This is a long-overdue and fascinating biography of Jan Berry. It has many detailed entries organized by date and topic so you can easily pick it up, flip to any page, year, month day, topic and learn something new. I think the thing that differentiates it from many other works is that it's based on first hand experiences, meaning the information comes directly from Jan Berry's personal archives and interviews with his family members, close friends and creative associates.
I bought a couple of Jan & Dean compilations when I was a teenager back in the 80's and thought these were just a couple of goofball guys having fun. Then a few weeks ago I was randomly listening to Dead Man's Curve, this time Really Listening, and I was suddenly blown away by the backing tracks. It turns out Jan was this super-smart guy who was the creative force behind the arrangements and productions of this music and he had hired The Wrecking Crew to record the backing tracks based on his arrangements. As the promo for this book says, if you like The Wrecking Crew, this book is for you. Truth!
A couple of tidbits:
1) I've known for years that Jan Berry was in the serious car crash but didn't realize he was able to come back into the studio a year after the accident to arrange and record new tracks - and some were incredible! (Check out the Carnival of Sound album) It's interesting to read about that timeframe after the crash because it seems the truth has previously been distorted.
2) It turns out Keith Moon was a huge Jan & Dean fan. Pete Townshend's commentary about it is hilarious!
And 3) Echoing a previous reviewer's comment, Jan might've been a little bit bad sometimes and I may never be able to look at a 45 in quite the same way again.
Great book and worth every penny if you're interested in music history and learning about how music was produced back in the era around the 60's. And I hope Jan and/or Jan & Dean end up in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame one of these days.
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: McFarland (18 February 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786498129
- ISBN-13: 978-0786498123
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.5 x 27.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 1.1 Kg
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