The Hit Songs Deconstructed Wire

Penn's Picks: The Sonics – The Witch



Artist: The Sonics
Song/Album: The Witch / The Sonics Boom
Writer(s): Roslie, Parypa, Parypa, Lind, Bennett
Year Released: 1964
Genre/Sub Genre: Rock/Garage Rock

Hailing from Tacoma, Washington, The Sonics were a key figure in the Northwest Garage Rock scene in the mid to late 60′s. Other garage groups, like the Wailers and most notably the Kingsmen (Louie Louie) came from the area as well. Out of all of them, the Sonics were the most “down, dirty and dark,” first coming to light in 1964 with their song, The Witch.

Take Note Of This:
The dark, raw intensity of the song in conjunction with the time period in which it was released (The Witch was by far the heaviest song around in 1964).

Why it’s a “Penn’s Pick”:
Though The Witch never reached the top of the charts, its frenzied, aggressive, dark nature inspired countless Rock and Punk acts that followed its release back in 1964. The Sonics didn’t make pretty music, and they embodied everything that Rock should be, much more so than the Stones and the Beatles did way back in the day.

Notice how Gerry Roslie’s raw, gravly vocals, Larry Parypa’s “dark, overdriven” guitar (that rivals Dave Davies in tone) and Rob Linds raw saxophone work in perfect unison with one another in creating one hell on an intense song. You can even go so far to make the argument that speed metal got its start in the bridge section of the song.

To this day The Witch remains an exceptionally important historical influence in the development of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk.