t. But are you a fan of the early stuff? We’re talkin’ the realllllly early stuff! Take your minds back to the mystical land known as the ’60s…

It was a simpler time, when most bands dressed (and sounded) like The Beatles or the Stones, and played it fairly safe by dishing out songs aimed squarely at the pop charts. Within a few years they’d be the amped up guitar gods we know and love, but these first attempts at stardom provide a fascinating glimpse into their sonic development.

Whether it’s Ted NugentLemmy KilmisterBrian MayGene Simmons or Iggy Pop, they all earned their chops in “training bands” before graduating to the big leagues. Read on for 15 early groups that birthed hard rock heroes!


15. “Journey To The Center Of Your Mind” by The Amboy Dukes (1968)

Keep An Ear Out For: Ted Nugent on lead guitar and vocals. OK, we started you off with an easy one. Come along if you dare…


14. “Stay By Me” by The Rockin’ Vicars (1966)

Keep An Ear Out For: Future Motorhead legend Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister on guitar.


13. “Step On Me” by Smile (1969)

Keep An Ear Out For: Future Queen members Brian May (guitar and vocals) and Roger Taylor (drums and vocals). Check out the equally-awesome ’67 demo version from their even earlier band, 1984!

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