Nuggets: Why Do I Cry by The Remains

Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.

Track 45/118: Why Do I Cry by The Remains
Release Date: 1965
From: Boston, Massachusetts
Aphoristic Rating: 8/10

WHY DO I CRY – The Remains [2:44]
(Barry Tashian)
Personnel/BARRY TASHIAN: vocals, guitar * BILL BRIGGS: electric piano, vocals * VERN MILLER: bass, vocals * CHIP DAMIANI: drums
Produced by ROBIN McBRIDE
Recorded in New York, NY
Epic single #5-9783 (3/65)

The Remains formed at Boston University in 1964, although three of the four members were originally from Connecticut. They started playing at a tavern near the University and quickly built a following. ‘Why Do I Cry’ was their first single, It was a local hit, as was the group’s cover of ‘Diddy Wah Diddy’.

The Remains opened for The Beatles on their 1966 tour of the USA. This should have set the scene for future success, but drummer Chip Damiani quit the band just before the tour started. This upset the synergy of the group and they broke up before their debut album was released.

It seems like a shame – the band had a lot of potential. The musicianship is accomplished. The performance arguably overshadows the song itself, but it’s still a well-written piece.

it’s notable that the band’s two original songs on Nuggets were written by different members of the band. Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band commented that “The Remains were the band that led the way for Rock n’ Rollers in Boston.”

Barry Tashian went into country music with his wife Holly – they’ve released seven albums as a duo, and have appeared on The Prairie Home Companion. Their son Daniel is a successful producer and songwriter, working on some of my favourite 21st-century records; Josh Rouse’s Nashville and Kacey Musgrave’s Golden Hour.

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Graham Fyfe is probably the only music blogger to appreciate Neil Diamond and Ariana Grande. Aphoristic Album Reviews features reviews and blog posts across a growing spectrum of popular music.


  1. That is one cool-sounding tune! Who knows what would have happened, had their drummer not quit. Based on your write-up, it sounds like they were booked to open for The Beatles but didn’t because Damiani left, or did they still do the gig with a sub?

  2. I really like their sound. When I saw their name I got them mixed up with The Barbarians who were from Massachusetts also…but the Remains were much better.

    • Yeah, the Barbarians are a little gimmicky, I think, Remains could have potentially gone on to a great career.

  3. Great sounding song. Though I’m confused by this: “The Remains formed at Boston University in 1964, although three of the four members were originally from Connecticut.” Although? Massachusetts is one state over from Connecticut, and believe me, A LOT of Nutmeggers went to schools in Boston. (I’m from CT and know many people who did go to a Boston school.) It’s not like there were a lot of colleges in Connecticut, not as much as there are in Beantown!

    And the drummer quitting BEFORE The Beatles tour? Sheesh. They would have a conversation piece for the rest of their live if they did. “I ALMOST toured with The Beatles” isn’t as impressive sounding.

        • Yeah. It gets some action going with the guitars and stuff. A lot of them are like that where the music is okay but the songs suck ass. You gotta have a decent song first as far as I’m concerned.

    • I should probably fix that, thank you. My knowledge of American geography is obviously lacking.

      Apparently the drummer wanted to go back to college. I’d have thought he’d do The Beatles tour for sure.

  4. When I saw this I didn’t realize it was Barry and the Remains. Sure, a Boston staple and their name crops up in any Boston band/radio station history. Good garage rock.

        • They changed it to Diana Ross and The Supremes from just The Supremes in 1968, And ya know what? By that time none of the Supremes even sang on any more of their records. Not even original members Mary and Florence or the new member Cindy Birdsong. It was just Diana Ross and two random singers at Motown. I think Love Child was their first record where the label said Diana Ross and The Supremes instead of The Supremes.

          • Actually, Reflections was the first one where it said Diana Ross and The Supremes on the label.

          • Was DIana Ross an original member? Wikipedia says she’s been there since 1959, the same year the group was formed. Seems like close enough?

          • It’s probably confusing the way I said it. But yeah, Diana Ross was an original member. What I meant was the other two original members besides her. Mary and Flo. And then when Diana Ross left in 1969 and was replaced with Jean Terrell, Mary and Flo were back again.

          • Oh wait. That was incorrect too because Florence didn’t come back after 1969 cuz she got fired in 67 and Cindy replaced her. Mary was the only original one left.

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