13th Floor Elevators
Long considered a seminal band of the psychedelic era, 13th Floor Elevators, led by nutjob visionary Roky Erickson, are one of the very few groups able to rival the Velvet Underground in terms of influence, specifically the far-ranging breadth and longevity of that influence. Seemingly everyone from the Stooges to ZZ Top to Television to garage-rock depressives Cheater Slicks to modern acts like Sunburned Hand of the Man were inspired by the Elevators' first album, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, released in 1967. Subverting surf-guitar riffs with a no dollar recording, an avalanche of reverb, Erickson's acid-charred lyrics and a fluttering "electric jug" sound that pervades the album, Psychedelic Sounds remains a landmark of garage rock, psychedelia and punk-rock aesthetics. A trio of albums followed, but subsequent legal problems and constant police harassment finally submarined the band by 1969, when Erickson entered a psychiatric hospital to avoid a prison term for drug charges. Following his release, Erickson went on to a long and convoluted solo career.