DEAR JERRY: Whenever I run across records by Jan & Dean that I don't have, I always grab them. But now I need a little help.
A few years after their peak period, one or two singles came out credited to groups. One of them may be Papa Da Do Ron Ron, or something similar.
Whether these groups included both Jan and Dean or not I don't know, as I am not sure how soon he resumed recording after his auto crash.
What can you tell me about these obscure recordings? Did any become hits?
Nick Hanford, Lancaster, Pa.
DEAR NICK: Although none became chart hits, I can tell you a bit about them.
In 1967, the year after Jan's near-fatal accident, Dean made two recordings with Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and other friends, that came out credited to the Laughing Gravy.
White Whale issued those two, “Vegetables” and “Snow Flakes on Laughing Gravy's Whiskers,” as a single (No. 261) in early '68.
Then in 1972, Dean and some surf music pals Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher among them formed the Legendary Masked Surfers. They issued one single late that year, “Gonna Hustle You” coupled with “Summertime Summertime” (United Artists 50958) and another in mid-'73, “Summer Means Fun” backed with a reissue of “Gonna Hustle You.” (United Artists XW270).
One more release of “Gonna Hustle You” came out in 1975, this time with “Sidewalk Surfin'” as the B-side (United Artists XW670). Jan was not a member of either of these groups.
As for Papa Doo Run Run, this is an independent outfit known for singing the songs of, and in the style of, Jan & Dean as well as the Beach Boys.
Another of this band's Jan & Dean connections is their name. They chose because “papa doo ron doo ron de” is the opening line of “New Girl in School,” one of Jan & Dean's 1964 hits.
Then in June 1976, Jan's first live performance after the accident came during a Papa Doo Run Run concert at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood.
Much to the crowd's surprise and pleasure, Jan joined Dean and Papa Doo on stage for about 30 minutes, then left to a standing ovation.
Papa Doo Run Run's live show is one of the most seen in surf music history, partly because they had an unprecedented 15-year (1975-'90) gig as the Celebrity House Band at Disneyland.
DEAR JERRY: I enjoyed your recent column on the oddities of the No. 1 hits.
That info reminded me of one trivia tidbit I have not seen mentioned before, namely which is the first label of the rock era to have consecutive No. 1 hits?
Del Armbruster, Danbury, Conn.
DEAR DEL: It certainly didn't take long.
Capitol had the No. 1 song in mid-November 1955 with “Sixteen Tons” (Tennessee Ernie Ford), replaced by Dean Martin's “Memories Are Made of This” January 7, 1956, also on Capitol.
Next came RCA Victor's new singing sensation, a fellow named Elvis Presley, who held the No. 1 spot for 16 weeks that fall. First with “Don't Be Cruel” backed with “Hound Dog” (two songs but on one single), then with “Love Me Tender.”
After that it happened numerous times.
IZ ZAT SO? The Beach Boys released the first surf record to make the Top 10 (“Surfin' U.S.A.”), but Jan & Dean can forever claim to be the first of that genre to reach No. 1.
That of course would be “Surf City,” from the summer of '63.
Suprisingly, of the four No. 1 hits by the group most associated with surf music, the Beach Boys, none have a surfing theme.
They are “I Get Around; Help Me, Rhonda; Good Vibrations; ” and “Kokomo.”