‘Lies,’ The Knickerbockers


The Knickerbockers (from left, bassist John Charles, drummer Jimmy Walker, singer-saxophonist Buddy Randell and John Charles’ brother, guitarist Beau Charles).

Buddy Randell had the experience of being a one-hit wonder — twice. In 1958, Randell (then still known by his birth name, Billy Crandall) played sax for the Bergenfield-based Royal Teens on their novelty hit, “Short Shorts.” And in 1965, he sang lead on “Lies” by another Bergenfield-based group, The Knickerbockers, named for Bergen County’s Knickerbocker Road.

“Short Shorts” may be slightly more well known, but “Lies” is famous, in its own right, as the song that probably represents the best attempt by an American band to sound just like The Beatles. Check out the link below, in which band members lip-sync to the single, if you don’t believe me.

The Knickerbockers had some more minor hits, but were done by 1970 (though there were some reunions). Randell became a born-again Christian and spent some time in the band Jerusalem Rivers; he died in 1998, at the age of 57.

The Knickerbockers achieved a sort of garage-rock immortality when “Lies” was featured on the revered 1972 anthology, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. A second Knickerbockers song, “One Track Mind,” made it onto the four-CD version of Nuggets that came out in 1998.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.


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