The Good Rats: Best-Ever Songs

The songs found on this list are the best-ever songs performed by The Good Rats.

According to Wikipedia, The Good Rats formed in 1964, the original group consisted of five students from St. John’s University: Ted Haenlein, Frank Stapleton, Eric Crane, Denny Ryan and Peppi Marchello. The group was originally called the U-Men and played most of their gigs in the Rockaways (Peyton Place & McNultys) and Long Island (The Attic, Tiger’s Tail etc.). In 1966, Frank Stapleton’s brother, John, arranged for the group to play at a club in Queens, New York (The John Doe Room) where a record company executive heard them and eventually signed the band, but suggested a name change was in order. The band continued to play top 40 covers while working on their own original music. During the latter part of the sixties, the composition of the band changed. By 1968, Eric, Frank and Ted (drafted and went to Viet Nam, but did rejoin the group from 1970–72) were gone, replaced by Peppi’s brother, Mickey, and Crazy Artie (bass) and Jim Roberge(organ).

In 1969, the band released their first album, the self-titled The Good Rats, which had cult popularity with New Yorkers when it was released. In 1972, the lineup changed, with guitarist Mike Raffenelo, bass player Lenny Kotke and drummer Joe Franco joining the Marchello brothers. John “The Cat” Gatto replaced Raffenelo shortly thereafter.

The Good Rats continued to build a following, playing Long Island’s thriving club scene, along with other notable names such as Twisted Sister, Zebra, and Rat Race Choir.

In 1974, the Good Rats released their best-known and most popular album, Tasty. It featured a blend of hard rock and blues, highlighted by Marchello’s raspy vocals. “Tasty” was a pop song about the talented musicians who Peppi fired from the band.

Live shows were famous for the band’s stage antics, as Peppi would play air guitar on his baseball bat, throw rubber rats into the crowd, and beat the daylights out of a battered garbage can as he sang.

Between 1976 and 1980, The Good Rats released a series of albums, including Ratcity in Blue, From Rats to Riches, Birth Comes to Us All, and Live At Last, all of which were well received by the band’s fan base, and received some airplay on FM radio, without actually putting the band over the top. In 1981, Gatto and Kotke left the band, and were replaced by future Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick and bass player Schuyler Deale, (who later played with Billy Joel and Michael Bolton), for the album Great American Music. The band would do shows through 1983 and then break up.

In the 2000s, the band continues to play in local venues throughout New York, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as playing annually in their own summer weekend outdoor festival aptly named “Ratstock”.

In 2008, Gene Marchello left the band to go out on his own. Nevertheless, The Good Rats, featuring Peppi and Stefan Marchello continued playing weekend club dates around Long Island into 2009. They were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Criteria for this ranking:

• Groundbreaking

• Sing-able melody

• Memorable and catchy

• Superb singing, lyrics, guitar work

Best Songs

Advertisement in The Voice

Tasty

Coo Coo Coo Blues

Reason to Kill

Does It Make You Feel Good

Boardwalk Slasher

Writing the Pages

Tough Guys

Mr. Mechanic

Victory in Space

Don’t Hate the Ones Who Bring You Rock & Roll

Local Zero

You’re Still Doing It

______________________________________________________________

I urge you to email me (dom@walkablestreets.com) or leave a comment if you have a suggested addition or subtraction from this list. Or if you have any other thoughts about this list.

About

Each list in this blog contains my own personal opinions based on my personal experiences. I acknowledge that there may be a need to add or subtract from these lists (or to create a new subject list), and I welcome such suggestions. The lists are not ordered from higher to lower quality. Each list is a work in progress.

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About Dom Nozzi

Urban designer, Complete Streets instructor, smart growth specialist, town planner, walkable & bikeable streets & trails specialist, writer, editor, speaker, world adventurer, skier, kayaker, SCUBA diver, bicyclist, hiker, dancer, book reader, urbanist. Make my own beer, wine, pasta, bread. Live by the motto that it is the things we do NOT do that we later regret. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest.
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