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The Standells
Origin Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Garage rock
Years active 1962-1968
Associated acts The Bel-Airs
Little Feat
The Walker Brothers
Tony Valentino
Larry Tamblyn
Dick Dodd
Gary Lane
Former members
Lowell George
Gary Walker
Paul Downing

The Standells are a 1960s garage rock band from Los Angeles, California.


The band was formed in 1962 by guitarist Tony Valentino and organist Larry Tamblyn. After the addition of vocalist & drummer Dick Dodd and bassist Gary Lane, The Standells' had their first hit single with "Dirty Water," which reached #11 on the Billboard charts on June 11, 1966.

Other popular tracks included "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" (later covered by Washington, D.C. hardcore band Minor Threat and Swedish garage band The Nomads), "Why Pick On Me," "Riot On Sunset Strip," and "Try It."

Earlier in the 60's, Dick Dodd was the original drummer for The Bel-Airs, known for the hit surf rock song "Mr. Moto". Dodd is also a former Mouseketeer. Larry Tamblyn is the brother of actor Russ Tamblyn and uncle of Amber Tamblyn, star of "Joan of Arcadia". Lowell George, who would go on to play with Little Feat, briefly played guitar in The Standells prior to their breakup in 1968. Gary Walker, later of The Walker Brothers, was also a member of the band.

Prior to their success on the Capitol Records label Tower;

  • (1964) they signed with Liberty in 1964 and issued 3 singles and an album "The Standells In Person At P.J.'s".
  • (1965) they recorded one single for Linda Records (crediting Larry Tamblyn & The Standells)
  • (1965) they signed with Vee Jay in 1965 for two singles
  • (1965) they signed with MGM for one single.

Stylistically, the band was mostly a live covers band with a bit of California surf thrown in. It wasn't until they signed with Capitol (Tower) and hooked up with producer Ed Cobb that the garage/punk style crept in. When they signed to Capitol, their first single on Tower was "Dirty Water", which became a hit, although it took awhile for the single to break nationally. Subsequently, Liberty issued one single from the Liberty album and put it out on their Sunset label (one of the few singles issued on Sunset).

The group appeared in several low budget films of the 1960's, including Get Yourself a College Girl and Riot on Sunset Strip. The Standells also made an appearance on the television sitcom The Munsters in the episode "Far Out Munster," wherein the band performed "Come On and Ringo" and a version of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Despite the references to Boston and the Charles River in "Dirty Water," The Standells are not from Massachusetts. "Dirty Water" was actually written by record producer, Ed Cobb. Nevertheless, "Dirty Water" is still played after every home victory won by the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and Boston Bruins as well as at Northeastern Huskies' hockey games. The Boston and Charles River references to the song (written by the band's record producer Ed Cobb with New England roots), is reportedly based on an experience Cobb and his girlfriend had with a mugger in the mid 1960's, while in Boston alongside the Charles River [(reference, Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season By Stewart O'Nan, Stephen King), (note their book incorrectly refers to The Standells as a Boston proto-punk group, rather than a California Garage Band)].

In 1999, the original band members got together for a live show at the Cavestomp festival, and their performance was subsequently released as an album called Ban This!

The band continues to play shows occasionally, having performed at the second game of the 2004 World Series as well as the first game of the 2007 American League Division Series at Fenway Park.


  • Dirty Water 1966
  • Why Pick On Me (aka Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White) 1966
  • The Hot Ones! 1967
  • Try It 1967
  • Riot on Sunset Strip 1967
  • Rarities 1984
  • Recorded live at PJ's San Francisco 1964, 1990
  • Ban This! (1999 live recordings) 2000
  • The Live Ones (1967 live recordings) 2001

External links

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