The Knickerbockers weren't originally from my home town [Glens Falls, NY], but they got their start there, and when I was 11 or 12 a bunch of us kids used to ride our bikes to this sleazy bar across town and sit out in the parking lot listening to them rehearsing inside - I remember climbing up on a dumpster one afternoon and catching a glimpse of 'em through the window!
While "Lies" was obviously influenced by the Beatles, the Knickerbockers could just as easily crank out letter-perfect Four Seasons and Righteous Brothers imitations... in fact, the second side of their "Lies" album is mostly Righteous Brothers-styled ballads, on which drummer/singer Jimmy Walker imitated Bill Medley's voice so well that Bobby Hatfield chose Walker to replace Medley when the latter left the Righteous Brothers!
The Knicks' knack for imitating nearly anybody flawlessly landed them a slot as the "house band" on "Where The Action Is" covering the hits of the day. Despite the resulting nationwide exposure, their own singles didn't sell diddleysquat; the original foursome split up in late '67, although Beau and John Charles kept the band going until the early 70's.
The major problem was that they were stuck on this rinky-dink label, Challenge, who couldn't promote their records properly - it was a minor miracle that "Lies" made it all the way to #20 considering that Challenge's promo team insisted on pushing the flip side, "The Coming Generation" instead. Anyway, their producer and principal outside songwriter, Jerry Fuller, went on to great success with [retch] Gary Puckett and the Union Gap... and, as I am fond of ranting, "If there had been any justice in this world, Fuller would have taken the Knickerbockers to Columbia with him and left Puckett and his cornball lounge act in some San Diego bowling alley where they belonged... and instead of hearing 'Young Girl' [gag] and 'Lady Willpower' [hurl] incessantly on the oldies stations, you'd hear ace Knickerbockers hits like 'Love Is A Bird' and 'Rumors, Gossip, Words Untrue' instead!!!"
Anyway, you are hereby COMMANDED to pick up Sundazed's 20 Classic Tracks comp, which gathers a lot of their later non-LP singles, including the aforementioned (and indescribably great) "Rumors, Gossip, Words Untrue"... and if you enjoy that, you'll probably like its companion volume The Great Lost Knickerbockers Album. That's
Sundazed... or check out their webpage: http://www.sundazed.com/Sunhome.html
P.O. Box 85
Coxsackie, NY 12051
Someday there'll be a lot more Knickerbockers songs here:
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