The Knickerbockers were formed by brothers Beau and John Charles in New Jersey in 1962. Saxophone player and singer Buddy Randell of the Royal Teens joined them shortly thereafter, and drummer Larry Williams completed the group in 1964.
Their first single, All I Need Is You, was billed as Buddy Randell and the Knickerbockers and got moderate airplay in the New York area in 1964.
Their first album was Lloyd Thaxton Presents the Knickerbockers (Lloyd was the host of a syndicated teenage dance show at the time). That album was simply covers of records that were hit singles, ranging from I Want To Hold Your Hand to Downtown to King of the Road.
The group released a second single in 1965, but perhaps the title kept it from getting much notice: Jerk Town.
Their record company released The Coming Generation as their next single. Disk Jockey B. Mitchell Reed was responsible for flipping the single over and playing Lies, which went on to be the hit. In early 1966 the record reached #20. They even got to perform Lies on Hollywood A Go GO.
The single is remembered mostly because of how much it sounded like a Beatles record. John Lennon is even quoted commenting on the similarities, “I don’t remember recording this.”
Their second album, Jerk and Twine Time consisted mostly of covers of hit singles from the mid-sixties as well as their own single, Jerk Town. Incredibly, it also contained a cover of Twine Time by Alvin Cash & the Crawlers. Small world.
The group had two more singles that got into the hot 100, but neither was actually successful and the group fell apart soon after. The drummer, Jimmy Walker, left and replaced Bill Medley in the Righteous Brothers for a few years when Bill tried out a solo career. Several changes in the Knickerbocker lineup followed, but they never were able to recapture the success of their one hit.
The band reformed in 1983 and more fully in 1990, but is no longer active.