DEAR JERRY: I know that information on album liner notes and publications can be wrong.
For example, the Beach Boys were mostly on Capitol Records, yet I have several Capitol LPs that clearly state that the single of "Pamela Jean" was by the Beach Boys, even though credited to "The Survivors."
Even the comprehensive book, "Surf's Up! - The Beach Boys on Record 1961-1981," agrees.
It does sound like them, but now I've seen some YouTube postings that challenge those sources.
Is "Pamela Jean" really by the Beach Boys?
Daniel Nemzer, Pittsburg, Calif.
DEAR DANIEL: "Pamela Jean" is really by a Beach Boy, but just one.
Brian Wilson wrote the song and sings the lead, but no other Beach Boys are on this doo-wopish, Dion-inspired track.
I was fortunate to locate and speak with Survivor David Nolan, and what follows is his account of a friendship with Brian Wilson, and how "Pamela Jean" came to be:
"In early 1963 I moved into an apartment in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.
"One day I had some musician friends over for a jam session, and a guy knocked on my door and said 'Hi, I live next door. Do you mind if I come in and listen to you guys for a while?' I invited him in, and we continued playing.
"During a break he said, 'You guys are really good. Have you ever heard of the Beach Boys?'
"Duh? It was 1963, so of course I said YES!
"His next words were 'I'm Brian Wilson.'
"A few days later I met Brian's roommate, Bob Norberg, and then Rich Peterson, another of Brian's friends. I think I was 19 and Brian was 21 at the time.
"We spent most the summer of '63 riding around with Brian in his car, and that occasionally meant going with the Beach Boys to Goldstar and Western recording studios.
"On one session at Goldstar, Bob, Rich, and I provided hand claps and other background sounds on 'Be True to Your School' (Capitol 5069), a Beach Boys hit. Brian also used the Honeys as cheerleaders on that track. Those three girls previously recorded Brian's 'Surfin' Down the Swanee River' (Capitol 4952) as themselves.
"Then Brian wrote two songs especially for us, 'Wich Stand' a real sandwich joint that we liked and 'A Joy Ride Cruise.' We recorded 'Wich Stand' at Goldstar, with the legendary Hal Blaine on drums, but never went back to record 'A Joy Ride Cruise.'
"At the time, Brian was enamored with Dion's style, and his hits 'Come Go With Me' and 'Donna the Prima Donna.' With Dion's sound in mind, he wrote 'Pamela Jean' for the four of us.
"The Survivors were Brian, Bob, Rich, and me.
"It's easy to understand why so many thought this was just another record by the Beach Boys, using a different name. Brian sang the lead, so it sounded just like many Beach Boys songs that featured him. Like their records, it was on Capitol, and the label says 'Pamela Jean' was written, arranged, and produced by Brian Wilson.
"The record came out in January 1964 (Capitol 5102), to only a modicum of attention on radio and TV in Southern California. That was just before we were swept away by the British Invasion.
"It's unfortunate Capitol couldn't have issued it sooner, because in 1964 nearly all of Capitol's promotional potential was understandably behind the Beatles."
Dave concludes with one of his favorite memories of those halcyon days:
"Riding around in the car with Brian and having him come up with things like 'Little St. Nick' was amazing; to watch the man's mind work, to know he literally could think in four-part harmony, and even tell you which part is yours. He would turn to you and say 'go like this,' then he'd do the part for you. Then he'd turn to the next guy and do the same thing for his part."
Dave Nolan, Nashville
DEAR JERRY: Recently I bought "Billboard Top Rock'n Roll Hits of 1972" (Rhino R1-70633). It's one in a series, with an LP for each year.
One of the 1972 tunes is "I Can See Clearly Now," by Johnny Nash, but around the 1:15 point, there's a brief but unnatural noise, at least to me.
I thought it was a flaw in the vinyl, but then I found the 1972 single (Epic 5-10902) and it is the same.
Do you know of a record or CD of "I Can See Clearly Now" that does not have this peculiar noise?
Jascha Griffen, Kingsport, Tenn.
DEAR JASCHA: No, I have yet to find the original (1972) recording on any format (45, LP, CD, etc.), without that noise. And I have listened to many.
I agree, it does not sound like it belongs there. But if it were a mistake, one would think a corrected version would exist.
Mysteriously, the length and volume of this audible apparition varies somewhat from one LP to another, but not so much with the singles.
An "Extended Remix" (3:10) of "I Can See Clearly Now" came out in the UK in 1989 (Epic 654797-2), with modernized vocals, music, and accompaniment not heard on the original (2:48).
Thankfully, what this remix does not have is the seemingly disliked blip.