As teenagers, Jan Berry and Dean Torrence were in a garage band with a third man, Arnie Ginsberg. In 1958, while Dean was in the Army, Jan and Arnie had a Top 10 hit, "Jenny Lee." (Actually, Dean, shortly before entering the Army, sang with Jan on that song; Arnie's name was simply put with Jan's on the label.) In 1959 Dean returned from the Service and resumed singing with Jan; two years later the duo signed a contract with Liberty records, which released all 22 songs reviewed below. In 1966 Jan was severely injured in a car accident; for a month afterward he was in a coma. In the 1990s he released his solo album, Second Wave; to see Trish Scarmuzzi's review of it, click here. Jan died in March 2004.
1. A Sunday Kind Of Love (2:14) - This song has a fast tempo. Horns play during the instrumental. By "Sunday kind of love," the narrator means a love that won't be over once Saturday night is; he wants a woman who will always love him. Dion later recorded a slow, 12/8 version of this song.
2. Tennessee (2:05) - This song has a fast, bluegrass tempo. During instrumentals a saxophone plays. A tambourine is also featured. The key changes a few times; the song starts in the key of A and ends in the key of D. The narrator met his girlfriend in Tennessee. What I like best in this song is the "bomp bomp bomp" that occurs most of the time.
3. Fiddle Around (2:29) - Aptly, a fiddle is the featured instrument in this fast song. All of the narrator's previous girlfriends ran all over town with other guys, but his current girlfriend is faithful to him.
4. My Favorite Dream (2:16) - This slow song also features classical string instruments. Hands clap occasionally. The second time the chorus is sung, women sing the first and third lines, while J&D sing the other two lines. The girl doesn't really love the narrator, but he always dreams that she does.
5. Linda (2:47) - This fast song features a tambourine, the clapping of hands, and some horns. The first 11 seconds contain studio chatter and a false start. Ever since the narrator first saw Linda, she's been in his dreams; he hopes to win her heart for real.
6. Surf City (2:41) - This was J&D's first #1 hit. Sometimes people mistake the duo for the Beach Boys; surfing was a common subject in Beach Boys songs in the early 1960s. Also, Brian Wilson co-wrote this song with Jan and sang background vocals. The narrator and his buddy are going to Surf City because the population there is "two girls for every boy."
7. She's My Summer Girl (2:59) - Filling the first 11 seconds are two spoken lines: "11 bees, 4 wasps, a turtle / 11 bees and a bumblebee." I don't know why that bit was thrown in there, but I do find it amusing. Once the real song starts, the tempo is moderately fast and the featured instruments are a piano and a tambourine. Sometimes hand-clapping accompanies the tambourine. The narrator met his girlfriend at the most recent prom. He takes her surfing with his buddies and does other things with her that are associated with summer. Unfortunately, come fall, they will have to break off their relationship.
8. Honolulu Lulu (2:17) - The drums in this fast song sound similar to the ticking of a clock. To the narrator, Lulu is the "queen of the surfer girls."
9. Someday (You'll Go Walking By) (2:22) - This song has a moderate tempo, featuring both cymbal drums and hand-clapping. Horns are the featured non-drum instruments. The narrator's girlfriend has just left him for another guy. Someday the girl will walk down the aisle to exchange vows with the other guy. The narrator will attend the wedding, and the girl will give him the same smile she used to give him, but his heart will still be crying.
10. Drag City (2:15) - This fast song starts with the sound effect of someone revving up a car's engine, then racing off. Just as the line "two girls for every boy" would qualify as an alternate title for "Surf City," this song could have the alternate title "Burn Up That Quarter Mile."
11. Popsicle (2:34) - This song, with a moderately fast tempo. features a bell-like instrument and a tambourine. I like the middle instrumental, too; the lead instrument is a guitar played like a banjo. The narrator and his girlfriend enjoy buying popsicles. Not only do the popsicles keep them cool during hot-weather days; they also let their younger siblings use the sticks to build miniature houses.
12. Dead Man's Curve (2:29) - My favorite J&D song has a moderately fast tempo and features horns. The narrator, driving a Stingray, drag-races with a man driving a Jaguar on a deserted road late one Friday night. When they approach the curve, both crash and are severely injured. The next thing the narrator knows, he's in the hospital, and he tells the doctor he learned for himself how right other people were when they said, "Dead Man's Curve is no place to play / Dead Man's Curve, you'd best keep away." Interestingly, that same place would later be the site of Jan's accident.
13. The New Girl In School (3:03) - Studio chatter fills the first 8 seconds. The tempo is slightly faster than moderate. Instruments include a tambourine and a bell-like instrument. The narrator has fallen in love with a girl who recently transferred to his school. Other guys have crushes on her, too, and the other girls are jealous. I like the chant "pa-pa-do-ronde-ronde."
14. The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena) (2:42) - The tempo is fast. After the chorus is sung the second time, the key changes from D to E. The lead instrument during the instrumental is a harmonica. Backup vocalists included the Honeys, one of whom, Marilyn Rovell, married Brian Wilson in 1964. The old lady who drives her red Super-Stock Dodge at lightning speed is known as "the terror of Colorado Boulevard." After each of the first two lines in each verse (and also during the fadeout sequence), the backup singers sing, "Go, Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go."
15. Ride The Wild Surf (2:22) - The duo returns briefly to the surfing topic with this fast song, just as the narrator has "gotta take that wild last ride."
16. The Anaheim, Azusa, And Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review, And Timing Association (2:52) - This is the longest song title I've ever seen! The tempo is fast; on the fourth beat in some measures, both the bass drum and a tambourine pound. Other instruments include horns and chimes. One routine from "Little Old Lady" recurs at the end of this song: "Go, Grannies, go . . ."
17. Sidewalk Surfin' (2:35) - The opening sound effect represents someone speeding along a sidewalk on a skateboard. When the duo wanted to write a song about skateboarding but were feeling uninspired, they enlisted the help of Brian Wilson and his songwriting parter Roger Christian. Brian, who had just written "Catch A Wave" for the Beach Boys, permitted J&D to use the same melody; the two songs have the same tempo, too. Instruments include horns and, during the instrumental, a flute.
18. (Here They Come) From All Over The World (2:43) - The duo recorded this song shortly before Christmas 1964 because they were chosen to host the T.A.M.I. Show, which featured many other artists, including Chuck Berry, Lesley Gore, the Beach Boys, and Motown artists. The tempo is fast. How appropriate for horns to be the featured instruments, as if to announce the arrival of all those artists!
19. Freeway Flyer (2:47) - The flip side of the previous song has the same tempo. The "freeway flyer," driven by a policeman, will pass you quicker than you can say your own name and then write you a speeding ticket, so don't even try to evade him! A siren blares during the middle and ending instrumental; in the verse following the middle instrumental, "if he pulls you over, don't you give him no jive." As the song fades out, the last thing we hear is a car crashing into something.
20. You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy (3:19) - This song has a slow tempo. After the narrator and his girlfriend have been together for a long time, her behavior has changed; he can sense that she's about to call their relationship off. I agree with the narrator: "What a mean way to say goodbye!"
21. I Found A Girl (2:31) - This fast song has a happier mood. Instruments include horns and, at the end, a harmonica. The narrator used to be alone and miserable, but now that he has a girlfriend, things are a lot different.
22. Batman (2:47) - This song was modeled after the theme from the Batman TV series of the late 1960s. Whereas in the theme people only repeated the Caped Crusader's name, this song contains lyrics that tell who Batman is and what he does. The backing goes, "Gotham City, here they come," "they" meaning Batman and his sidekick, Robin the Boy Wonder. The sound effects and speaking parts are my favorite parts. After the first verse we hear laughing to represent the Joker and the Riddler; starting at 1:59 we hear a man speaking about undergoing metamorphosis into a bat; and the song ends with the zooming of the Batmobile.
This album is available from Cema/One Way Records. I've also seen it on MUSE in the record stores.
1. Get That Girl - Great intro! A real rocker! The lyrics really express the feelings of being too shy to talk with someone you've admired from afar. "It's your only chance."
2. Spring Break - Nice overall, but I would have preferred that the rap sections be sung. The sax solo was fun.
3. Little Old Lady/Surf City/Honolulu Lulu - Great to hear these classics in 90s style! Each song features a new last verse, which some may consider a bit racy, but I think you have to consider the innocence of the time in which the original song was written.
4. Love Her Tonight - Incredibly romantic! Once again, a terrific sax solo just adds to the ambience of the song.
5. She's Dancing, Dancing - Once, again, I think the raps parts would have been better had they been sung. Otherwise, it's great!
6. Hawaiian Isles - A remake of "Hawaiian Mirage" from the "Port to Paradise" album, with a digitally over dubbed lead guitar. Wonderful intro with the waves crashing! Who hasn't dreamed of going to Hawaii?
7. Dead Man's Curve - Proof that, with a little luck and a lot of perseverance, you CAN come back from Dead Man's Curve!
8. So Here I Go Again - So here's that rap again! The song does include some great visual imaging though.
9. Get a Job - Apparently, this is one of Jan's favorites, as a small portion of it is also included on the "Teen Suite" bonus track. What ever the reason for it's inclusion here, it's just fun!
10. Thirty-one Flavors, Thirty-one Years - Really cute! And it's great to hear Jan and Dean recording together after all these years.
Now this is Collins talking.
Back to my Jan and Dean Review (the top of this page)
Back to My Oldies Homepage
Back to My Personal Homepage