"'Dirty Water' is a song first recorded by the California rock and roll band The Standells in 1966 and composed by their producer, Ed Cobb. It is considered a classic of garage rock. The song is a mock paean to the city of Boston and its then-famously polluted Boston Harbor and Charles River. First issued in late 1965 on the Tower label, a subsidiary of Capitol Records, the song debuted April 30, 1966 on the Cash Box charts and peaked at #8. It reached #11 on the Billboard singles charts on June 11.
Ironically, although 'Dirty Water' is beloved by the city of Boston and its sports fans, the song actually first became a hit in the state of Florida, first breaking out on WLOF in Orlando in January 1966.
Dirty Water was also the title of the Standells' most successful LP, their only nationally charting album. This LP charted on both Billboard and Cash Box magazines' charts, peaking at #52 and #39, respectively, during the summer of 1966. The song is traditionally played by Boston sports teams following victories. The song's famous guitar riff was recorded with a Fender Stratocaster through a Vox AC30 amplifier by Standells' guitarist, Tony Valentino. 'Dirty Water' is listed in the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.""