The Knickerbockers

Lies

Composed by Beau Charles / Buddy Randell

Song Review by

The Knickerbockers' "Lies" is justly regarded as the most accurate early-Beatles imitation. Even many years after its original release, there's still a good chance it can fool younger listeners who weren't around to hear it upon its original release in late 1965 into thinking they've stumbled across a Beatles song they somehow haven't heard before. The secret of its success -- and actually it was pretty successful, making the Top 20 -- was that almost all blatant Beatles imitations focused on the lighter, poppier side of the band. "Lies" hardly ignored Beatlesque pop hooks, but it also emulated the Beatles' toughest, hardest-rocking side. It sounded like it could have somehow fit into their A Hard Day's Night, Beatles for Sale, or Help! albums, yet was not explicitly derivative of any one Beatles song. Like several prominent Beatles songs, it's unusual in that it starts with a chorus, à la early-Beatles ravers like "Can't Buy Me Love," "When I Get Home," or "Anytime at All." The group's shouts of "Lies!" are immediately answered by a tough, almost gnarly brief angry guitar riff. The aggressive lead vocal is amazingly like that of John Lennon, and perhaps the single trait most responsible for convincing many that this was a Beatles record. After the title is sung, the melody craftily goes into a brief, far moodier section, returning to the chorus but almost immediately inserting an exhilarating minor-key, very Lennon-esque falsetto. In yet another Beatlesque turn, the brief verses (or bridges -- the delineation isn't too clear) are in a decidedly more minor melodic mood than the relatively cheery chorus. That's particularly so when the vocals accuse the girl of being unfaithful in a fashion simultaneously threatening and hurt -- another very Lennon-esque characteristic. The background vocals were very much like the sort that Paul McCartney and George Harrison sang on Lennon rockers like "You Can't Do That"; the scream in the instrumental break was very much like McCartney's whoops; and the slightly sloppy yet concise guitar solo in the break was rather in Harrison's style. For all the Beatles comparisons, though, "Lies" was a hugely enjoyable single for its own merits, even if the early Beatles styles they were aping had been discarded by the Beatles themselves when "Lies" peaked at number 20 in early 1966. "Lies" was covered, in a less overtly Beatlesque manner, by Lulu and, in France, by Ronnie Bird, in a translated-to-French version retitled "Cheese."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Lies 1965 Collectables 2:43
Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 1972
Various Artists
Elektra / Rhino 2:41
Oldies But Goodies, Vol. 9 [Original Sound 1] 1973
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment
Nuggets: A Classic Collection From the Psychedelic Sixties 1986
Various Artists
Rhino 2:45
Best of 60's Sock Hop 1987
Various Artists
Priority
Baby Boomer Classics: Dance Sixties 1988
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:42
No Image 1988 See For Miles Records
Turned Into a Helium Balloon 1995
Various Artists
Big Beat Records
Garage Band Rock 1995
Various Artists
Laserlight / Delta Distribution 2:43
Knickerbockerism!: Hits, Rarities, Unissued Cuts & More... 1997 Sundazed 2:47
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Metacom 2:44
60's Flashback [Double Play] 1998
Various Artists
Double Play Records 2:41
Party Super Hits 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:43
Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 [Box Set] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 2:44
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Image Entertainment
70 Ounces of Gold: Party Gold 2000
Various Artists
Compose Records 2:43
Jukebox Hits of 1966, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
Jukebox Hits / Jukebox Records 2:42
Nuggets from Nuggets: Choice Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era 2000
Various Artists
Rhino
12 Hits of the '60s, Vol. 1: Five Star Collection 2002
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:48
Rockin' With 2002 Sundazed 2:47
1966: The Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:42
Chartbusters USA, Vol. 3 2003
Various Artists
Ace 2:44
Hal Lifson's 1966 2003
Various Artists
Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:48
The Psychedelic Sixties [Varese] 2003
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:41
Good Vibes 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:41
Ultimate 60's Collection [Fuel 2000] 2005
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:41
Best of the Knickerbockers 2005 Curb 2:43
Power Pop Anthems 2005
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 2:39
Heartbreakers [Warrior] 2008
Various Artists
Bungalo 2:41
Summer of '67 2008
Various Artists
ZYX Music 2:44
Allergic to Flowers: Garage Beat and Popsike 2008
Various Artists
RPM 2:44
The  Challenge Recordings 2015 Sundazed 2:48
Essential Radio Hits of the 60s
Various Artists
Classic Music Company / MVD Audio 2:41
Essential Radio Hits of the 60s, Vol. 6
Various Artists
Classic Music Vault / MVD Audio 2:41
No Image
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image
Various Artists
Audio Fidelity
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