The Hangmen

Oldest known pic of the original Hangmen with first bass player Mike (Walters) West

The Hangmen formed at Montgomery Junior College, and included bassist Mike West and rhythm guitarist George Daly. They were joined by fellow students Tom Guernsey and Bob Berberich, whose previous group the Reekers, dispersed when other members went away to college.

Looking for a vocalist, George Daly called the British Embassy asking for someone who was British and could sing! The person he talked to referred him to a girl who could sing, who in turn recommended Dave Ottley, a hairdresser for Vincent Hair Stylists who had been in the U.S. for two years at that time. Variously reported in articles about the Hangmen as being from Liverpool or London, Ottley was actually from Glasgow, Scotland.

First press on the group, from the Washington Evening Star of April 3, 1965.
The Hangmen lose a battle of the bands at the Shirlington Shopping Center to the Shadows.

In early summer of ’65, the band’s managers Larry Sealfon and Mike Klavens played “What a Girl Can’t Do” for Fred Foster of Monument Records. Lillian Claiborne graciously released Tom from his contract with her and Foster signed him – only Tom as he was the songwriter and leader of the Reekers.

Since Joe Triplett and Mike Henley were committed to college, Tom decided, against his own preferences, to work with the Hangmen as his band. Monument then released the Reekers’ recordings of “What a Girl Can’t Do” and “The Girl Who Faded Away” under the Hangmen’s name, even though only Tom and Bob Berberich had played on them.

The Reekers – “The Girl Who Faded Away” (Edgewood acetate)

Some sources report that the Hangmen rerecorded the “The Girl Who Faded Away” for the Monument 45.
A close listen shows that the Hangmen’s Monument 45 version is actually the same recording as the Reekers’ original Edgewood acetate, except that the acetate had a long ending that was cut from the Monument 45. Confusion also exists about “What a Girl Can’t Do”. The Monument 45 version released under the Hangmen’s name is the Reekers. In 1966 the Hangmen recorded their own version of the song for their LP, which sounds much different.

Arnold Stahl, a lawyer, and Mike Klavans of WTTG formed 427 Enterprises to promote the band. Their connections landed gigs for the Hangmen in embassies and a mention in Newsweek. One memorable event was playing a party for Robert Kennedy’s family and getting drunk in their kitchen!

Despite these connections, the Hangmen were still primarily a suburban band, playing for kids at parties and shopping malls but not getting into the clubs like the big DC acts like the British Walkers and the Chartbusters. This would change as the Monument 45 of “What a Girl Can’t Do” started gaining momentum locally.

Algerian Ambassador and Cherif Guellal (in tux) and former Miss America Yolande Fox to his left, with Dave Ottley on the far right and Tom Guernsey behind Yolande, 1966. Photo by Frank Hoy.

Billboard, 2/19/66: Hangmen Cause ‘Swingalong’

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Jack Shaver, owner of Giant Record Shop, said last week a mob of teen-agers turned out to hear The Hangmen (4) and when police cleared the store because the crowd created a fire hazard a near-riot ensued.

Shaver said browser bins and display cases were smashed and two girls and a boy fainted during the chaos. He said damage was estimated at $500.

Shaver said The Hangmen are from the nearby Washington area and are local favorites. He said he had sold about 2,500 copies of their single, ‘”What a Girl Can’t Do”‘, on Monument, and it was No. 1 on local charts.

He said school was out that day because of snow and the store began filling up at noon for the 4 p.m. show. He estimated 400 ‘were jammed and packed’ inside and some 1,500 were outside.

Shaver said traffic was snarled, police came, declared the gathering a fire hazard and began clearing the store. He said The Hangmen had been playing 15 minutes at the time and it took half an hour to disperse the crowd.

Shaver said he had had record stars perform at his store before, including Johnny Rivers, Johnny Tillotson, Peter and Gordon, and Ramsey Lewis, ‘but they never created anything like this.’

He said he did not have insurance to cover the loss.

The Hangmen, May 1966.

“What a Girl Can’t Do” knocked the Beatles’ We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper out of the top spot of the charts for Arlington radio station WEAM on Feb. 7, 1966. On a national level, though, Monument wasn’t doing enough to promote the 45. “What a Girl Can’t Do” remained only a local hit. Their best opportunity had been wasted, but from their perspective as the top band in the D.C. area, success seemed certain.

Tom chose to quit college when an offer to play the Jerry Blavat TV show coincided with his final exams in late 1966. On the show, the Hangmen played “What a Girl Can’t Do” then backed the Impressions on a version of “Money”. (If anyone has a copy of this, please get in touch!) The Hangmen played all along the east coast from New York down to Florida, doing shows with the Animals, Martha Reeves, the Yardbirds, the Count Five, the Dave Clark Five and the Shangri-Las among others. Tom remembers Link Wray coming up on stage during a Hangmen show, borrowing a guitar and launching into a long version of Jack the Ripper. Link played solo after solo while Tom’s arm nearly fell off trying to keep up the rhythm!

Profile of the Hangmen in the May 8, 1966 Sunday magazine of the Washington Evening Star:

First page
Second and third pages

The Hangmen recorded a fine follow up, “Faces”, and this time Monument put some money into promotion, taking out a full page ad in the trade magazines. Propelled by fuzz guitar and a heavy bass line, “Faces” is a tough garage number with a fine vocal by Ottley. Tom points out that the song finishes quite a bit faster than it starts, making it difficult for those on the dance floor to keep up! The flip is another Guernsey/Daly original, “Bad Goodbye”, which features studio musician Charlie McCoy on harmonica.

By this time Mike West had left the band and Paul Dowell plays bass on “Faces”. After its release, Ottley moved to London and was replaced by Tony Taylor. The Hangmen went into Monument Studios in Nashville to record their album Bittersweet. Remakes of “What a Girl Can’t Do” and “Faces” on the album fall flat compared to the 45 versions. Monument pushed the band into recording a version of “Dream Baby”, produced by Buzz Cason and released as the A-side of their last 45. The band does a good job with a slamming beat and catchy guitar and sitar sounds, but I can’t help but feel it’s not the right song for the band.

I prefer some of the other album tracks, like their extended psychedelic version of “Gloria”, the tough sounds of “Isn’t That Liz” and “Terrible Tonight”, the delicate “Everytime I Fall in Love”, and “I Want to Get to Know You”, which sounds something like the Lovin’ Spoonful.

An announcement in the May 17, 1967 edition of the Star Ledger said that the Hangmen had changed their name to The Button to pursue further psychedelic stylings. Paul Dowell and George Daly were already out of the group and replaced by Alan Flower, who had been bassist for the Mad Hatters, and George Strunz. By June Tom Guernsey had left the band to be replaced by John Sears, and the group were being billed as “The Button, formerly The Hangmen.”

Relocating to New York, the Button cut an unreleased session for RCA and played at Steve Paul’s The Scene on West 46th St. and at the Cafe Au Go Go on Bleeker. Berberich left the band leaving Tony Taylor as the only one of the Hangmen still in the group. They band changed its name to Graffiti, recording for ABC.

Meanwhile, Tom Guernsey produced a legendary 45 for the D.C. band the Piece Kor, “All I Want Is My Baby” / “Words of the Raven”. He also wrote, produced and played on a great 45 by another Montgomery County band, the Omegas, “I Can’t Believe”. For the Omegas’ session, Tom played guitar and piano, Leroy Otis drums, and Joe Triplett sang, with backing vocals by the Jewels.

Bob Berberich briefly drummed with The Puzzle then joined George Daly and Paul Dowell in Dolphin a group that featured the young Nils Lofgrin. Berberich stayed with Lofgrin through Grin, while Paul Dowell of Hangmen became equipment manager for the Jefferson Airplane, and George Daly went on to A&R with Elektra Records.

Tom Guernsey deserves a special word of thanks for giving his time to answer my many questions, and also for loaning me the Evening Star magazine.

List of original releases:

The Hangmen

What a Girl Can’t Do / The Girl Who Faded Away – Monument 910, released Nov. 1965
Faces / Bad Goodbye – Monument 951, released June 1966
Dream Baby / Let It Be Me – Monument 983, released 1966

LP: Bittersweet – Monument SLP 18077, released 1966


Tom Guernsey passed away on October 3, 2012 in Portland, Oregon, followed less than two months later by David Ottley, on November 27, 2012.

from left: Tom Guernsey, George Daly, Dave Ottley (center with white shirt), and Paul Dowell

Billboard, July 9, 1966

59 thoughts on “The Hangmen”

  1. I am feeling the vibe! Bring it on back home to me now! Right up there with do wops and the Beatles! Vintage …………….. We are ready!


    What a girl can do!

  2. That CRAZY Tommy G is still alive and well in PORTLAND OREGON! As a close personal friend I can only say, rock-on with your nutty self crazy Tom. Soon I,(the Kreeky-One) will join you in the wild wild West to raise the night of the living dead and go on to senior fame (with out that slippery George D.)and small potatoes fortune! OH HAIL ROCK N ROLL!

  3. The Hangmen! When I was in early high school, my best friend and her big sister and some friend of theirs were Hangmen groupies, and I went with them once or twice by bus from suburban Virginia to Georgetown to try to hang out with the band at some club on M Street on Saturday afternoons. They were very nice to us.

    I can’t remember whether I ever heard them play live, but I bought Bittersweet (almost certainly at Giant Music, which I had forgotten about until I read that report), and played it constantly. Wish I could get hold of a copy now–I would love to know how it would hold up. I might have to buy it off For now, the mp3s will have to do. I haven’t played them yet, but I still remember the tune and a lot of the words to to “What a Girl Can’t Do.”

  4. The man who snapped the photo of the Hangmen in the cemetery is Robert J. Hoy. He is still alive and would be thrilled to talk with you. It was Hoy’s idea to pose the fellows in the cemetery, to fit the theme of Hangmen, a deathly sort of image. The Evening Star got a lot of flack from its readers at the time, who interpreted this as somewhat sacreligious. It was not Hoy’s intent to be sacreligious, but that is how some readers took it.

    Mr. web meister, please email me back, offline, I will be glad to give you Bob Hoy’s cell phone number. Hoy doesn’t have a computer, but he’ll love to see this. He has told me many times of this photo session, plus he actually saw the Hangmen play some gigs and he interacted a bit with the band members, particularly the English singer. He had a good rapport with them.

  5. Chas,

    Thanks for the page. I was hip to the Hangmen, but had never heard of the Reekers, and didn’t know much history. I just dug out my Hangmen singles. I have “Girl,” and “Faces,” as well as the “Bittersweet” LP. Thanks for the MP3s. Now I don’t have to bother trying to digitize mine.

    Bob Berberich is playing out in a band these days called, funnily enough, Ottley. His bandmates are Marshall Keith and Martha Hull, both of DC garage stalwarts The Slickee Boys, who included their cover of “What a Girl Can’t Do” on their first EP, “Hot and Cool,” back in 1976.

    Arnold Stahl, the Hangmen’s manager had two sons, Pete and Franz, who went on to form the harDCore band Scream, and LA rock band Wool. Pete has worked as a roadie for Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, and Franz played guitar for them for a while.

    Was that pic of the Hangmen taken at Oak Hill Cemetery? That’s what it looks like. The one right at the northern end of Georgetown, next to Dumbarton Oaks. If you contact Robert Hoy, please ask.


    Tommy B

    DJ Tommy B
    Box 50186
    Washington, DC 20091-0186

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    / /___/ === `””””””‘ II `w \

  6. More updates on the Reekers!

    I went and saw the Rosslyn Mountain Boys last night, and picked up a CD compilation of the Reekers!! It’s on a label called Sweet Breeze, out of Portland, Oregon, and it looks relatively legit, but it’s clearly a CD-R, not a silver, and it has no catalog number.

    It includes the singles, which are clearly mastered from vinyl copies, and may be the first release of “What a Girl Can’t Do,” properly attributed to the Reekers, who actually recorded the version released on the Monument 45, and attributed to the Hangmen.

    It’s got 18 Reekers tracks. Track 10 is listed as “Don’t Call Me Flyface (1976).” I’m assuming it was recorded in 1976, along with tracks 11-18 but the liner notes don’t specify.

    The disc ends with no fewer than six cover versions of “What a Girl Can’t Do,” by the Rosslyn Mountain Boys, the Hangmen, the Nighthawks, the Lyres, the Slickee Boys, and BBQ & The All-Star Canned Heat Band.

    It’s called “Meet the Reekers, and the cover is an homage to “Meet the Beatles.” The booklet is four pages, and has, funnily enough, most of the Hangmen photos you dredged up for this page. There’s an insert with liner notes, that appear to be fake quotes from books about the band. One of them is ostensibly pulled from page 427 of a book called “I Never Promised you a Rock Band,” by I.M. Peened. Wasn’t Arnold Stahl’s management company called 427 Enterprises?

    Bob Berberich confirmed the cemetery photo was taken at Oak Hill Cemetery in northern Georgetown, and that his new band Ottley is indeed named for the Hangmen’s British lead singer, who was apparently a real winner with the band’s female fan base, in spite of his outrageous slovenliness.

    Here’s the address on the record, if anyone wants to track down a copy:

    Sweet Breeze Records
    3722 S.E. 68th Avenue
    Portland, OR 97206


    Tommy B

  7. Thank you for this page. I was around at the time at MJC. I was couple years younger. I remember seeing their hearse with the “Hangmen” sign on it and these charismatic looking picturesque characters unloading their equipment on M Street.

    Also, I knew Joe Triplett from when he was in Jr. High School. I saw him singing with the Crew Cuts at Western Jr. High when I was in 7th grade. He was always a very fun guy and performer.

  8. Bob Hoy used to work with my Dad. He also produced a record album, one side of it having songs that he wrote himself. The band was New River Express. Their own covers were on the other side. Bob printed 1000 lp’s of his album, I think. I think he had 700 still in his possession in about 1981. It was called “The Land Is Ours”.

  9. Hello there, my Father is David Ottley who sang “What a girl Can’t do” for the Hangmen. Just to clarify, he was born and raised in Glasgow and then moved to London. He then came to the USA and stayed for 5-6 years and then moved back to England. Not sure that Liverpool ever came into the picture at all. I now live in Atlanta and have been here for 15 years, not quite the rock’n’roll star my Dad was but it is fun to hear other things about what went on.



    1. Hi, my name is Morag and David Ottley was my cousin. We only met up about 2 years before he died. He will be sadly missed. Great sense of humour.

  10. Back in the 60’s there was a Canadian band from Peterborough, Ontario called “The Hangman.” Founding members include Bobby Watson and Buzz Thompson. They changed their name to “Max Mouse and the Gorillas. Both Watson and Thompson went on to a great career in music. Watson moving to the U.S. to play the blues on Beale Street and Thompson as a sideman for Ronnie Hawkins.

  11. I’m trying to locate Paul Dowell who played bass for the Hangmen.
    He was a fixture of 60’s Georgetown (and musical mentor).
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Rick Patterson

  12. I was also a big fan of the Hangmen and saw them live several times. I seem to remember Joe Triplett was the lead singer for the band Claude Jones some years later. I don’t remeber seeing the Crewcuts but I did go the Western Junior High for three years (1963-1966). Your name sounds familiar so we may have been there at the same time.

  13. Just received “Meet The Reekers” CD from CD Baby and it’s a bit different from the one Tommy B described. The well done CD-R contains 15 Reekers tracks but, alas, none are “What A Girl Can’t Do”. “The Girl Who Faded Away” is also sadly missing. The disc does close with the 5 covers of “What A Girl Can’t Do” – the 6th (The Hangmen’s) is MIA.

    The disc is also on Sweet Breeze but there’s no date. I assume this is a later release than the one Tom described.

    I spent my high school days in Washington DC at St. Johns College High and was a huge Hangmen fan. Got turned onto the band by Bob Berberich, god love him though, I’ll admit, I had no idea as to all the history.

    I’ve still got “Bittersweet” but have played it to death. I’m not real crazy about the mixes of the 2 singles but it’s better than nothing. Does anyone out there know if there’s ever been a CD release and where I might find it?


  14. My brother, Ron Oberman, wrote the weekly music column in the Washington Star from 1964 through 1966 including the Reekers Story. From 1967 to 1973, I wrote the column (including a piece on the Bedforde Set…I went to school with Lewis Miller). I also managed two seminal DC bands (among others), both featuring Joe Triplett on Vocals–Claude Jones and later The Rosslyn Mountain Boys. Feel free to email me for more info. Great site.
    Michael Oberman

  15. Whatever happened to The Mystery Band? Is any of their music on the internet? I’d love to hear some, especially with Connie Sprague singing. Ditto Claude Jones Band.

  16. After a 20+ year run, the Mystery Band finally fell victim to geography: first, Barbara Santoro moved to Nashville–we’d fly her up for gigs–but when Jay and Connie Sprague moved to the west coast, the logistics became impossible. Our last gig was at my surprise 60th birthday party in October of 2004, a touching and memorable end to a great run by a great band. Just to tie it all up in one neat package, the party was engineered by Barbara Roybal, who was originally married to Reekers/Hangmen drummer Bob Berberich!

    1. Ten years later, for my 70th birthday party (again produced by Barbara Roybal, October 2014) my beloved friends in the Mystery Band came together to perform a short set. We were hot as ever!



  19. I’m with you, I’m also living in Fl and would love a Hangman reunion, but I want Dave to be the singer. It amazed me how a guy could move on stage but could only slow dance on the dance floor. I only knew the band briefly, but was awestruck on Dave. Funny he never mentioned he was married. Anyone know how he is these days? Are there any records available that he is singing on? I’d love a copy. Peace and happiness to all, LaVerne

  20. The great Tom Guernsey passed away on October 3, 2012 in Portland, Oregon, as a result of ALS. He will be much missed by the music communities of Portland and, especially, Washington DC and environs. His rock ‘n’ roll legacy will live on!

  21. In the spring of 1967 my best two friends and I went to Old Macs in Georgetown for a few weeks and saw The Button. I remember the band was very tight, played a few originals, and a Beatles song or two (“If I Needed Someone”) and were very very good. Here is the weird thing, the MC who introduced them said that they were going to NYC the next week to be on the Danny Thomas Show….and I always wondered if they actually did because I tuned the show on, as instructed, and not a whiff of the Button. Nice memory…they were very very good.


  22. Dear Friends, I am heartbroken to share with you the news that Dave Ottley died today (11/27/12)

    His family and friends were with him when he passed. It was peaceful, and I’m sure he would want me to share with you that he loved his music friends and his time in the business was a happy one.

  23. David Ottley was my beloved partner for 11 years before his death in November. He was a truly wonderful man but was very modest about his achievements and adventures. I would love to hear from ANYONE who knew him back in the days of The Hangmen.

    1. Barbara: I’m so sad to hear of David’s passing, I hope you’ve received responses to your request for information about him during his Hangman days as I know there are many who knew and remember him well.

      I can still picture him as though it was yesterday standing on stage singing “Gloria” for all he was worth. A cherished memory.

      He was a great singer who shook a mean tamborine! He had tons of talent and even more personality, as I’m sure you know. He was funny and always made us laugh no matter what may have been happening in our melodramatic teen-aged lives. David was just fun!

      There was talk a few years ago of a possible Hangman reunion and even of asking David to return to sing. Now, with Tom and David’s passing, we can now only imagine what great event that would’ve been. I’m convinced mobs would’ve turned out to see them again. 🙂

      I hope that David had a wonderful life. I’ll always treasure my memories of him from long long ago. He was truly one of a kind.

  24. I met Tony Taylor in Nashville in 1981 and have been friends with him since. Many long nights and early mornings sitting in his loft listening and playing music and hearing him talk of the sixties really gave me a perspective that few, other than those that were actually there, have.
    It was truly a time that will never be repeated. Musicians playing instruments and singers actually singing….what a concept!

  25. Somewhere around the summer of 1965, the Hangmen played at a party in my basement in Four Corners Md, a small suburb of Silver Spring. George Daly was a friend of my brother and I who lived right down the street. We asked if he would play a we were having and he cheerfully accepted to bring the band. We lived in a fairly small house and the crowd that showed up was overwhelming…….nuts and pure fun, and an experience that I will never forget. I would also like say RIP to Dave Ottley and Tom Guernsey, two talented guys. God bless!

  26. My label, WINDIAN RECORDS has cleared rights to reissue the mono version of the “Bitter Sweet” LP, set to be released in March. We are really excited about it, especially being a DC label and I wish Tom and Dave were still here to this finally happen. I would still very much love to hear from anyone connected with the band to share stories, and photos. My contact is

    1. Hi, Travis: This is great news. I would, however, just like to note that Dave Ottley unfortunately did not perform on Bittersweet. He had already left the group by then and had been replaced by Tony Taylor.

      For Dave Ottley fans, the album truly was Bittersweet. But an excellent album, nonetheless.


      1. It’s so good to see people still posting messages about David (Dave) Ottley. It’s more than a year since he passed and I miss him more now than ever. I would love to hear from anyone who knew him back in the 60’s. Every mention of him brings him alive if only for a few seconds.

        I met him in 2001, many years after The Hangmen. He had led quite a life after his time with the band. We settled down together and even later in his life he was the funniest man ever. His attitude to life was amazing and his courage throughout his illness was awe inspiring.

  27. I remember when my friend and I went to see The Hangmen in Annapolis(1966-67). Somehow, I don’t remember that part, we ended up riding back to the Tacoma Park Mr. Peanut Shoppe to where they lived(on top of there). That was on the back of motorcycles no less. I was on the back w/ George Daly and my friend was w/ Tom Guernsey. Bless him as he is gone now-what a lovely guy. That friend lives near Portland, Oregon were Tom spent his last years. George kept telling me to lean into the turns as I was very afraid, he was going so fast. That friend told me that another time she was with them(The Hangmen) that Nils Lofgren was there and wanted to go home. We were very involved with the Washington, D. C. Rock and Roll scene then; Grin, The Hangmen, Crank, Cherry People and Appaloosa(Baltimore). We were know around town as the “Little Sisters”, very harmless for that time. I STILL HAVE MY HANGMEN SINGLES!!!

  28. The Hangmen influenced MY music, and Tom’s guitar playing ALSO influenced me . . . when I was fifteen yrs old !!! 🙂

  29. Dear Barbara Lewis,

    I put my email address in the form on this web site. If you want to send an email to Bob Hoy, the guy who shot the “graveyard” shot of THE HANGMEN, I’ll be happy to send that to you. He would love to tell you what he remembers about Dave Ottley. He was a very fun-loving man, helped folks let loose and enjoy life. That, along with his stage persona, is a great legacy. Americans are as stodgy in their own way as he viewed the Scots of the 1960s. America seems to have drifted into a boring, post-industrial phase of yuppie-ism, meddling in other people’s affairs, and being a “financial center”, with banks, credit card companies and shady Wall Street hucksters. I loved it when America made rock n roll, sturdy cars and honest products.

    The web meister is welcome to give you both my email address. God bless the legacy of Dave Ottley. I am an amateur tune writer and am involved with an oldies band that plays WHAT A GIRL CAN’T DO as part of its repertoire.

    1. Hi Kit

      This is great news for me and I would love to communicate with Bob Hoy to see what he remembers of my beloved David (Dave) Ottley.

      I loved your comments – so true what you say about America now.

      Kindest regards

      Barbara Lewis

  30. Barbara Lewis,

    This is Bob Hoy! You can get my email address from the web master.
    You can also contact him at assuming his email address is the same as it was back in 2007. You can email me directly at RobertHoy AT Gmail DOT com
    I spaced it apart to prevent spammers from grabbing it. I would love to converse with you about David Ottley. My condolences are offered to you on his passing. I just learned that he passed away yesterday. God rest his soul.

    Best Regards,
    Bob Hoy

  31. Recollection of a fan:
    One of those days when a song/group pops into your mind. I wondered what ever happened to The Hangmen. Now I know. Was in Jr. High, Col Joseph Belt, to be exact, in Wheaton at that time. We had something for teens at the time on Friday evening called, strangely enough, Teen Club in the cleared out cafeteria of the school. Teachers chaperoned and parents were our taxis. The kids behaved and always had a great time dancing, drinking sodas and yacking. We tried to get a live band at least once a month and as I recall we actually got The Hangmen once. I bought the 45 with ‘What A Girl Can’t Do’ when it came out on the Monument label. Do remember that they drove around in a hearse. Radical at the time. Seem to remember St. Catherine Laboure always getting first shot booking the band meaning if they played for us it likely only happened once. They were tremendously popular and it was cool to have a local band ‘make it’. How many years ago? Forgot how to count that high…(sigh).

  32. Just checking in to say I’ve met with Bob Berberich, drummer on WHAT A GIRL CAN’T DO recording. He and his wife, Martha Hull, own and operate Vinyl Acres, a vinyl record and music shop in Frederick, MD. Bob is a great fellow, sends good vibes to many people.

  33. Hey everyone, my small DC-based label “WINDIAN RECORDS” has put out “WHAT A GIRL CAN’T DO” b/w “THE GIRL WHO FADED AWAY” back on 45! We worked with Sony since they own Monument’s catalogue, but my partner and I were in contact with members of the band, and Bob (the drummer) currently has some stock of the 45 at his awesome shop in Frederick, MD.

    The 45 was mastered from the original Monument tapes by Vic Anesini (Battery Studios), and it sounds AWESOME! If this one does well, we are going to put out FACES as well.

    Check us out at, enjoy the tunes!

  34. I also have great memories of the Hangmen…I use to go to all their shows at the Alexandra roller rink, the Rabbitfoot in Georgetown just to mention a few…since I was 18 and could get into the places I took care of the fan club…passing out pictures and having people to sign up….it was crazy and we all had a great time…would love to know how they all are doing now…

  35. Does anyone remember that the Hangmen lived in Greenbelt, MD? I remember I was a little girl when I met them, they lived on Ridge Road.

  36. I have the Mono version of “Bittersweet” still sealed in plastic and framed. When I ran into Bob Berberich when he was playing drums for the “VI-Kings” I mentioned that and he asked if it had then sticker that said “The Hangmen play Mosrite guitars exclusively”. I said that it did in fact have that sticker still on the plastic. He kind of smiled and said they never played Mosrite guitars. I also had the stereo version that had seen better days, but digitized it, cleaned up the sound a bit and now have a great personal CD to play.

  37. I’m sad to say that, up here in Canada …we never had the opportunity to hear “The Hangmen” and that just sucks……this is a band, that if I seen their tunes on the “Chum Chart” I’d have a 45 or two of their material today.
    It was pretty neat to read the band’s story. The shared the stage with my favourite hard pop group…”The Animals”. They placed at number 1 ahead of “The Beatles” in Arlingtom in Feb. 1966 number 1 here in Canada was “Petula Clark with My Love” at that time. I’m sorry that I never had experienced the fun and joy back in 66′ but, truly appreciate the listening pleasure today. Thank you guys. “Strickly” 60’s

  38. Rummaging through my old footlocker, lo and behold, I found 3 small black and white promo photos of The Hangmen: individual shots of Dave Ottley and Tom Guernsey, plus a group shot with a noose hanging in the background. Also have a couple of color snapshots that I took of the group performing at St. John The Baptist in White Oak on January 19, 1966. I followed these guys everywhere, although I think they lost a lot when Dave split. Their covers of early Stones tunes (which were themselves covers of Chuck Berry and others) were incredible.
    Growing up in the DC ‘burbs during mid- to late-60s was amazing, musically.
    The Nowhere Men, The El Corals w/Little Wimpy and the El Coralettes, The Newports, The British Walkers, Flavor, and so many many more. I really had to marshal my pennies and stay on my good behavior so I would be allowed to attend one dance a week – two if I played my cards right. It was a blessing to have lived there then.

  39. Wow! Great to find this site. I took guitar lessons for a while from Tom at his little (2nd floor) studio on Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring in the early 70’s. He would play samples of “Don’t Call Me Fly Face”, which was new at the time. I also carried their equipment for them one night while they played on the Odyssey cruise ship on the Potomac in D.C. Interesting night for a 17 year old! Tom was SUCH a nice guy! $5 per half-hour was a steal! I still listen to “What a Girl Can’t Do” on my iPod…what a great driving rhythm! I think I heard Bob Berberach (sp?) has a record store in Frederick, MD.

  40. I am from Alexandria, Virginia and in the fraternity Chi Sigma Phi – our President was a great fan of the Hangmen, as were we all. Every year we would have a huge formal dance at the Washingtonian, downtown D.C. and the Hangmen would perform every year I was there. The curtains were drawn and you would hear the drummer kick off “What a Girl Can’t Do” – then Tom’s guitar would come in and the curtains would slowly roll back exposing the band – then as soon as all the members were visible – Tony would cut loose “Hey listen here Girl I want to talk to you now!” – It was electric – that was just over 50 years ago ( I’m 68 now) but I still remember it was yesterday- It was a moment 😎 (Just a fun fact – this was a high school fraternity – from Hammond HS – and I doubled dated with another frat brother Jack Ford – the minority whip’s son from Michigan)

  41. The Hangmen were something! If you would like to see some live pictures of the Hangmen playing on stage at Fort Hunt High School, in south Alexandria VA, check out the Fort Hunt High School year book 1966-67. Great photos of the band on the stage of the gym. Drummer Bob has the same shirt on that he wears on the LP cover! Fort Hunt High always had great DC bands during my days there from 1966 to 1970. Nils Lofgren played there with Paul Dowel and the Dolphin the year after the Hangmen, Bobby Howard after that, and in the 1969/70 school year Randy California and Spirit played on the same gym stage. We had it rocking! Photos of all these shows are in the Fort Hunt year books from those years. And then there was all the other bands playing between those shows. Great stuff.

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