The Second Disc

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Surf’s Up: Jan and Dean Celebrate “Silver Summer” On New Reissue

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On Tuesday, June 5, The Beach Boys release their long-awaited new studio album, That’s Why God Made the Radio.  Here at Second Disc HQ, we’re counting down to its release.  We’re kicking off our mini-celebration of the California legends with a look at a duo intertwined with The Beach Boys’ history, Jan and Dean!

With The Beach Boys currently touring their acclaimed 50th Anniversary reunion concerts, the time has never been better to revisit the entire surf-and-sun legacy of these California pioneers.  And few artists play a bigger role in The Beach Boys’ story than Jan Berry and Dean Torrence.  Los Angeles natives, Jan and Dean began scoring hits in 1959, with Berry taking the role of producer, arranger and songwriter.  The multi-hyphenate Jan was an inspiration to Brian Wilson, just two years younger, but Brian, in turn, inspired Jan when Berry “caught the wave” of surf music.  Berry and Wilson collaborated on roughly a dozen songs including the No. 1 “Surf City” (1963) as well as “Drag City” (No. 10, 1964) and “Dead Man’s Curve” (No. 8, 1964).  Jan and Dean recreated The Beach Boys’ magic formula on “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena” (No. 3, 1964) without Brian’s participation.  These enduring hits were at the center of Jan and Dean’s 1985 album Silver Summer: 25th Anniversary Album, just reissued by Fuel 2000 Records as Surf’s Up.

Between 1958 and 1966, Jan and Dean charted 26 hit records.  As the surf craze receded, Jan and Dean had continued to diversify their sound with increasingly sophisticated productions and even comedy/music hybrid records such as Jan and Dean Meet Batman.  On April 12, 1966, everything changed when Jan Berry sustained severe head injuries in a car accident not far from Dead Man’s Curve, the almost 90-degree turn in Beverly Hills about which the duo had eerily implored, “You won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve!”  Despite brain damage and partial paralysis, Berry remarkably persevered.  He returned to the studio just one year later, and in 1976, he and Torrence had their first proper live appearance as guests of surf revival group Papa Doo Run Run.  The duo returned to touring despite Torrence’s success as a graphic artist; he even designed the famous Beach Boys logo that the group still uses today.    A 1978 CBS-TV film, Deadman’s Curve, was produced with the duo’s participation and helped to cement the Jan and Dean legend.

Firmly entrenched on the live “oldies circuit,” the duo even made sporadic returns to the recording studio in the ensuing years.  Dean also recorded a number of projects with his old friend, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and Berry finally recorded a solo album, 1997’s Second Wave.  Jan Berry passed away in 2004 at the age of 62; Torrence still performs from time to time with the Surf City All-Stars and oversees reissues of the team’s extensive back catalogue.  (In 1996, Sundazed issued the previously unreleased Save for a Rainy Day, the entirely Torrence-produced album recorded under the Jan and Dean name in the wake of Berry’s accident; in 2010, Rhino Handmade finally released Carnival of Sound, Jan Berry’s own post-accident psychedelic opus.)

Hit the jump for details on Silver Summer, including track listing and order link!

1985’s Silver Summer was released on the Silver Eagle label, and featured new recordings of not only Jan and Dean hits but also many of the early songs of The Beach Boys.  So, alongside “Sidewalk Surfin,” “Ride the Wild Surf,” “Surf City” and “Linda,” you’ll hear “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “California Girls,” “I Get Around” and “Surfin’ USA.”  Though Jan Berry is credited on the album as co-producer and co-vocalist, it’s Torrence who takes the lead, with a little help from his friends.  Most prominent among them is Mike Love, whose voice is instantly recognizable throughout the album.  Though the Fuel 2000 edition features no credits, earlier editions reveal that the personnel included drummer/percussionist John Cowsill, now touring with the reunited Beach Boys, as well as future Full House star and occasional Beach Boy John Stamos.  Other Beach Boys “friends” appeared on Silver Summer including Randell Kirsch, Gary Griffin, Chris Farmer and Ron Altbach.  Dean’s wife Susan Torrence also contributed vocals to this musical family affair.

Fuel’s reissue is no-frills, not alluding to the album’s original title and containing no credits.  Bill Dahl provides liner notes, but the two-page essay tells the duo’s history and doesn’t mention the album at all.  That said, Surf’s Up is an affordable way to get reacquainted with the timeless music of Silver Summer, and unlike many remakes, these aren’t embarrassing cash-ins.  Rather, they’re the sound of an extended musical family doing what they did best, and as such, you might want to add the newly-titled Surf’s Up to your library.  It’s available now at the link below!

Jan and Dean, Surf’s Up (Silver Eagle LP 1039, 1985- reissued Fuel 2000 CD 302 061 911 2, 2012)

  1. Sidewalk Surfin’
  2. Surfin’ Safari
  3. Honolulu Lulu
  4. Ride the Wild Surf
  5. Surf City
  6. Surfin’ USA
  7. Drag City
  8. Little Deuce Coupe
  9. Dead Man’s Curve
  10. I Get Around
  11. The Little Old Lady from Pasadena
  12. Fun, Fun, Fun
  13. Be True to Your School
  14. Sunny Afternoon
  15. Popsicle
  16. Indian Lake
  17. Summer Rain
  18. Linda
  19. California Girls
  20. New Girl in School
  21. Surfer Girl
  22. Barbara Ann
  23. Thanks for Buyin’ Our Album

Written by Joe Marchese

June 1, 2012 at 12:44

4 Responses

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  1. Huge, long time Jan and Dean fan here! They are often overlooked and under-appreciated so it was a nice surprise to see them featured today on one of my favorite blogs. Thank you, Joe!!

    I’ve seen this “Surf’s Up” release on Amazon for several weeks now with no track listing so it is nice to finally know what it contains. I had no idea it was a re-release of the “Silver Summer” album. It’s also worthy to note that Dean aparently designed the new cover (his signature is in the bottom right corner).

    A couple of quick fact corrections: the date of Jan’s accident was April 12, 1966 not April 26 and he and Dean actually met at Emerson Junior High School, not Westwood High School. (Their high school was University “Uni” High and Nancy Sinatra was a classmate.)

    Scott

    June 1, 2012 at 15:27

    • Thanks, Scott! Big Jan & Dean fan here, too! I was pleasantly surprised to find SILVER SUMMER on CD even in this rather nondescript new edition. Thanks for pointing out my typographical errors!

      Joe Marchese

      June 1, 2012 at 16:09

  2. This is an excellent album with the songs done in a more rock style than the sixties original which used an orchestra style. Dean put together a great package and I am looking forward to his next album to be released later this year.

    Dave

    June 2, 2012 at 00:28

  3. As a huge beach boys and jan&dean zealot when i purchased this disc i was expecting the orig compositions of the songs and was VERY dissapointed when i scanned thru this false advertising. I returned the album the very next day. Great artwork by dean but the disc is a lie// why would anyonewant anything otherthan the orig tunes??? Joshthekook at gmail dot com

    kookadams

    November 19, 2013 at 23:10


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