Red Sox Fans Love Their Dirty Water

Of all the sights and sounds that fans look forward to at Fenway Park, nothing makes Red Sox Nation happier than the playing of a song that dates back nearly 40 years.

With the refrain “Well I love that dirty water; Oh, Boston, you're my home,” the sound of the Standells' “Dirty Water" is the recognized Red Sox victory anthem. The song blares over the speakers immediately after every Boston victory and has become one of the proud Fenway Park traditions.

“As far as a celebratory postgame anthem….the song seems to fit," Charles Steinberg, the Sox’ executive VP for public affairs, told the Boston Globe.

“Dirty Water” has been the tune to which the Red Sox have celebrated home victories since 1997, when general manager Dan Duquette and manager Jimy Williams chose the 1966 punk rock song, which peaked at number 11 on the pop chart.

Although the Standells’ had only one major hit, that song has remained a home run for Red Sox fans despite the less than flattering background behind it.

The song was written by the band’s producer, Ed Cobb, who wrote it after a visit to Boston, during which he was mugged on a Massachusetts Avenue bridge over the Charles River. Hence the reference to fuggers and thieves down by the banks of the river Charles.

The irony of the song was that none of the four members of the Los Angeles-based Standells had been to Boston before it was released.

The original members of the Standells broke up in 1968, and lead singer/drummer Dick Dodd didn’t even know his band’s song was still played in Boston until he heard it in the background of an ESPN telecast several years ago.

''For Boston to pick out the song, I'm really humbled by the whole thing," Dodd said in a June 2005 interview with the Globe.

Dodd, now 60, has been a Red Sox fan for 20 years and the popularity of his group’s song has become intertwined with Boston’s baseball success.

As a result, the Standells have reunited to occasionally perform shows, and have played twice at Fenway Park: before Game 2 of the 2004 World Series and after the 2005 home opener. In both games the Red Sox won, naturally.

If the Red Sox have it their way the song will make it back into mainstream pop culture. Former Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo even recorded a cover of "Dirty Water" for his debut CD, Covering The Bases, which was released in July 2005.

The song's revitalization has come as a surprise to Dodd, now a limousine driver in the Anaheim suburb of Buena Park, CA. Four decades ago he just wanted to tell a story about how the guy in the song loved the dirty water, “and how it's a part of him, and how it's a part of his town.”

Now every Red Sox fan hopes that "Dirty Water" is a part of their Fenway Park experience.

[Written on August 16, 2005]

- Song Lyrics -
Dirty Water, as performed by the Standells

I'm gonna tell you a story
I'm gonna tell you about my town
I'm gonna tell you a big bad story, baby
Aww, it's all about my town
Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river Charles (aw, that's what's happenin' baby)
That's where you'll find me
Along with lovers, fuggers, and thieves (aw, but they're cool people)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, you're the number one place)
Frustrated women (I mean they're frustrated)
Have to be in by twelve o'clock (oh, that's a shame)
But I'm wishin' and a-hopin, oh
That just once those doors weren't locked (I like to save time for my baby to walk around)
Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)
Because I love that dirty water
Oh, oh, Boston, you're my home (oh, yeah)
Well, I love that dirty water (I love it, baby)
I love that dirty water (I love Baw-stun)
I love that dirty water (Have you heard about the Strangler?)
I love that dirty water (I'm the man, I'm the man)
I love that dirty water (Owww!)
I love that dirty water (Come on, come on)

For more information on the band
The Standells at Classic Bands

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