The Castaways – “Liar, Liar”

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Short introduction to the Castaways

A one-hit wonder group, Minnesota’s the Castaways had gotten this “recognition” via their Top 20 single “Liar, Liar” in 1965. Their single “Liar Liar” was released on the Soma label in 1965, and proved to be the band’s only charting single. Following singles flopped; even their appearance in the 1967 film It’s A Bikini World didn’t help either. Although they’re now only known for “Liar, Liar,” the Castaways still perform today, but with James Donna the only remaining original member in the present lineup.

The original lineup of the Castaways

The Castaways are an American garage rock band hailing from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul. They were formed in 1962; the original members consisted of Roy Hensley (guitars), Dick Roby (bass), and Denny Craswell (drums).

They started off as a frat rock band, and played together just for fun. But over time, the band proved to be so successful that they decided to expand their lineup. The added new members: lead guitarist Bob Folschow and keyboardist Jim Donna, who also stood as their band leader.

The band’s only hit single: “Liar, Liar”

Their one and only hit and charting single was “Liar, Liar,” written by Donna and Craswell. The song is notable for the scream that comes before the guitar verse. Released on Soma Records, the song reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. This rock-pop number appeared in few compilations, including including Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968.

Although the band’s peak moments were short-lived, “Liar, Liar”‘s fame has managed to eclipse the band’s. This frat party classic has been covered by many artists, most notably by Blondie’s lead singer Debby Harry, whose version also became a hit on the Billboard rock chart in 1989.

Other artists who covered it as well include The Pretenders, singer-songwriter Phranc, another garage band The Mustangs, Spain’s freakbeat group Los Iberos, Dutch hip-hop group The Opposites, and English group Elgazelle.

The Castaways themselves performed this song in the 1967 musical comedy film It’s a Bikini World. The song has also been featured in other films such as Animal House, Good Morning, Vietnam, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

The band’s follow-ups floundered, and despite their appearance on the movie It’s a Bikini World, the band’s fate was inevitable; they broke up in 1968. However, in 1980 Craswell and Folschow resurrected the Castaways name and added newer members. Hensley died in Minnesota, in 2008. The band is still active up to this day, but with Donna still the only original founder remaining in the present line-up.

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