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Author Topic: Jan & Dean are terrible singers  (Read 4699 times)
bonnevillemariner
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« on: September 15, 2021, 07:28:25 AM »

Sorry, it had to be said.

With all the focus on the Beach Boys' middle era lately (Feel Flows Box Set), I decided it's high time I start at the beginning and retrace everything from the early days up to Sunflower/Surf's Up. Naturally, I started with Jan & Dean.

I think everyone agrees that J&D were pivotal in the development and popularization of the surf rock sound, but they. simply. can't. sing.

That said... I absolutely love them. I've immersed myself in their music for the last few days, and I can't wipe the smile off my face.

Were J&D aware they can't sing? I can't help but wonder if this was more of a feature than a bug. Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2021, 07:44:04 AM »

Okay, good; I'm not the only one. Can't stand Dean's whiny falsetto, and Jan was off-key A LOT.

Years ago I once posted in another forum about how I just don't get the attraction with Jan and Dean. A couple of people said yes, they were not good singers, but they were a good *act*, especially if you saw them in concert in their hitmaking days; they were more of a comedy act than anything else, really, from what several people told me.
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2021, 08:54:16 AM »

Were J&D aware they can't sing? I can't help but wonder if this was more of a feature than a bug. Thoughts?


I absolutely love Jan & Dean as well, and while I think it's hyperbolic to say they "can't sing" -- clearly they can -- I can see what you're getting at.  Jan was a spirit who just loved to make music, and I think it's probably patent that he's not one of those people that's a born lead-singer.  He gets the job done, for me, though.

On the other hand, the Dean question is interesting because of course so often it's not actually Dean (who certainly never developed a commanding head voice) -- it's your PF Sloans and your Matadors who are singing on those records.  And again, those people all get the job done for me, but it is true that none of them are quite as polished as Beach Boys became -- and I can imagine that's because they didn't spend as many grueling hours in the studio learning the craft.

I also don't think it's fair to call them a comedy act, even if they were a very good live show that made a lot of people laugh.  I think Jan would be the first to happily call some of what he did "Schtick" -- in fact if I recall correctly, he would write that in guitar players parts to indicate that they should do what he normally asked for.  But schtick aside, Jan was very very serious about making music and doing it well.
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2021, 09:12:22 AM »

And the topic of Jan & Dean is where my opinions part ways dramatically with what seems to be a lot of the Beach Boys' fanbase. When I listen to Jan & Dean at their best, I enjoy the music and what's in the grooves. When I watch that unsold TV pilot or TV movie from '66 where they have the full Wrecking Crew on stage with them and Hal Blaine playing a comedic foil to the cast, I really enjoy it. They cut a few really good singles, no doubt. The studio guys "played up" for Jan and turned in some classic performances.

But...(in no particular order, and just my opinions for discussion)

1. The off-key singing is one of the main elements that seems to be in direct contradiction with the notion that Jan Berry was going for a superior outcome in the art of studio recording and crafting records.

It's as if you spent hours baking the finest wedding cake you could bake, with premium ingredients and the skills of a superior baker in the kitchen, and when you deliver the cake the icing is all messed up, the groom's name is spelled wrong, and the whole cake leans to one side.

*Most* people who are non-musicians listen to the words first when hearing a record, and the words come through the vocalist(s). If it's as out of tune as some of those J&D records are, the whole impact is lost, much like the wedding cake which had the finest ingredients but the finishing touches which everyone sees first are all f**ked up and sloppy.

Why didn't Jan spend more time getting in-tune vocals that were delivered with confidence and that passion that marks a classic vocal recording? Who knows.

And if the "well, they were a comedy act" answer is offered as a reason why the vocals fell short, I'd counter with the examples of Spike Jones, Allan Sherman, Weird Al Yankovic, etc. All of them were comedy acts too, that was their entire "schtick" (as in, Spike Jones didn't cut serious records), but their bands always played in tune and their vocals were in tune and well delivered, whether on the parody recordings or on their originals.

If anyone needs proof, listen to Jan & Dean's "Folk And Roll" album. The vocals are literally bad, and I'm not being biased, they are literally out of tune more than they're in. That record should never have come out if the vocals were rushed or done half-assed.

And that's why J&D are not the legends or as well remembered as some of their peers from the 60's. They fell just that much short on critical elements like the vocals.

Just my opinions, and I have more but most have already been expressed on this forum in past years. And I'll repeat, I also enjoy listening to them at their best, but the attempts to elevate J&D to the levels of their peers is not justified by actually listening to their releases from the 60's. They were very raw and proto-punk/garage in the 50's, and I dig that energy and vibe, but the rest falls short.

In my opinion.
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bonnevillemariner
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2021, 11:59:37 AM »


Why didn't Jan spend more time getting in-tune vocals that were delivered with confidence and that passion that marks a classic vocal recording? Who knows.

I'm stumped, too. Listening to their entire catalog, it's clear that they never made any serious effort to improve their singing.

Joshilyn, one reason I think they "get the job done" for me, too, is their amateur singing has the air of youth and carefree innocence-- like a couple of buddies singing about their life with little concern for what someone might think.
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 12:28:11 PM »

Bob Dylan and Neil Young aren’t great either, but the songs, lyrics etc are the highlight.
The business needs average singers. It appeals to us who are just as average and only sing in the shower. 😅
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 02:10:02 PM »

As someone who has been a fan of The Beach Boys for most of his life, and got into Jan & Dean only within the last few years, there is certainly no question that even at their most ragged The Boys could sing circles around Jan & Dean (and many of their other contemporary sound-alikes as well) but I would argue that Jan & Dean have plenty of passionate vocals (some of the more passionate ones are sometimes also the more out-of-tune ones) and would agree that for me, these qualities that are detractors for some are more of a personal flavor that makes their songs all the more unique. I'd say in my (unprofessional) opinion they are better-than-average singers, but maybe just didn't really care all that much. As a wise man once said, "It's just a ride..."
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2021, 04:37:24 PM »

Okay, good; I'm not the only one. Can't stand Dean's whiny falsetto, and Jan was off-key A LOT.

Years ago I once posted in another forum about how I just don't get the attraction with Jan and Dean. A couple of people said yes, they were not good singers, but they were a good *act*, especially if you saw them in concert in their hitmaking days; they were more of a comedy act than anything else, really, from what several people told me.


I’ve never been able to get into Jan and Dean. Before I became a fan 26 years ago (!) I thought The Beach Boys were lame mainly because I thought they were just like Jan and Dean, too middle of the road WASPy with no kind of edge at all.

In all fairness it WAS the 90s
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 05:27:56 PM »

Bob Dylan and Neil Young aren’t great either, but the songs, lyrics etc are the highlight.
The business needs average singers. It appeals to us who are just as average and only sing in the shower. 😅

I agree on the first point. Also: George Harrison. And mind you, I ADORE George Harrison...but listen to his lead vocals, even as late as Abbey Road and All Things Must Pass, and you'll hear some flatting of notes, and the like. No Roger Daltrey or even Paul McCartney here. But that's OK.

I also agree on the second point. People like George, Ray Davies, even John Lennon half the time were not what is generally thought of as "exceptional" singers. But that's OK - they get the job done (especially on their own songs), and justify people like me singing my own songs!  Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2021, 05:44:25 PM »

As someone who has been a fan of The Beach Boys for most of his life, and got into Jan & Dean only within the last few years, there is certainly no question that even at their most ragged The Boys could sing circles around Jan & Dean (and many of their other contemporary sound-alikes as well) but I would argue that Jan & Dean have plenty of passionate vocals (some of the more passionate ones are sometimes also the more out-of-tune ones) and would agree that for me, these qualities that are detractors for some are more of a personal flavor that makes their songs all the more unique. I'd say in my (unprofessional) opinion they are better-than-average singers, but maybe just didn't really care all that much. As a wise man once said, "It's just a ride..."

The point in bold is probably the key issue I have in this discussion and with Jan & Dean in general. There are people telling us how much care and attention Jan Berry gave to his studio productions, writing out each and every part for the musicians to play and mixing everything with such meticulous attention to detail, really taking the craft of recording and arranging pop or teen music into an art form.

Then you hear the out of tune vocals, and vocal tracks which sound like they really didn't care all that much, and it almost immediately destroys the other point by example.

Again the question becomes why would such care and attention be given to the instrumental tracks only to put vocals on those tracks that too often sound like they were half-assed?

« Last Edit: September 15, 2021, 05:46:18 PM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2021, 05:54:46 PM »

I also agree on the second point. People like George, Ray Davies, even John Lennon half the time were not what is generally thought of as "exceptional" singers. But that's OK - they get the job done (especially on their own songs), and justify people like me singing my own songs!  Smiley

John Lennon, really? He's universally regarded as one of the best singers in rock history, and I have to agree. Even for studio recording, which he didn't care for, Lennon's pitch, phrasing, and diction in terms of singing rock and roll was almost perfect, and his singing voice in general was pretty much considered exceptional by most.
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2021, 08:20:03 PM »

I also agree on the second point. People like George, Ray Davies, even John Lennon half the time were not what is generally thought of as "exceptional" singers. But that's OK - they get the job done (especially on their own songs), and justify people like me singing my own songs!  Smiley

John Lennon, really? He's universally regarded as one of the best singers in rock history, and I have to agree. Even for studio recording, which he didn't care for, Lennon's pitch, phrasing, and diction in terms of singing rock and roll was almost perfect, and his singing voice in general was pretty much considered exceptional by most.
IMO, John Lennon is the best singer of flat out rock and roll not named Little Richard or Elvis Presley.
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2021, 08:23:31 PM »

As someone who has been a fan of The Beach Boys for most of his life, and got into Jan & Dean only within the last few years, there is certainly no question that even at their most ragged The Boys could sing circles around Jan & Dean (and many of their other contemporary sound-alikes as well) but I would argue that Jan & Dean have plenty of passionate vocals (some of the more passionate ones are sometimes also the more out-of-tune ones) and would agree that for me, these qualities that are detractors for some are more of a personal flavor that makes their songs all the more unique. I'd say in my (unprofessional) opinion they are better-than-average singers, but maybe just didn't really care all that much. As a wise man once said, "It's just a ride..."

The point in bold is probably the key issue I have in this discussion and with Jan & Dean in general. There are people telling us how much care and attention Jan Berry gave to his studio productions, writing out each and every part for the musicians to play and mixing everything with such meticulous attention to detail, really taking the craft of recording and arranging pop or teen music into an art form.

Then you hear the out of tune vocals, and vocal tracks which sound like they really didn't care all that much, and it almost immediately destroys the other point by example.

Again the question becomes why would such care and attention be given to the instrumental tracks only to put vocals on those tracks that too often sound like they were half-assed?



It almost makes you think about Brian producing an entire album (or SERIES of albums, god forbid!) of songs like "Teeter Totter Love"  LOL
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2021, 08:50:25 PM »

Not to get too much into the "debate" but I'm pretty sure that the bad singing on Folk 'n Roll was at least partially intentional - they were sending up the genre.

I would wager that at least some of their imperfection is a defense mechanism against the same; if they're not *trying* to be perfect then they can dismiss criticism for it. And for me, they succeed in walking the line between irreverent and competent.
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2021, 06:41:16 AM »

I'm not trying to pile on, and I'm also not suggesting anybody was making a full, direct comparison between Jan & Dean and the other vocalists cited as examples. But I have to say, *every* other vocalist cited in this thread is by any measure a far better singer than Jan or Dean, including any of the Beatles, Ray Davies, Neil Young, and even Bob Dylan.

In particular, someone like George Harrison grew into a fine, skilled singer, and even in his early days when his lead singing voice (though still far better than Jan or Dean) was clunky on early stuff like "Do You Want to Know a Secret", he learned very early on to sing some great multi-part harmonies with John and Paul. And, even as a lead singer George had a level of skill and experience and even self-confidence that I never heard in something like Jan & Dean. Listen to the Beatles' Decca Audition; Harrison arguably carries the band on lead vocals. Remember that a fact kind of lost to history (if you don't listen to pre-EMI stuff or read Lewisohn) is that Harrison was a *bigger* part of the act pre-EMI. He kind of got cut out of the act to some degree when they started cutting albums and doing more formulated live setlists.

I think there's a HUGE difference between a bunch of 60s rock/pop singers who were not formally trained but had obvious raw vocal talent and in many cases honed their skills through playing lots of live gigs, etc., and something like Jan & Dean where they weren't exactly playing 8 hours per night in Hamburg, Germany, and weren't exactly doing anything near the breadth of song types a band like the Beatles were doing, switching from show tunes to country to rock and roll to originals, and so on.

Jan & Dean were very much a "they get the job done" sort of act vocally (and sometimes perhaps not quite rising even to that level); whereas the Kinks or Beatles or Neil Young or whomever were fine, exceptional singers that often if not usually just didn't come from formal training. HUGE, HUGE difference between these two things.

I'm not even sure who to compare to Jan & Dean. To try to find something else in the BB world to compare, I guess I'd say it hews much closer to something like Jack Rieley's vocals on "Tree", or the wonkiest of the Honeys/Spring vocals. And really, I truly feel like that's kind of being too unkind to the Honeys/Spring stuff.
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2021, 05:56:06 AM »

Definitely agree with HeyJude - 'Bob Dylan couldn't sing' is a bizarre misconception that's somehow taken hold in popular thought. Much like 'Ringo is a bad drummer'. At his peak, Dylan was in tune, evocative, and technically strong - i.e. you can hear that he's projecting his voice and using resonance in a way which we'd consider 'correct' in contemporary western singing. He sounded like a professional vocalist, in other words. Sure he was never gonna be Stevie Wonder, but he used his instrument to its full potential. Jan and Dean did not; they sounded weak and amateurish.
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2021, 10:38:14 AM »

The issue w/ Jan & Dean is not one of off-key singing IMO. It's that they never really seemed to have had true artistic vision- it just seemed like guys having fun making silly records in many cases.

It's not about the singing IMO. I think many of the Jan & Dean records are really actually just great.

The 1968 Carnival of Sound sessions feature neither Jan nor Dean singing on most tracks. Yet they still sound like Jan & Dean. It's really just how Jan Berry produced records that make them what they are. Case in point:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2HLMvsRGp4

Personally, I find this 1972 track by Jan Berry (w/ him singing) to be moving and emotive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzWtjcVfr5I

In fact, I think the post-accident fragility in his voice makes this track really poignant.
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2021, 08:04:08 PM »

Jan and Dean vocals were very hit and miss. I think their stuff from the 1950s/early 1960s, when it was just the two of them singing, sound fine. Songs like Baby Talk, Heart and Soul, etc. They actually did all of the vocals on Linda, which are very strong. As you move into 1963 and 1964, the vocals--and Jan's leads--are excellent on songs like Surf City, Deadman's Curve, Little Old Lady, Ride the Wild Surf, and many of their other surf and hot rod tunes.

I think their vocals declined as they tried to move away from the surf and hot rod sound in 1965, until Jan's accident the following year. For example, I heard "You Really Know How to Hurt A Guy" on the radio today, and Jan's vocal ruins the song. And it wasn't just being out of key--at times, Jan could sound like a bad lounge singer, with poor phrasing, etc. That song needs a really powerful singer, and Jan couldn't deliver that kind of performance.

J&D were also pretty much always bad live in the 1960s (though not terrible on the TAMI show, where I believe that had off-stage backing vocalists.)

Jan's studio vocals were actually fairly strong in the early to mid-1970s, post-accident, when he had to really concentrate on his singing.

I actually like Dean's falsetto--its no Brian Wilson, but its unique, and I miss it on songs when PF Sloan or someone else is doing the falsetto.

Overall, I think that Jan and Dean were average singers. On the right type of material--such as on their big surf and hot rod classics or early doo wop--they could sound good. However, if the material didn't suit their voices, the vocals could be mediocre. They were also both full-time students, so there is material that Jan probably didn't work on as much due to time considerations.
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2021, 09:10:07 AM »

I think the most recent comments fall in line with my opinions too, that when J&D had stronger material, as in their prime era of hits written with Brian and his co-writers like Roger Christian, it was a better fit and some classic records were created, like Surf City or Dead Man's Curve. And I like the 50's material going back to Jan & Arnie because the raw garage energy carried the day, and they weren't out to make symphonic pop productions but rather raw teenage rock and roll records, and I along with many other listeners really dig that energy. But the elephant in the room is that it's difficult to put Jan Berry on equal footing with his peers in the 60's studio production game (or even put him above those peers in the eyes of some) when so many of the records he was cutting in the 60's before the accident do have that Achilles Heel of a grand pop production with top-notch studio musicians playing tightly-arranged and well-crafted musical parts falling flat because of a lackluster vocal performance on top.

And maybe if the guys didn't have time to record proper vocals, after spending hours upon hours and a lot of money making those huge backing tracks, other singers with more time and perhaps a better voice for the music could have been brought in to do the job.

It just baffles me why so much care would be taken in the instrumental tracks and the production process only to put vocals on top that didn't live up to the work done on the music. Whatever turn of the phrase it could be, the ends didn't justify the means, or the sum of the parts was greater than the whole, or whatever else...I need another cup of coffee to reckon that one out.  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2021, 10:37:09 AM »

I think Jan did spend a lot of time on the vocals for the most part. All of their hits--Surf City, etc.--have strong, multi-tracked vocals, and even Jan sounds great on his leads, which are frequently double-tracked with Brian and others. It's really just the 1965 material like Folk n Roll, etc. that suffer from poor vocals. J&D were filming a movie and a TV show during that time period, and Jan also broke his leg, which may have affected how much he could do, since his mobility was likely limited for a few months. By early 1966, his leg had healed, and the vocals were up to par again--it you listen to a record like Batman, recorded right before Jan's accident, the vocals are as strong as Surf City and the like. Jan just never sounded good on ballad type leads. While Dean rarely sang lead, he could sound good as well--listen to his 1967 stuff, like Yellow Balloon. Unlike the BB's, who could sound great just singing together on a street corner, J&D needed a lot of studio work to produce good vocals.

I also think the "elevation" of Jan and Dean, particularly Jan, is not about putting him on the level of Brian or Lennon and McCartney, but more about acknowledging that he was an important part of the development of the west coast sound, and that he deserves to be remembered for more than just the guy who had the accident, if people even remember him for that now. Look, for example, at the RnR Hall of Fame list. Among the inductees are Lou Adler, Dave Clark Five, Duane Eddy, The Isley Brothers, Joan Jett, Darlene Love, The Mamas and the Papas, Ricky Nelson, Randy Newman, The Ronettes, Sam and Dave, Del Shannon, Percey Sledge, Patti Smith, The Ventures, etc. Not to mention several 50s doo-wop groups that had a handful of hits and no consistent membership. I am not trying to disparage any of the acts I just listed--I love many of them--but Jan and Dean definitely belong alongside them. Del Shannon, for example, had three top 20 hits, and was obviously inducted because of Runaway. I would say that J&D were much more important than Del.
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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2021, 11:22:33 AM »

I think Jan did spend a lot of time on the vocals for the most part. All of their hits--Surf City, etc.--have strong, multi-tracked vocals, and even Jan sounds great on his leads, which are frequently double-tracked with Brian and others. It's really just the 1965 material like Folk n Roll, etc. that suffer from poor vocals. J&D were filming a movie and a TV show during that time period, and Jan also broke his leg, which may have affected how much he could do, since his mobility was likely limited for a few months. By early 1966, his leg had healed, and the vocals were up to par again--it you listen to a record like Batman, recorded right before Jan's accident, the vocals are as strong as Surf City and the like. Jan just never sounded good on ballad type leads. While Dean rarely sang lead, he could sound good as well--listen to his 1967 stuff, like Yellow Balloon. Unlike the BB's, who could sound great just singing together on a street corner, J&D needed a lot of studio work to produce good vocals.

I also think the "elevation" of Jan and Dean, particularly Jan, is not about putting him on the level of Brian or Lennon and McCartney, but more about acknowledging that he was an important part of the development of the west coast sound, and that he deserves to be remembered for more than just the guy who had the accident, if people even remember him for that now. Look, for example, at the RnR Hall of Fame list. Among the inductees are Lou Adler, Dave Clark Five, Duane Eddy, The Isley Brothers, Joan Jett, Darlene Love, The Mamas and the Papas, Ricky Nelson, Randy Newman, The Ronettes, Sam and Dave, Del Shannon, Percey Sledge, Patti Smith, The Ventures, etc. Not to mention several 50s doo-wop groups that had a handful of hits and no consistent membership. I am not trying to disparage any of the acts I just listed--I love many of them--but Jan and Dean definitely belong alongside them. Del Shannon, for example, had three top 20 hits, and was obviously inducted because of Runaway. I would say that J&D were much more important than Del.

I can see your points, definitely. We could debate several specifics but it ultimately comes down to opinion of the artists and the music overall - and don't get me started on the R&R Hall Of Fame overall lol. I just don't hear the complete follow-through in J&D records and Jan's productions and songs from the 60's that I do with the work of those producers and writers from that era who are considered legends, and of course that's with some exceptions as always. I've dug into the catalog and have had more of an experience of hearing some very interesting ensemble playing and arrangements, but there were often a few pieces missing from the end result to where I'd  stop short of calling it a classic or a great record. And a lot of times the songs in their musical construction can contain some interesting parts but the whole of the song either meanders too much, tries too hard, or it's missing a key hook or something that draws people in. Of course Surf City is a classic and a great record, but without that BW hook and those odd chord changes, would it have been as much of a classic? Kudos to them for cutting some solid hits, but there more often seems to be something lacking than there is the reaction of hearing a record and really feeling it.

As far as gauging the importance of any act or any song, that's maybe too subjective. But I have had the feeling that some try to push Jan into the sphere of accolades and influence which people like Brian and Spector and the other familiar names occupy, and if influence is one of the parameters, I don't hear or see too many artists saying they wanted to make records like or were inspired/influenced by Jan Berry's records...except perhaps Brian Wilson who said he loved to watch Jan make records!  Smiley  And since I hear mostly the Spector Wall-Of-Sound in Jan's better productions, and the vocals don't come close to those in Brian's, I can understand why. Of course that's just my ears and my opinions, but while Jan made some good records that became staples on oldies radio for decades, I just don't see him being in the same category as the others while I see some trying to push him up there. Again just my opinion.

Agree to disagree about Del Shannon, I think Del inspired a lot of musicians in the early 60's because he was making records that had some of that rock and roll grit and dirt that were making the national charts at a time when rock music overall was subject to being cleaned up and homogenized, and there wasn't much on the radio that had the kind of grit which Del's records had when "Runaway" charted at #1 across the board in 1961. That song in particular was like a bridge between the 50's sound of doo-wop and heavier instrumentals like "Harlem Nocturne" and "Rumble",  and what would come very soon after with the Beatles and Brian and Spector and Shadow Morton and the like, with chord changes that were different and darker sounding than the standard fare of 1961.
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2021, 03:17:35 PM »

I agree that Jan and Dean should be in the rock hall but the politics of that place have gotten ridiculous. It seems like the only way that 1960s artists that they didn’t induct the first time around can now get in is if they are inducted as “influences.” There is a lot bias in the Hall-for example they have pretty much ignored most 70s-80s British greats like Paul Weller and the Jam, The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Buzzcocks, though The Cure managed to get in. All Of those acts are no brainers in the UK but sales wise were not as big in The States. IMHO it’s a travesty to let Bon Jovi in before those bands. But that is the thing about a rock hall it is very subjective. Also if you let in an artist like Ritchie Valens-who only recorded for a short while, where do you draw the line? Why not let in other acts who are famous for a few classics too
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« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2021, 04:02:27 PM »

While I would say the cream of the crop Jan & Dean tracks (many of which are the Brian co-penned songs not coincidentally) have the strongest J&D vocals, they're still sometimes wonky.

I love "Deadman's Curve", but the worst part of the song is the lead vocal (on either version). Jan had that sort of slightly, I dunno what to call it, like a 5% drunken slur sound to his voice?

That sort of quality became more pronounced on stuff like that "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" track and things like that.
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2021, 04:41:02 PM »

I know what you mean by the "drunken slur" or whatever it is that Jan's voice had. It got more pronounced as time went on. Listen to a song like Space and Time from 1966, where he also seems to be affecting some sort of twang, which he also did on occasion. He was likely trying to stretch his voice beyond where it could go. He was usually better when he had someone singling along with him. For example, he was fine on the early do-wop stuff, many of which were duets with Dean. (Having the two of them sing together helped keep them on-key more often.) He was also okay, as has been mentioned, on stuff where his voice was double-tracked and someone like Brian would join him. When he sang by himself--You Really Know How to Hurt A Guy--is when the flaws showed.
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2021, 05:31:19 PM »

On an objective level there are definite flaws in more than a few of the J&D vocal deliveries. I certainly agree that it is odd given the obvious effort put into so many other aspects of the recording. As far as their influence J&D were without a doubt influential on the evolving scene and many people, musicians or otherwise of the day. I can see that in my parents who moved from out west, their lifestyle definitely owed something to the culture perpetuated by J&D. As far as my further opinion, again, I've been a big BB fan for most of my life and since high school have really become a hopeless fanatic. But it wasn't until the last few years that I really listened to more of J&D than just the Brian-adjacent tunes, and I personally was in fact blown away the deeper I delved. Is every tune 5-Stars? Hell no, but the same can certainly be said about a few BBs albums in my humble opinion. Again, this all gets down to subjective taste at a certain level, I can definitely acknowledge pretty much all of the flaws the articulate members of the board bring to discussion (this is a thoroughly enjoyable, respectful, witty and entertaining discussion  Grin) but to echo my earlier sentiment, a lot of those flaws are just quirky enough for me to enjoy as opposed to... Not. Again, I'm only an amateur musician and certainly not vocally trained, but I can recognize the difference between a Beatle and Jan & Dean when it comes to vocal skill. I know what I'm getting into when I throw on one of their records. I always have fun.
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