The Standells' were formed in 1962 by guitarist Tony Valentino and organist Larry Tamblyn. After the addition of vocalist and drummer Dick Dodd and bassist Gary Lane, The Standells' had their first and only hit single with "Dirty Water," which reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 11, 1966.
Stylistically, the Standells' were mostly a live covers band with some California surf material. It was not until they signed with Capitol Records and utilised record producer Ed Cobb that the garage/punk style crept in. When they signed to Capitol, their first single was "Dirty Water", which became a hit, although it took some time for the single to break nationally.
Despite the references to Boston and the Charles River in "Dirty Water," The Standells are not from Massachusetts. Nevertheless, "Dirty Water" is still played after every home victory won by the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and Northeastern Huskies hockey games. The song was written by the band's producer, Ed Cobb, who hailed from New England, and the Boston and Charles River references are reportedly based on an experience of Cobb and his girlfriend with a mugger in the mid 1960s.