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The Knickerbockers

In the wake of the British Invasion, plenty of American bands wished they could make like the Beatles, at least in terms of record sales. But from a musical standpoint, no one sounded quite so much like the Fab Four as the Knickerbockers on their biggest hit, 1965's "Lies," which brilliantly captured the sound of the Beatles' early period with its enthusiastic harmonies and tough but melodic guitar lines. While the band never quite repeated the feat, for years pranksters passed "Lies" off as a rare Beatles track to unsuspecting music buffs, and the group earned a cult following from fans of first-era garage rock. Hailing from Bergenfield, New Jersey, the Knickerbockers were formed in 1962 by Robert Cecchino and John Carlos Cecchino, two brothers who respectively used the stage named Beau Charles and John Charles. With Beau on guitar and vocals and John on bass and vocals, many different musicians passed through the group before it solidified in 1964 with Buddy Randell (born William Crandall) on vocals and saxophone (he previously played with the Royal Teens, who scored a major hit in 1958 with "Short Shorts") and Jimmy Walker (ex-the Castle Kings) on drums. The band landed a record deal with Challenge Records, and its first single, "All I Need Is You" b/w "Bite Bite Barracuda," was released in 1964. The single didn't generate much airplay, and the follow-up, "Jerktown" b/w "Room for One More," fared no better, but the group put out two albums in its first year on Challenge, an album of covers tied into The Lloyd Thaxton Show and Jerk & Twine Time, with the band hopping on the dance craze bandwagon.

In late 1965, "Lies" b/w "The Coming Generation" changed the game for the band; between the forceful tune and Randell's Lennon-esque vocals, "Lies" was eagerly embraced by radio and rose to number 20 on the singles charts, with the group's third album, Lies, appearing shortly after. Several months later, the Knickerbockers dropped another great single, "One Track Mind" b/w "I Must Be Doing Something Right," which topped out at number 46, but their next effort, "High on Love" b/w "Stick with Me," barely made it into the Hot 100, stalling out at number 94, and Challenge was unable to push their product to radio or in the marketplace. The Knickerbockers' last single for Challenge, "A Matter of Fact" b/w "They Ran for Their Lives," was released with little notice in 1968, and the label stopped releasing new material a year later. As the group's profile faded, the lineup shifted; Jimmy Walker moved on in 1967, replacing Bill Medley in the Righteous Brothers, while Buddy Randell left a few months later. The Charles brothers soon hit the road with a new lineup, featuring new members Richie Walker on vocals, Eric Swanson on drums, and Barry McCoy on keyboards; Randell rejoined the band in 1968, but left again in 1970. By 1971, Beau and John Charles set off in a different musical direction, teaming with singer Ritchie Costanza and drummer Eric Swanson to form a country-rock group called Lodi, who recorded one album for Motown's MoWest subsidiary before splitting up in 1972. The same year Lodi flamed out, "Lies" was included on Lenny Kaye's influential compilation album Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968, and in time fans of '60s garage rock would celebrate the Knickerbockers as one of the great bands of the era, with celebrated reissue label Sundazed Records restoring much of their catalog to print in the '90s. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Knickerbockerism! Hits, Rarities, Unissued Cuts And More...

Disc 1

1. Lies

2. Just One Girl

3. I Can Do It Better

4. Come On And Let Me

5. One Track Mind

6. I Must Be Doing Something Right

7. Can't You See I'm Tryin'

8. Please Don't Fight

9. She Said Goodbye

10. Give A Little Bit

11. We Got A Good Thing Goin'

12. Is That What You Want

13. The Pad And How To Use It

14. Playgirl

15. Like Little Children

16. Bite Bite Barracuda

17. Lies (Alt. Backing Track)

18. Harlem Nocturne (Alt. Take)

Disc 2

1. Stick With Me

2. High On Love

3. Rumors Gossip Words Untrue

4. Love Is A Bird

5. She's Gotten To Me

6. I Love

7. Chapel In The Fields

8. Can You Help Me

9. Please Don't Love Him

10. You're Bad

11. Guaranteed Satisfaction

12. Sweet Green Fields

13. What Does That Make You

14. As A Matter Of Fact

15. My Feet Are Off The Ground

16. They Run For Their Lives

17. Come And Get It

18. High On Love (Alt. Backing Track)

Comments

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I LOVE THE OR music.
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They also recorded The Jolly Green Giant
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I thought there would be more info on this band, where they came from, who they were and where they went. The GingerAllen comment is what I knew and "Lies" was a good song. -- Bob
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mccabewillia m
Buddy Randall, the Charles Bro., and Jimmy Walker, 4 of the most talented musicians to ever assemble. their recording of "Harlem Nocturn" (not sure of the spelling) featuring Buddy on sax was fantastic. If you remember the hit song "Short Shorts" the sax was Buddy at age 14. I have many memories of these guys playing the Albany NY and Lake George area. They rocked!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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The Knickerbocke r s were a 60's group. One hit wonder "Lies"l
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lunchman123
there is a mix-up here. this group "the Knickerbocke r s " playing "manhattan" is not the 60's group the Knickerbocke r s .
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Great "1.5 Hits Wonder."
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Love their follow-up "One Track Mind."
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They also cloned The Righteous Brothers...
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atonyspamoni p r o d
Kick a** mosrite guitars,new jersey italian soul all the way
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Not bad for a Beatles clone...

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