Friday, December 7, 2012


I mentioned a few days ago that I was a bit surprised by the group that came in at #3 on our list of Your All-Time Favorite Garage Bands ...

Not because I felt the didn't belong here ... (they certainly do!) ... and not because they didn't record a Garage Band Classic ... (they certainly did ... "Dirty Water" is one of my all-time favorites ... yet another opening guitar riff that grabs you and never lets go) ... but simply because when this series first started, they were never one of the artists whose name seemed to pepper every conversation.

This wasn't true with many of the other acts that finished near the top of our list ... but what The Standells managed to do (in their own quiet fashion) was end up on nearly everybody's list as a favorite, thus accumulating a substantial amount of votes.  (They earned 342 in all!)  And THAT was good enough for a Third Place Finish!!! (Congratulations, Guys!!!) 

Looking back over the list, it's really QUITE impressive to see how many of these songs that made such a mark on our lives were released in 1966. The Standells' anthem (the ultimate tribute to Boston if there ever was one ... despite the fact that they themselves hailed from Los Angeles!), "Dirty Water" is a classic example. '60's Rock just doesn't get any finer than this. 

"Dirty Water" climbed to #8 (#3 here in Chicago) and their next release, "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White", just missed The Top 40, peaking at #43 in Billboard. In all, they'd have four Hot 100 chart singles. 

Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that the group was produced by Ed Cobb of The Four Preps, a mainstream, middle-of-the-road male vocal group who had a few of their own hits in the early '60's like the soft-rock, "collegiate-sounding" "26 Miles" (#4, 1958); "Big Man (#5, 1958) and "Down By The Station" (#13, 1960) ... along with the novelty hits "More Money For You And Me", "The Big Draft" and "A Letter To The Beatles". Who knew he had it in him to drudge up the grunge of "Dirty Water", which he also wrote!?!?!

A performing band well before ‘Dirty Water’ hit, Los Angeles’ (not Boston, despite the lyrics to their best remembered song) Standells have come to represent all that is great about garage rock. They had the look, the style and the sound of how we currently picture garage bands in our head. ‘Dirty Water’ opens with another instantly recognizable riff, and maintains its high garage rock quotient throughout. ‘Some Times Good Guys Don’t Wear White’ (their best song), ‘Riot On Sunset Strip’, ‘Why Pick On Me’, and ‘Try It’ are among other winners, but the Standells issued several excellent songs over the course of recording their five studio albums. They also appeared in a couple of movies, and were featured on The Munsters, Ben Casey and The Bing Crosby Show sitcom.
Mike Dugo /  

The Standells boasted a rare, singing drummer handling the lead vocals on their hits.  
(Didjaknow that Drummer Dick Dodd was an original Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club" back in the'50's?!?!?)

The Inmates did a pretty respectable remake of "Dirty Water" in 1980.  Meanwhile, "Dirty Water" is still played at major sporting events in Boston ... and has now become a fourth generation fan favorite.  (WTG, Guys!)  

This weekend we'll reveal your Top Two All-Time Favorite Garage Bands ... don't miss it!  (kk)