Standells Drummer and Singer Dick Dodd Dead at 68

Garage rockers' hit 'Dirty Water' became a Boston anthem

December 1, 2013 6:37 PM ET
Dick Dodd, Dickie, standells, Bel-airs, surf rock, garage rock, drummer, singer, 60s, obituary
Dick Dodd performs with The Standells on "Shindig" on March 24th, 1965.
ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty

Dick Dodd, singer and drummer for garage rockers the Standells, died on Friday at the age of 68. The band was best known for its 1966 hit, "Dirty Water," which became an unofficial anthem for the city of Boston and its sports teams.

Dodd, who was born in Hermosa Beach, California in 1945, got his start in show business at the age of 9 as a Mouseketeer on The Mickey Mouse Club. In the early 1960s, he played in two pioneering surf rock bands, the Bel-Airs and Eddie and the Showmen, performing alongside acts like the Beach Boys and the Righteous Brothers. He also continued to appear on television shows and was a dancer in the 1963 film musical Bye Bye Birdie.

In Memoriam: Musicians We Lost

Dodd joined the Standells as drummer and vocalist in 1964. Two years later, the garage-rockers scored their biggest hit, "Dirty Water," which peaked at Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 9th, 1966. The song was written by producer Ed Cobb, and despite its references to the Boston Strangler and local muggers, the refrain "Boston, you're my home" made it a favorite victory soundtrack at Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots games.

The band achieved more moderate success with songs including "Riot on Sunset Strip" (the theme song to the exploitation film of the same name), "Why Pick On Me?" and "Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White." 

Dodd continued performing with the Standells into the last year of his life, and also worked as a limousine driver in his hometown of Buena Park. The Los Angeles Times reports that he announced earlier this year that he had stage four cancer and died at a hospital in Orange County, California. 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »