|Larry Tamblyn (keyboards, vocals)|
Tony Valentino (lead guitar)
Gary Lane (bass)
Gary Leeds (drums)
The group is formed in Los Angeles by Larry Tamblyn (b. February 5, 1943, Inglewood, California, US), (brother of actor Russ Tamblyn), and guitarist Tony Valentino (b. Emilio Tony Belilissimo, May 24, 1941, Longi, Italy), who arrived in the US in 1958. Tamblyn has previously recorded three singles for local label, Faro.
Tamblyn and Valentino form the original Standells with Jody Rich (bass) and Benny King (drums) and work in Hawaii at the Oasis club in Honolulu for several months. The group takes its name from the long hours spent hanging around record company offices awaiting an audition.
January The Standells work at the Club Esquire in Eureka, Washington. Soon afterwards, former New York Aerospace Technology school student, Gary Leeds (b. September 3, 1944, Glendale, California, US) and bass player Gary Lane (b. Gary McMillan, September 18, 1940, St Paul, Minnesota, US) take over from King and Rich. The group’s first recording is the single, “The Shake”, which receives airplay on KFWB radio station.
Early 1963, clockwise from left: Tony Valentino, Gary Lane, Larry Tamblyn and Gary Leeds
Standells, early 1964: Gary Lane, Larry Tamblyn, Gary Leeds and Tony Valentino
February (6) Tamblyn, Valentino, Lane and Leeds sign a record contract with Liberty Records.
French EP taken from the Liberty album In Person at PJ’s
|September Liberty releases debut album, The Standells In Person At PJ’s, a blatant cash-in on The Kingsmen’s recent live album, Louie Louie: The Kingsmen In Person. The record is released in the UK the following year; the only Standells album to be issued there. The Standells travel to Nicaragua for 12 days.|
October (17) A final Liberty single, a version of Johnny Otis’ “So Fine” is taken from the album but does not chart. The band signs a new deal with VJ Records.
December (5) The Standells perform at Sammy Lee’s Westlake in Chatworth, California.
(22) The band makes its third return to P J’s in Hollywood.
Larry Tamblyn, Tony Valentino, Dick Dodd and Gary Lane
|(26) Having signed a new recording deal with Vee-Jay Records, the band’s debut single for the label, “The Boy Next Door”, produced by Sonny Bono and featuring Cher on backing vocals, is released and eventually peaks at US #102. The single’s release comes on the heels of MGM film, “Get Yourself A College Girl”, where the band performs covers of “Bony Moronie” and “The Swim”.|
(31) The Standells appear on That Regis Philbin Show and perform a cover of The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and one other song.
Standells, late 1964: Tony Valentino, Gary Leeds, Larry Tamblyn and Gary Lane
January (7) The Standells open New Tiger A-Go-Go Room in the Hilton Hotel, San Francisco.
March (18) The Standells appear in episode “Far Out Munsters” for the popular TV programme, The Munsters. After the initial success of “Help Yourself” as a single in Los Angeles, Dodd become the group’s principal lead singer.
On the Munsters, from left: Larry, Tony, Dick and Gary
|April The Standells return to the Tiger-A-Go-Go at San Francisco Hilton Hotel where they are advertised as the “return of the Wild Standells”.|
May (28) The band plays at the Gardon Grove’s Alamitos Intermediate School assembly.
July (12) The Standells appear on Hollywood Discotechque TV show.
August Final Vee-Jay single, “Don’t Say Goodbye”, backed by “Big Boss Man” is released but fails to chart.
October The band is introduced to Ed Cobb, a former member of fifties vocal group, The Four Preps, who is currently working as a freelance producer and songwriter. Cobb is looking for a group to record one of his recent compositions, “Dirty Water”; a song written about a recent experience he had fighting off muggers, while walking with his girlfriend along the River Charles in Boston. He is suitably impressed with The Standells to use them on the track and offers his services to the group as a manager/producer. Shortly after, Cobb is approached by Tower Records (a subsidiary of Capitol), who are eager to obtain a record he has produced for Ketty Lester. Cobb proposes a deal, whereby Tower agree to sign The Standells in return for the Lester single.
November “Dirty Water” is released as a single but is slow to sell. Dodd, who apparently hates the song, leaves the group and is replaced by former Sir Raleigh & The Cupons, drummer/vocalist, Dewey Martin (b. Dewayne Midkiff, September 30, 1940, Chesterville, Ontario, Canada; d. 31 January 2009). The group records a version of “Why Did You Hurt Me” with Martin on lead vocal but it is re-recorded when Dodd rejoins the band a few months later.
December (5) The Standells perform at the Tiger-A-Go-Go in San Mateo, California.
Later Japanese release of “Dirty Water”
Rare Tower promotional photo from 1966, featuring second bassist Dave Burke
February Dodd rejoins the band while they are working San Jose (and after Cobb arranges a summer tour supporting The Rolling Stones). Martin, meanwhile, leaves to join The Dillards, before gaining greater acclaim with The Buffalo Springfield.
(26) Cobb’s “Why Pick On Me?” stalls at US #54.
The Standells in 1967, from left: Larry Tamblyn, Dick Dodd, Tony Valentino and John Fleck
February The first single to feature Fleck on bass is “Try It”, arguably The Standells’ finest record. However, despite becoming an immediate hit in L.A., the record is soon banned by radio stations at the direction of rightwing moral majority radio mogul Gordon McLendon who argues that “Try It” is a blatant request for teenage girls to lose their virginity.
From left: Gordon McLendon, Art Linkletter, Larry Tamblyn, John Fleck, Dick Dodd and Tony Valentino
|May (27) The Standellls appear on Art Linkletter’s TV show, Let’s Talk, debating radio mogul Gordon McLendon, who has been leading the campaign to ban music with “objectionable” lyrics. The Standells handily defeat him. However, after creative editing, it appears the debate was more evenly matched.|
July (5) The Standells support The Doors and The Coasters at Lowell High School Auditorium, La Habra, California.
(23) The group appears on the Shebang TV show with Brenton Wood.
August (26) – September (4) The band performs at the ‘Fort Worth Teen Fair & Mardi Gras Festival’, the Will Rogers Exhibit Building, Fort Worth, Texas.
(5-12) The Standells play at the Ice House in Glendale.
October The Standells’ next release, the R&B/soul single, “Can’t Help But Love You” is a minor hit, peaking at US #78. Tower releases The Standells’ fourth and final album Try It, which doesn’t sell.
November (7) The group appears on the TV show Groovy with The Sunshine Company.
(9) The Standells make a TV appearance on Pat Boone in Hollywood.
December The group appears on the Joey Bishop Show.
(8-9) The Standells perform at the Cheetah, Venice, California with The Hour Glass.
Larry Tamblyn, American Recording Studios, 1967
Live, 1967: Larry Tamblyn, Tony Valentino, Dick Dodd and John Fleck
Late 1967, just before Dick Dodd left the band for a solo career
January (9-14) The Standells are billed to appear at the Ice House in Glendale, California but the shows are postponed until after playing at the Guitar Center in February.
Standells 1969, from left: Larry Tamblyn, Tony Valentino (in front), Bill Daffern (Willie Dee), Tim Smyser, Paul Downing
Tamblyn and Daffern form Chakras with former Knack members Michael Kaplan and Larry Gould with Valentino acting as manager. Reprise releases the Charkras single, “City Buy” c/w “Agnes Vandalism”, both sides of which are written by Michael Kaplan. Daffern leaves and subsequently records with Hunger! and later records with Truk. Tamblyn and Valentino then reform The Standells with English guitarist Paul Downing.
July (7-12) The Standells play at the Beach House, California.
Dodd emerges with Los Angeles group, Joshua, who release an album Willy And The Hand Jive (produced by Ed Cobb) for the independent AVI label.
American indie label Rhino Records releases compilation album The Best Of The Standells. Around the same time Valentino cuts a number of solo demos (but is unable to attract a record deal), before joining Tamblyn and Dodd in a full-scale Standells reunion.
August The Standells perform at the Club Lingerie in Hollywood, the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, a weeklong engagement at Harrah’s in Reno, Nevada, supported by The Fleshtones.
Rhino Records issues second album, Rarities, a collection of rare Standells tracks, including Dodd’s solo releases and the band’s pre-Tower Vee-Jay singles.
Third Rhino release The Best Of The Standells is issued.
Gary Lane rejoins The Standells as they perform at the Las Vegas Grind, Las Vegas, Arizona.
The Tamblyn/Valentino/Dodd/Lane line up play before the Game Two of the World Series.
April (11) The Standells appear at Fenway Park. The band will return the following year for a show on September 8.
Rare EP from Thailand that seems to include a version of “La Bamba” not heard anywhere else – anyone ever heard this version?
|Many thanks to Larry Tamblyn for his personal contributions.|
Bronson, Harold. Sleeve notes to Rhino album, The Best Of The Standells.
Another great resource is: www.newspaperarchive.com/
Some of the scans and photos seen here are on the Standells Facebook page. from the collections of Larry Tamblyn, Thomas Haaland and others.
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2009. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.