The Knickerbockers

The Knickerbockers

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Knickerbockers

Img_Capt = The Knickerbockers
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = Bergenfield, New Jersey
Genre = Pop
Rock and roll
Years_active = 1964 – 1970
Label = Challenge Records
Associated_acts =
URL = [ The Knickerbockers]

Past_members = Buddy Randell (vocals/saxophone/drums) (1964-1967; 1968-1970; 1990) Beau Charles (guitar/vocals) (1962-1972; 1983; 1990) John Charles (bass/vocals) (1962-1972; 1983; 1990) Jimmy Walker (drums/vocals) (1964-1967; 1983; 1990) Ned Brown (keyboards) (1962) Skip Cherubino (drums) (1962-1963) Peter Glitz (drums) (1963) Pete LoCasio (saxophone) (1963) Richie Walker (Costanzo) (vocals)(1967-1972) Ron Mercier (drums) (1967-1968) Barry McCoy (keyboards) (1967-1968) Eric Swanson (drums) (1970-1972)

The Knickerbockers were an American pop/rock music group best remembered for their 1965 hit, "Lies." The band was formed in 1962 in Bergenfield, New Jersey by brothers Beau Charles (guitar/vocals) and John Charles (bass/vocals) (birth names: Robert and John Carlos Cecchino respectively) with fluctuating personal until 1964, when they met Buddy Randell (vocals, sax) (birth name: William Crandall). Buddy was previously of the Rockin' Saints and the Royal Teens, who had a hit with "Short Shorts" in 1958. They took their name from Knickerbocker Avenue in their hometown.

The classic line-up consisted of Randell, the Charles brothers and drummer Jimmy Walker (previously the drummer with Messina, New York based Atco Records act The Castle Kings), They were spotted by producer/singer-songwriter Jerry Fuller playing a teen dance in Albany, NY, and he subsequently signed them to Los Angeles-based Challenge Records.

Initial Success

Throughout The Knickerbockers three years of recordings, the group tirelessly pursued current trends; the vocals on "Jerk Town," for example, are heavily derivative of the Four Seasons. (Furthermore, the song's lyrics refer to "hot rods," like so many other popular songs of the day). Finally, The Knickerbockers had a Top 20 hit in early 1966 with "Lies." Somewhat ironically, the song is most famous today for being blatantly derivative of contemporary songs by The Beatles, down to the imitation of John Lennon on the lead vocal. Allmusic remarks that the song is "justly regarded as the most accurate early-Beatles imitation." [] Some listeners hearing the song, unaware of its true source, mistake it for being a "lost" Beatles track.

The follow-up to the smash, "Lies" was "One Track Mind" and it was nearly a hit as well. Unfortunately, the band's label, Challenge Records, couldn't handle the distribution and the single only reached number 45. The Knickerbockers soldiered on, appearing in the movie "Out of Sight" (1966) and as regulars on Dick Clark's ABC-TV program, "Where the Action Is (1965–1967).


Though the band had a strong songwriter in Beau Charles, the group was hampered by their labels' ineptness, and drummer Walker left in late 1967 to replace Bill Medley in The Righteous Brothers.Fact|date=June 2007 Walker would also record three solo singles for Columbia Records in 1968–1969, before retiring to Wyoming for much of the 1970s. Buddy Randell was the next to depart. The Charles brothers kept the band going by adding new members Richie Walker (vocals), Ron Mercier (drums) and Barry McCoy (keybaords) and moving the act to San Francisco. Randell rejoined The Knickerbockers on drums in 1968, leaving again in 1970 (McCoy departed to join Gary Puckett and The Union Gap). Buddy later on recorded singles for Uni records ("Randi, Randi"/"Be My Baby" 1970) and under aliases such as "Steel Wool" ("No Sugar Tonight" White Whale 1969) and "Blowtorch" ("I Want Sugar all the Time" Paramount Records 1971). Beau Charles was also active outside of the group, too, waxing "Sharon Stay in Birmingham" for White Whale Records under the alias of Columbus Jones--1969. (Both of the White Whale and Uni Records singles were produced or co-produced by George Tobin, who later went on to produce and manage 1980s teenage singer, Tiffany).

Other Projects and Reformation

Beau and John Charles, along with singer Ritchie Costanza and drummer Eric Swanson, signed to Motown records in 1971, where their name was subsequently changed to Lodi. They recorded an album (released in 1972) and one single ("Happiness"/"I Hope I See it In My Lifetime") on the Mowest subsidiary, before splitting up for good.

The Charles brothers and Randell then backed-up Playboy Records artist Brenda Patterson briefly in 1973–1974, most notably appearing on an episode of "The Midnight Special." (Beau Charles remained the most highly visible member of the band throughout the 1970s, appearing in an episode of "Harry-O" as a lounge singer, and performing on various film and television soundtracks).

Since then, The Knickerbockers have reformed twice. The first time was in 1983 in Los Angeles, with everyone on board except Buddy Randell (he was singing with the faith based band Jerusalem Rivers, at the time). They recorded demos with producer Jerry Fuller, but split up soon after. The band reformed one more time, performing to sold out crowds for a solid month in Delray Beach, Florida in summer 1990, before disbanding again.

Beau and John Charles have been highly involved with The Knickerbockers' CD releases on Sundazed Records. Buddy Randell died in 1998.

The band's two most popular singles are on the "" box, and there are numerous reissues and rarity sets. The most definitive collection by the band is "The Fabulous Knickerbockers", released on Sundazed Records.



* All I Need Is You / Bite Bite Barracuda (Challenge 59268) 1965
* Jerktown / Room For One More (Challenge 59293) 1965
* Lies / The Coming Generation (Challenge 59321) 1965
* One Track Mind / I Must Be Doing Something Right (Challenge 59326) 1966
* High On Love / Stick With Me (Challenge 59332) 1966
* Chapel In The Fields / Just One Girl (Challenge 59335) 1966
* Love Is A Bird / Rumors, Gossip, Words Untrue (Challenge 59341) 1966
* Please Don't Love Him / Can You Help Me (Challenge 59348) 1966
* What Does That Make You? / Sweet Green Fields (Challenge 59359) 1967
* Come And Get It / Wishful Thinking (Challenge 59366) 1967
* I Can Do It Better / You'll Never Walk Alone (Challenge 59380) 1967
* A Matter Of Fact / They Ran For Their Lives (Challenge 59384) 1968
* Happiness/Hope I See it In My Lifetime (as LODI) (MoWest 5003) 1971
* All I Need is You/Jerktown (reissue) (Sundazed #unknown) 1989
* Gotta Stop This Dreaming/I Want a Girl for Christmas (Sundazed SEP 186) 2006


* Lies / The Coming Generation / One Track Mind / I Must Be Doing Something Right (London 10178) 1966


* LLOYD THAXTON PRESENTS.... (Challenge 1264) 1965
* JERK & TWINE (Challenge 621) 1966
* LIES (Challenge 622) 1966
* LODI (MoWest MW 101L) 1972

External links

* [ The Knickerbockers Myspace page]

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