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The Standells

The Standells made number 11 in 1966 with "Dirty Water," an archetypal garage rock hit with its Stones-ish riff, lecherous vocal, and combination of raunchy guitar and organ. While they never again reached the Top 40, they cut a number of strong, similar tunes in the 1966-1967 era that have belatedly been recognized as '60s punk classics. "Garage rock" may not have been a really accurate term for them in the first place, as the production on their best material was full and polished, with some imaginative touches of period psychedelia and pop.

The Los Angeles band was actually hardly typical of the young suburban outfits across America who took their raw garage sound onto obscure singles recorded in small studios. They'd been playing L.A. clubs since the early '60s, with a repertoire that mostly consisted of covers of pre-Beatles rock hits. Drummer (and eventual lead singer) Dick Dodd had been a Mouseketeer on television, organist Larry Tamblyn was the brother of noted film actor Russ Tamblyn, and Tony Valentino was a recent immigrant from Italy. Gary Leeds (later to join the Walker Brothers) was an early member (though he was replaced by Dodd).

The Standells' pre-"Dirty Water" history is a little vague and confusing; they recorded some ordinary albums and singles for Liberty, MGM, and Vee Jay, appeared in the movie Get Yourself a College Girl, and did a lot of television work (most notably a well-remembered guest appearance on The Munsters, where they did a woeful version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand"). There were flashes of gritty inspiration on early cuts like "Big Boss Man" and "Someday You'll Cry," but the group didn't really hit their stride until teaming up with producer Ed Cobb, formerly of the clean-cut vocal group the Four Preps. It was Cobb who wrote "Dirty Water," which marked quite a change of direction from their previous clean-cut image. In fact, the group didn't even like the song, which took about six months to break into a hit.

Considerably toughening their image, the group churned out four albums in 1966 and 1967, as well as appearing in (and contributing the theme song to) the psychedelic exploitation movie Riot on Sunset Strip. Cobb, in addition to writing "Dirty Water," also penned their other most enduring singles, including "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White," "Why Pick on Me," and "Try It" (the last of which was widely banned for its suggestive delivery). The group did write some decent material of their own, such as the tense "Riot on Sunset Strip" and the psychedelic "All Fall Down," which bears an interesting similarity to some of Pink Floyd's early work. Their albums were quite inconsistent -- in fact, one of them, consisting of covers of big, mid-'60s hits, was altogether dispensable -- which makes it advisable for all but the truly committed to look for greatest-hits compilations that selectively weed out the best stuff.

The Standells never had a stable lineup; bass players were constantly leaving (John Fleck, aka John Fleckenstein, who was briefly in an early version of Love, held the spot for a while), and Dick Dodd went solo in 1968, the year they released their last single. Tower, as was the case with most of its artists, didn't apply intelligent long-range planning to the band's career, issuing too many albums at once. The group didn't help their own cause by issuing an awful vaudeville-rock single, "Don't Tell Me What to Do," under the transparent pseudonym of the Sllednats. They didn't record after 1968, though the group dragged on in one form or another until the early '70s (Lowell George was even a member briefly). ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
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Comments

Gotta love that dirty water!
lmjr_1
One of the great garage rock hits!
they stole this song from the rolling stones
You don't dig this long hair ? Get yourself a crew cut baby ! hahahaha that's a great line and very punk for the 60's isn't it ?
@ Bobonnit:

Well said. : )
@ Yotsu63:

Yeah, learned about his passing a few days ago. Rest in peace, Dick Dogg.
yotsu63
Dick Dodd, lead vocalist for the Standells, just passed away:

http://www.n y t i m e s . c o m / 2 0 1 3 / 1 2 / 0 4 / a r t s / m u s i c / d i c k - d o d d - l e a d - s i n g e r - o f - t h e - s t a n d e l l s - d i e s - a t - 6 8 . h t m
they had one decent song....the rest suck badly
luisluna2112 : If you were born after about 1975 and/or never listened to rock and roll radio, I can understand you never having heard of The Standells. If you were alive and between the ages of 5 and 35 in the 1960's and never heard of The Standells you must have been listening to the Arthur Godfrey Radio Hour or something because The Standells were pretty popular. And they don't suck in the opinions of those who have some taste in Rock & Roll
Okay-these guys suck. No wonder I never heard of them.
Twisted metal black.
Paint it Black....fol l o w 4 follow
PEE ESS 'bobonnit': amen! & thank you! Thank you for speaking out about how to PROPERLY share knowledge. You must be old like me! Heh-heh-heh. . . k e e p schoolin' 'em, dude! SO! **DO YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE!!** Research FIRST, thennn post your so-called expert opinions, cos bobonnit's gonna check in on ya from time to time. Some of us have myriad music info as we're kinda old & just know stuff from years of loving/livin g music; so, we just auto-know when yer sorta yankin' things outta yer butts. HA! ;)
Ya really DO learn new stuff each day! I abso-love EB&A & knew they covered Paint it Black, but never heard of or knew that The Standells covered it. Somethin' else I just learned: ''This version replaces the line 'With flowers & my love, both never to come back,' instead repeating 'I see a red door & I want it painted black.''' (2013 http://en.wi k i p e d i a . o r g / w i k i / P a i n t _ I t , _ B l a c k )
BOSTON STRONG!!!
Very few people know his real name. Is real name is Emilio Bellissimo. I also got to hear a lot of songs he wrote that no 1 even heard. When I took the history of rock and roll music in college I saw the standells on slides from a projector. and then a few years after that I actually met them. There was never a dull moment hanging out with Tony or Emilio. I miss you buddy and think about you often.
Does anyone know if Tony Valentino still alive? I personally knew Tony and lived with him and his family for almost a year. Have a lot of good memories with the Godfather of punk rock music
For those so called experts and pundits who claimed Punk started in the late 70's and 80's, they are idiots. They must have never heard of The Standells or The Seeds for example. Punk was alive and well in the mid-60's
kvons1
Can't argue the Charles River being dirty and the Standells weren't even from Boston. Sure wish it was 1966 again---I'd gladly take the dirty river!
I love The Standells, wished I would be around to see them in 66.. They need to tour
These guys also played at the Hollywood Bowl in '66 or '67 before the Stones & after Buffalo Springfield. . Yeah a good old three band show!
who wrote this originally .......These guys or the rolling stones..... Mick jagger is made for this song though
bashton12
Ahh....don't forget their appearance on 'The Munsters'
just does not sound right without Mick
sb_batra
their version of paint it black is no different from the original, a blatant rip off.
Ah, Sam you might wanna rethink that
THey did Paint it Black better than the stones
some days the world should be all black
johnnyohania n
Hey Larry, I thought the Barbarians were the first real long hair group? Anyway it's all good dude...any group that appeared on the Munsters is good enough for me...PEACE
Mouseketeers and Lowell George indeed
kjhepp_mail
Wish the RSox brought this song back to Fenway...
prismaurora
love their stuff!
larry_tambly n
The Standells name bares no relationship to the Standel amplifier; a common misconceptio n .
larry_tambly n
With all due respect, Richie Unterberger wrote this probably more than 20 years ago, and really didn't know what he was talking about. Ed Cobb didn't toughen the Standells up or change the Standells sound; we were the first American group to have long hair in 1964 and we were into R&B. We had to cut our hair off to play in nightclubs. While Cobb did write Dirty Water, the Standells largely contributed to the arrangement of the song. See the Standells official Facebook page.
samscloud
Standell was the name of the amplifiers they used ...
Dirty Water is about Boston. I don't know why did this song since they were all from LA.
try playing some of their other songs
I dont know some music just grabs your rythem sence and takes your imagination on your own little trip this artist does,Well you can see I go on alot of trips.
these guys are great

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