The Litter was an American psychedelic and garage rock band, formed in 1966 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are best remembered for their 1967 debut single, "Action Woman". The group recorded three albums in the late 1960s before disbanding, but would re-unite in 1990, 1992, and again in 1998, when they recorded a new studio album consisting of both old and new material. All of their Minneapolis recorded material was produced by Warren Kendrick, who owned the Scotty and Warick and Hexagon labels.
Four members of the original lineup, Jim Kane, Bill Strandlof, Denny Waite, and Dan Rinaldi formed from the remains of two popular Minneapolis band's, The Victors and The Tabs, in 1966. Tom Murray joined as a result from a successful band audition. Their group name was presented by Jim Kane and accepted over other suggestions like "The Mustys".
Heavily influenced by the bands of the British Invasion, the group recorded their debut single "Action Woman/"A Legal Matter"in late 1966. "Action Woman" proved to be their most impactful single and became a garage rock classic. Bill Strandlof, lead guitarist for the single, was replaced by Tom Caplan just before their debut album Distortions was released in the summer of 1967. Distortions leaned on cover songs, but became a classic that would be re-released when garage rock was revived.
By 1968, the band had shifted to the psychedelic rock scene. Their second album, $100 Fine, included original input from the band and British-influenced cover material. Although the album did not chart nationally, it did chart at number 10 on the Twin Cities chart. Their writer/producer, Warren Kendrick, had developed a method to precisely control the flanging effect (which would eventually become a staple of psychedelic recordings) and he applied it to a cover version of a Procol Harum song, "Kaleidoscope." A highlight for the band that year was their brief appearance in the movie, Medium Cool. Their scene in the movie however, was overdubbed by The Mothers of Invention's song, "Flower Punk". Further work on the soundtrack was also replaced by Frank Zappa tracks. The band, later in the year, turned down offers by Elektra Records and Columbia Records which slowed their progress to the national scene.
In 1969, the band finally signed to a major label. Their third album, Emerge would be released on the ABC Records label and became their most successful to date. It would chart at number 175 on the Billboard 200. However, recording for the album did not include Chaplin or Waite. There were heavier rock tracks on the album. The group would later disband by 1970.
The group would continue to tour with several different lineups sporadically thereafter and released an album of new material in 1998.