The 13th Floor Elevators were a short-lived but highly influential and pioneering garage/psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas that became famous during the mid-late 1960s. Formed in 1965, the original lineup consisted of Benny Thurman (bass, vocals), John Ike Walton (drums), and co-founders Stacy Sutherland (lead guitar, vocals), Tommy Hall (electric jug, vocals), and lead singer Roky Erickson (July 15, 1947 - May 31, 2019), with some personnel changes along the way. The 13th Floor Elevators' signature sound came from Erickson's powerful wailing vocals and frenzied harmonica playing as well as the band's use of the electric jug, a novel instrument constructed from a crock jug with a microphone attached.
The 13th Floor Elevators debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1966 with the scorching "You're Gonna Miss Me" (1966), written by Erickson while he was still in his teens. On October 29, 1966, the band gave a rousing performance of this garage rock classic on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand." The 13th Floor Elevators also had a minor hit with "Reverbaration (Doubt)" (1966), and the band's final charting song came in 1967 with "Levitation."
Before disbanding in 1969, The 13th Floor Elevators released seven singles and four albums: "The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators" (1966), "Easter Everywhere" (1967), "Live" (1968), and "Bull Of The Woods" (1969). The band reunited several times over the years, and Erickson resumed his solo career in the 1990s. The 13th Floor Elevators have influenced such bands and artists as ZZ Top, Peter Albin of Big Brother & The Holding Company, and Chris Gerniottis of Zakary Thaks, as well as later acts that include Primal Scream, R.E.M., The Shamen, 14 Iced Bears, Spacemen 3, and Queens Of The Stone Age. The 13th Floor Elevators' continuing legacy is the subject of the 2005 documentary, "You're Gonna Miss Me."
- For more info about Roky (pronounced Rocky) Erickson, visit rokyerickson.com.
- NPR remembers late psychedelic rock pioneer Roky Erickson.
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The 13th Floor Elevators
- You're Gonna Miss Me 1966
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