The band found only limited commercial success before dissolving amid legal troubles and drug use. However, as one of the first psychedelic bands, they have been cited as an influential proto-punk group. Their biggest hit "You're Gonna Miss Me", a Billboard #55 hit in 1966, was featured on the 1972 compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968, which was later to be considered a landmark in the history of garage rock and the development of punk rock.
The band's classic line-up was singer/guitarist Roky Erickson, electric jug player Tommy Hall, guitarist Stacy Sutherland, drummer John Ike Walton and bass player Ronnie Leatherman, with several other irregular contributors and sessions musicians. Sutherland and Erickson were the band's primary writers of music, while most of the lyrics were written by Hall. Erickson The "electric jug" sound would become the band's signature and trademark.In July 1967, Walton and Leatherman left the band and were replaced by Danny Thomas (drums) and Dan Galindo (bass guitar). With this new line up, the Elevators recorded their second album Easter Everywhere (with the exception of two songs "She Lives" and "Levitation") which was considered to be the band's superlative effort by most critics. Ronnie Leatherman later returned for the fourth and final album, Bull of the Woods.