Known as one of the “Godfather’s of Punk,” Tony Valentino is best recognized for being the founding guitarist of the popular 60s band, The Standells. Formed in Los Angeles during the early 1960s, the garage rock band hit big with their song “Dirty Water” in 1966. Valentino created the famous guitar rift for the classic song that has been listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.” The song has also become an anthem to Boston athletics and can be heard after every Boston Red Sox home victory and during Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins home games.
Valentino and The Standells can even be seen in an episode (“Far Out Munsters”) of the popular 60s sitcom, The Munsters, playing a cover of the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Tony Valentino has toured with such bands as The Rolling Stones, Sonny & Cher, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and Otis Redding. He has been produced by Sonny Bono. He co-wrote and performed on the pioneering punk song, “Riot On Sunset Strip” which made him known as the Godfather of Punk.
Video: “Dirty Water”
A #11 hit in 1966. “Dirty Water” is a song first recorded by the California rock and roll band The Standells in 1966 and composed by their producer, Ed Cobb. It is considered a classic of garage rock. The song is a mock paean to the city of Boston and its then-famously polluted Boston Harbor and Charles River.
Its Boston and Charles River references are reportedly based on an experience of Cobb and his girlfriend with a mugger in Boston in the mid-1960s. In addition to the river, other local interest items in the song include the Boston University women’s curfew — “Frustrated women … have to be in by twelve o’clock” — and a passing mention of the Boston Strangler — “have you heard about the Strangler? (I’m the man I’m the man).” Boston is also home to Simmons College, a women’s college that, like many such institutions, had a curfew for students. There is disagreement regarding the identity of the “frustrated women”. In a city with many colleges and universities, as well as a large Navy presence (historically), it could be purposefully unspecific. The surviving Standells have performed the song at Fenway Park from atop the Green Monster. The song’s famous guitar riff was recorded with a Fender Stratocaster through a Vox AC30 amplifier by Standells’ guitarist, Tony Valentino.
Listen to this music clip of “Punk 66SEX” by the Tony Valentino Experience: PUNK 66SEX
Photo from the Stones and the Standells Tour.