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Standells bio-correction, charts, hits...and more
Letter from Gordan McLendon, warning the recording industry not to play records with raunchy lyrics. "Try It" was his target. Even though Gordo had a shady past (which I cannot go into detail on, but we can say he was an acquaintance of Jack Ruby's), he managed to destroy what was penned by Billboard magazine to be the Standells next hit record.
´ Bout the video. . .
"Big Boss Man" performed by the Standells on the TV show "Shivaree".
As you can tell, this is a hard driving rock song with the same chord structure and almost the exact harmonica solo as "Dirty Water". The 45 record was released by VJ Records in early 1965, months before the Standells met Ed Cobb and recorded "Dirty W ...ater". "Big Boss Man" provides further proof that, unlike what many falsely have claimed, Cobb did not seriously alter the direction of Standells music.
This misinformation can actually be traced to the liner notes of the early Rhino Records Standells re-releases such as "The Very Best of the Standells" (1981-1984). The Standells were not approached when these notes were created; only Ed Cobb's company AVI Records was contacted. As the story went, the Standells were a clean cut prep rock group before hooking up with Cobb, at which time he completely changed their image and sound. The story painted Cobb as more than just the Standells producer; it claimed he also booked the group and hardened their image - he was their 'Svengali'.
This was unadulterated bullshit.
In truth, Cobb was only a producer; nothing more. As far as the assertion that Cobb hardened the group's clean cut image; this was fairytale, totally invented by AVI Records. This is evidenced by the early 1964 photo of the Standells with long hair (Photos, Standells 1963-1969). The photo was taken almost TWO Years before the Standells were introduced to Cobb. The fact is, the Standells were the first American rock group to grow long hair! They had done so after seeing photos of the Beatles in European magazines (before they became huge sensations in the U.S).
Unfortunately, in order to work at PJ's nightclub in 1965, the Standells were forced to trim their mop tops. At the time, PJ's would not tolorate long hair on groups. Their policy was also not to allow groups to play their own original songs - thus the criticism that the Standells were 'only a cover band' (So were the Beatles when they played clubs). In fact, after leaving PJ's in 1966, the Standells began to grow their hair back out (not at Ed Cobb's direction) and perform much of their original music on stage.
Most of the Standells bios on the internet today are derived not from the Standells, but from the dribble witten by Cobb's company. The Standells have repeatedly tried to correct the false information, but it seems to fall on deaf ears. So if you have the opportunity to read one of these faux bios (especially by Richie Unterberger), please feel free to voice your complaint!
Again...big thanks to Gary Schneider-
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