May 24, 2012
Jan & Dean are best remembered for their seires of early to mid-1960s catchy and smooth surf and car singles that charted high on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Charts and sold tens of millions of copies.
Music was changing in the United States in 1965 and the career of Jan & Dean’s was in decline. They would respond by trying to change their style.
“The Universal Coward” was released during late 1965 and was really a solo Jan & Dean solo effort even though it was taken from their FOLK & ROLL album. It was a peace/protest song that Jan couldn’t quite pull off and did not appeal to tehir fan base. It received no chart action and little commercial success.
Shortly after the single’s release, Jan Berry was involved in a near fatal auto accident. It would take him over a year to recover and he would have to learn to speak again. While he returned to performing his life was never the same.
February 26, 2012
Jan Berry, Arnie Ginsberg, and Dean Torrence were members of the Barrons while in high school. When Dean was called to six months service in the Army reserve, Jan & Arnie signed with the Arwin label. They had one top 10 hit, “Jennie Lee” during 1958, and one other track, “Gas Money” that made the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
One of the more difficult singles to track down was “The Beat That Can’t Be Beat/I Love Linda.” It was very different from the layered sound that Jan Berry would produce during the 1960s. The single received no chart action.
Dean would return and Arnie would enter the navy. Jab & Arnie would be no more and Jan & Dean would go on to create some of the best car and surf music of the 1960s.
May 10, 2011
In many ways “Linda” was the first modern day Jan & Dean single. The layered harmonies were not quite as layered and full as they would quickly become, but they were close.
Jan Berry ws beginning his run as one of music’s technological wizards. I’m amazed at how long the opening name Linda goes one. It would reach number 28 on the American Singles Charts and set the stage for their series of classic surf and car singles.
“Linda” remains an essential listen for any fan of Jan & Dean.
April 15, 2011
Jan & Dean are best remembered for the series of surf and car songs recorded for the Liberty label, 1963-1966.
They had had a number of chart hits for various small labels, 1958-1962. They included “Jennie Lee,” “Baby Talk,” and “Heart and Soul.” Their second release for the Liberty label, “Linda,” made them starts.
Their first release for the Liberty Label was “Tennessee,” which was issued May 26, 1962. It would become a modest hit reaching number 69 on the Billboard Magazine Pop Singles Chart.
It would be the beginning of their classic sound, and while they would not have it down pat, it would point to the future.
January 24, 2011
Jan Berry had been in a near fatal auto accident, the results of which would affect him for the rest of his life.
Dean Torrence went into the studio and recorded “Yellow Ballon” which he released by Jan & Dean. BILLBOARD MAGAZINE at the time had a Bubbling Under Chart for singles which was for releases that were not on the top 100. “Yellow Balloon” reached number 111.
It must have had some radio play in sounthern New England at the time, as I bought the single when it was originally released in early 1967.
One of Dean’s problems was a group called The Yellow Ballon also released the song at the same time and had a top thrity hit with it. Jan & Dean would never have another song make the American singles charts.
September 18, 2010
“A Beginning From An End” was released in late 1966 when the commercial career of Jan & Dean had just about reached its end. They had had fourteen top forty hits but would only have one more after 1965.
The song would not even reach The American top 100. It featured depressing lyrics which went against the usual Jan & Dean material choices and in addition, it was not very melodic and had an odd song structure.
It’s only redeeming feature was it came with a fairly good picture sleeve.
August 8, 2010
Jan & Dean were on the down side of their career during 1965 even if they did not know it at the time. They would never again have an American top ten single.
“You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy” is solid and while the harmonies do not soar, they are effective in an understated way. It would reach number 27 on the American singles charts during May of 1965.
It was issued with a picture sleeve that is very difficult ro find. It is also one of the worst picture sleeves I have ever seen. Maybe it’s their quirky humor.
“You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy” remains a nice if non essential part of the Jan & Dean catalogue.
July 20, 2010
Jan & Dean are best remembered today for their series of surf and car hits issued during the early and mid sixties. Songs such as “Surf City,” “Dead Man’s Curve,” “Honolulu Lulu,” “Sidewalk Surfin'” and “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” received massive radio airplay and sold millions of copies.
The duo had a series of pre-surf hits during 1959 and 1960. The first two featured Arnie Ginsburg. In 1959 Jan & Arnie released “Baby Talk” on the Dore label. It would quickly be changed to Jan & Dean. The Arnie version is very rare and worth hundreds of dollars.
“Baby Talk” became a big hit and reaching number ten on the American singles charts.
The song is somewhere between doo-wop and a novelty song. It remains a catchy, if simplistic, memory from the late fifties.
Jan Berry would go on to become a producer who could mold his and Dean’s voice into a virtual choir. “Baby Talk” remains his somwhat forgotten training ground.
August 16, 2009
Dean Torrence was desperately trying to keep the Jan & Dean career alive while Jan Berry was recovering from terrible injuries sustained in an auto accident.
In June of 1966 he was able to remix a track from their 1963 DRAG CITY album. “Popsicle” reached the American top 25. In September of that same year he released an unissued track from 1962. “Fiddle Around” showed its age and just managed to make it onto the charts topping out at number 93.
It had a somewhat unfinished feel and did not have the studio polish of their classic hits. The flip side was one of their best album tracks not to be issued as a single. “A Surfer’s Dream,” featuring a wonderful duet between Jan and his girlfriend of the time, Jill Gibson, should have been the A side.
Jan & Dean would continue to issue material over the years but “Fiddle Around” would be their last chart entry.
August 15, 2009
Jan & Dean were a virtual hit making machine during the first half of the 1960’s. Their surf and car songs were second only to The Beach Boys in terms of quality and quantity. “Surf City,” “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena,” “Linda,” “Sidewalk Surfin'” and many more were big hits. Jan Berry could take his and Dean Torrence’s voices and mold them into a choir like sound.
Their careers came to an abrupt halt when Jan Berry was involved in a serious auto accident April 12, 1966. He suffered severe brain damage and would need to learn to speak and walk again.
Dean tried to keep their career alive while Berry recovered. In June of 1966 he released “Popsicle” which was built upon a track off their 1963 album DRAG CITY titled “Popsicle Truck.” It was a catchy, if somwhat light weight tune. It would reach number 21 on the American charts. It would also be the duos last single to make the top 25.
Dean would continue to produce material while Jan recovered but their career would never reach their 1960-1965 popularity again.