Get to know Jan & Dean as the Laurel & Hardy of surf music

What’s important to know about Jan & Dean?
Dean: Jan was the first guy to handpick and put together [what’s referred to as] the “Wrecking Crew.” Up until 1963 (and the Surf City album) none of those guys played together consistently, and a couple of them weren’t in the rotation at all, and it was Jan who decided to put them together.
Jan would write out two exact drum parts and put them next to each other — one of them counted off — and those guys were so good and so precise that they would play every single lick simultaneously; it was such a big sound.

I really marveled at Jan’s foresight as a producer to hand pick and put this guy with that guy, etc. In other words, he put together his own chemistry [sound]. That team ended up very famous. Pretty cool! Why Jan’s not in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, I will never understand. He had more hits than two-thirds of the people that are already in there. On top of that, if you start weeding it down to how many of those people produced, performed, and arranged their own records (not even The Beatles did that), then you’re down to about 8 percent. How many produced, performed, arranged, sang and wrote while they were getting a college degree? Duh! I don’t think anybody was doing all that, but Jan was! I’d say that’s pretty amazing! To this day I’ve heard people wonder out loud why we’re not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We have the scoreboard if you want to just compare number of hits and musical projects done. We beat 75 percent of the people that are in there. So what else is it? I’ve got to think it was that we were pretty irreverent when it came to the music industry. They kind of always held that against us. That’s OK with me.

Jan & Dean Music (*change title to whatever you like)
A lot of fun, quirky and odd moments occupy most of Jan & Dean’s album releases. The 20 songs listed here accurately reflect the era and deserve repeated evaluation.

“Baby Talk” (Schwartz) Billboard #10, Cash Box #7
“Heart and Soul” (Carmichael/Loesser) BB #25, CB #16
“Linda” (Lawrence) BB #28, CB #26
“Surf City” (Berry/Wilson) BB #1, CB #1
“She’s My Summer Girl” (Altfeld/Berry/Wilson) B-side to “Surf City”
“Honolulu Lulu” (Christian/Berry/Adler) BB #11, CB #10
“Drag City” (Christian/Wilson/Berry) BB #10, CB #10
“Dead Man’s Curve” (Christian/Kornfeld/Wilson/Berry) BB #8, CB #9
“The New Girl in School” (Norman/Wilson/Christian/Berry) BB #37, CB #26 B-side to “Dead Man’s Curve”
“Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)” (Altfeld/Berry/Christian) BB #3, CB #5
“Ride the Wild Surf” (Berry/Christian/Wilson) #16, CB #23 Columbia Pictures film title
“The Anaheim, Azusa, & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association” (Altfeld/Christian/Berry) BB #77, CB #50 B-side to “Ride The Wild Surf”
“Sidewalk Surfin’” (Christian/Wilson) BB #25, CB #28 *remake of “Catch A Wave”
“(Here They Come) From All Over the World” (Sloan/Barri) BB #56, CB #50 Theme From The T.A.M.I. Show
“You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy” (Christian/Berry/Gibson) BB #27, CB #42
“I Found A Girl” (Sloan/Barri) BB #30, CB #39
“Barbara Ann” (Fassert) BB #2, CB #1 The Beach Boys (featuring Brian Wilson & Dean Torrence)
“Batman” (Altfeld/Wieder/Berry) BB #66, CB #60
“Bucket ‘T’” (Altfeld/Berry/Christian/Torrence)
“Popsicle” BB #21, CB #24

Purchase JAN & DEAN — THE COMPLETE LIBERTY SINGLES; the most comprehensive set ever (featuring every single A and B-side in its original Mono mix), by visiting Collector’s Choice Music at www.ccmusic.com. Dig deeper into the history, the music and everything in between at Dean Torrence’s website: Jananddean.com. Find Jan Berry’s post-accident opus here.

David Beard is a noted and accomplished Beach Boys/Jan & Dean scholar. He served as a consultant and image archivist for 1998’s VH1 special “Jan & Dean: Behind The Music,” 2002’s documentary “Jan & Dean: The Other Beach Boys,” on A&E’s Biography (Arts & Entertainment Network). He has designed work for Beach Boy Al Jardine; Beach Boy David Marks and Billy Hinsche. His liner note experience includes: Dean Torrence; The Ventures; Jan & Dean; and Dennis Wilson.


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