Saturday, January 22, 2011

13th Floor Elevators: You're Gonna Miss Me

So many great bands emerged in the 60s not all had a chance to have major Top 40 hits. One such garage band that had regional success in Texas and a near miss of the Top 40 charts was the 13th Floor Elevators from Austin, Texas. Their name was a reference to the superstition that buildings should not have a 13th floor and many had elevators that went from 12 to 14 in the list of available floors.

In early 1966, the band cut two sides with the Houston based Contact label. Within months, International Artists, another Houston label, picked up the record and released it nationally where “You’re Gonna Miss Me” peaked at #55. While the single was much bigger (as everything seems to be) in Texas, its national ranking places it in the bubbling under category. International Records, by the way, was run by Kenny Rogers’ brother Lelan Rogers.

One of the interesting things about this record and the band is the use of an electric jug. Tommy Hall did not blow into his ceramic jug like was done in the jug band era. He, however, produced sounds similar to a human beat box and used the jug to reverberate these noises which were amplified by a microphone.

This may very well be the only single to place in the Top 100 that used an electric jug. I cannot say it was the only one ever to use a jug; however, it may hold that distinction as well. Guitarist Roky Erickson wrote, sang lead, and played harmonica on “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”

Live Version

On this live recording, you can catch Tommy Hall and his electric jug. Unfortunately, the quality in this clip is not the best in the world.

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