ARTIST: Jan & Dean
TITLE: Surf City (and Other Swingin’ Cities)
YEAR RELEASED: 1963
CHART ACTION: #32, #21 Cashbox
SINGLES: Surf City (#1), Honolulu Lulu (#11)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They covered a great deal of city oriented songs.
LINEUP: Jan Berry, Dean Torrence with session guys Billy Strange, Ray Pohlman, Glen Campbell, Bill Pitman, Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After a fair-to-middlin’ career, Jan & Dean struck gold with the title track co-written by Brian Wilson. So, of course, an album must be made to get product on the racks.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Jan & Dean had three albums under their belt, but all of them were either compilations of sessions or the worst kind of Hit + Filler (so much that even the noted non-serious smartasses really loafed and joked through the sessions). Here was an actual thematic album that they kind of took seriously.
Still, it’s kind of hits + filler, though a few of the cuts are interesting listens. What helps over their previous filler dreck is that they’ve finally got a distinctive sound (the Surf City sound, you recognize it).
A lot of the record is fungible, but TWO GIRLS FOR EVERY BOY! That’s the stuff you really need.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Wilson’s dad Murry was irate at Brian for basically giving Jan & Dean this song. Jan and Brian collaborated, but Brian didn’t think he’d finish it for the Beach Boys, so Jan took it over and the result was #1!
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: C-: Had Surf City not been here, the rest of the cuts wouldn’t be listened to at all, except maybe Honolulu Lulu. As it is, most of this album is exiled anyway.