The band was formed in 1962 by guitarist Tony Valentino and organist Larry Tamblyn. After the addition of vocalist & drummer Dick Doddand 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 Threatand 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 formerMouseketeer. 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, they were signed by Liberty and issued an album "The Standells In Person At P.J.'s" in 1964. After having no success with Liberty they recorded one single for Linda Records, then signed to Vee Jay in 1965 for two singles and to MGM for one single. When they signed to Capitol, their first single on Tower was "Dirty Water", which became a hit.
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 televisionsitcom 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.
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!