Liar, Liar

Album: single release only (1965)
Charted: 12
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • "Liar, Liar" is the obscure single hit to end all obscure single hits. The Castaways were a garage band in the 1960s, composed of James Donna on keyboards, Robert Folschow and Dick Roby on guitar, Roy Hensley on bass guitar and Dennis Craswell on drums. "Liar, Liar" was written by Donna and Craswell. Folschow also provided the falsetto vocal. This is definitely their only hit - to anyone's knowledge, it might even be their only surviving original song.

    The Castaways were originally thrown together to play at a fraternity party. They got popular, and their popularity grew, based on just this song. Eventually they signed to Soma Records. Their popularity grew even more to the point where they appeared in the 1967 film It's a Bikini World (we gather it's not an intellectually intimidating piece of cinema).
  • Blondie (as in Debbie Harry) covered the song for her part of the soundtrack to the 1988 film Married to the Mob. That scored her a #14 on the US Modern Rock chart.
  • As of 2010, the Castaways are technically still a surviving group, but James Donna is the only original member still interested, so the Castaways is basically James Donna and whoever he hires. They are exclusively a cover band. Far from aspiring to the studio and Billboard charts, they are available for weddings, birthdays, and special events. For your information, these people are true Minnesotans. People from the Twin Cities don't like to make a big deal of themselves. You will never hear about the Minnesotan who wanted to take over the world and would stop at nothing.

    Oh, and by the way: Knowing about the Castaways officially makes you a hipster.
  • Drummer Dennis Craswell later joined rock-blues band Crow, who are best known for their hit single "Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games With Me," which peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in 1969.

Comments: 11

  • Richie The C from 1970's TvOne of the great all-time screams in this song.
  • James from Diamond Bar Ca One of the greatest records ever - What gets me is those funky harmonies - " Still going out - other guys " So hip and sophisticated - when I was 18 like these guys were - I was lucky I was able to tie my shoes - What a masterpiece
  • Allen J. Friedman from Cleveland, OhioI was wondering who the girl is who is dancing in that red bikini? Is she still around?
    I loved this song since it first came out!
  • Joseph Cardile from South Padre Island, TexasI am watching them right this minute down here on the island and they just performed Liar Liar and the whole place knew the song word for word. Many one hit wonders don’t last 50+years like this one did. And they still sing it to perfection even the high parts.
  • Phil from Nelson, Bc Canada Great song from the 60’s
  • Jack W from TexasI served with Bob Folschow in Vietnam in 67-68. He had his guitar and when we had down time he pull that guitar out and crank up the classic Liar Liar for the platoon. Picked up the moral as much as it could. It was appropriate considering our geographical location at that time. Never saw or talked to Bob after rotating back to the states. Song has stuck with me all these years. Hope Bob is well and still cranking Liar Liar pants on fire in his high pitch voice!
  • Gary For California from California I met a guy while doing Army basic training at Fort Ord California in early 1970. He was the Company clerk and claimed he was an original member of the Castaways who later got drafted. Said he had met the Beatles on the road but was now just grunt heading for Nam like myself. That was then, this is now.
  • Dennis Craswell from MinnesotaBy the way, what photo are you using, top left..??? ?? That's a fake band, and not an original Castaways photo....Bob Folschow still performs in Soiuox Falls, SD you forgot to mention Dick Roby....and he is still plays in MN
  • Dennis Craswell from MinnesotaYou need to get your facts straight. Dennis Craswell has been playing in Calif. Texas and Minnesota since 1965.. Dennis Craswell is still active and playing as of today.!!! The name of his band in The Original Castaways..as long as you have a link to the "other" band, Please note The Original Castaways links: https://www.facebook.com/dennis.craswell.123456789/ and http://the-castaway.com/... Dennis is and was the drummer, still drumming, and plays the keyboard among other instruments
  • Alan from Reno, NvWhen I was in Vietnam, one of the guys claimed to be the back up drummer for the group. I have since learned he was not, but I was young then and believed a lot of things. That is probably why I ended up in Vietnam.
  • Kevin from Lawrence, KsI can't ever get enough of this riff, with the organ intro that just grabs your attention and then holds it throughout the song. Why this song hasn't attained iconic appeal is beyond me. That riff, the hook ("Liar, Liar...pants on fire...), the ability to dance to this song, the intense scream at the bridge. It's all there. Yet, this song retains a sort of seclusive staturs. It is loved by all who hear it, yet it makes no one's top all-time lists. There are few songs as good as this from the mid-sixties, yet the accolades thrown at this tune are non-existant. If you have to shun the song because of its bubble-gum image, you have to at least admit that the riff is as strong as the riff in "Satisfaction", and the organ intro is as iconic as the "Light My Fire" intro....or even the "In A Gadda Da Vida" intro. This song would have to be in my all-time top 50. And it should be in yours, too.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Boz Scaggs

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

Gary Brooker of Procol Harum

Gary Brooker of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer and pianist for Procol Harum, Gary talks about finding the musical ideas to match the words.

Songs About Movies

Songs About MoviesSong Writing

Iron Maiden, Adele, Toto, Eminem and Earth, Wind & Fire are just some of the artists with songs directly inspired by movies - and not always good ones.

Album Cover Inspirations

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

Grunge Bands Quiz

Grunge Bands QuizMusic Quiz

If the name Citizen Dick means anything to you, there's a chance you'll get some of these right.

Ralph Casale  - Session Pro

Ralph Casale - Session ProSongwriter Interviews

A top New York studio musician, Ralph played guitar on many '60s hits, including "Lightnin' Strikes," "A Lover's Concerto" and "I Am A Rock."