Beginning life as a flower-power band called The Chosen Few in San Francisco during the psychedelic rush of Haight-Ashbury, The Groovies came to define the true spirit of good-time rock & roll and pop.
The Groovies brought Anglophile flash and San Francisco stoner cool to the desolate early 70s music scene. They were a great garage band and wrote a slew of memorable songs.
Playing short, fast and furious beat music during 1967’s Summer of Love was distinctly uncool, but with record companies frothing to sign any SF band, the Flamin’ Groovies got a deal with Epic.
After one incompetently-produced album, Super-snazz (1969), they moved to Kama Sutra and recorded Teenage Head (1971), a classic blend of deranged rock’n’roll and power beat.
It was the last album to be recorded by the original lineup, and the tensions between guitarist Cyril Jordan and singer Roy Loney were reflected in the record’s tough, rumbling sound.
The few reviews the album attracted were good, but the Groovies – playing short pop tunes in the style of the British rockers – were out of place in an America obsessed with guitar-soloing rock bands.
Roy Loney left, disillusioned, only a few months after the album’s release. Jordan reshaped the band – feeding his transient co-members a diet of British Beat and R&B blended with Byrds/Beau Brummels throughout the 70s – and shifted them to England to record Shake Some Action under Dave Edmunds at Rockfield.
With punk rock reintroducing the idea of the short, sharp song, the Flamin’ Groovies were suddenly fashionable for the first time: dressed in Beatle boots, velvet jackets and tight trousers, the Groovies covered The Beatles’ There’s A Place, The Byrds’ Feel A Whole Lot Better and recreated the Sixties in songs of their own like Shake Some Action, picking up an enthusiastic following.