Author Topic: What If ?  (Read 11550 times)

Moon Dawg

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What If ?
« on: June 29, 2014, 04:28:25 PM »
  Where were Jan & Dean headed, as an artistic entity and commercial force, in early 1966? What do you see happening to the duo, if in some alternate universe, the events of April 12 1966 never occurred? No crash on Dead Man's Curve, Jan healthy.

  I have a couple of theories. Singles sales/chart positions were down after the heady success of 1963-64. Were they tapped out as a hit singles act? Would Jan have gone forward as a solo act?

  It's also likely that Jan was headed toward CARNIVAL OF SOUND. It would have probably been fully realized, recorded, and released sometime in 1967.

 As it is, we'll never know. Just idle speculation on a Sunday evening.

Mike1965

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2014, 08:37:14 PM »
I think if you look at the direction the Beach Boys went, in, out, back in again briefly on the top 40 after the same period you have your answer but I think Jan & Dean would have been similar on a smaller scale.  Also, Jan & Dean never thought  their fame would last either and that is why they both went to college even during the height of their fame. 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 03:06:32 PM by Mike1965 »

jdman

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 05:46:33 AM »
Yeah, certainly the original concept of Filet of Soul and Batman wasn't going to work. Carnival of Sound may have worked, but we'll never know. Of course, if the pilot On the Run would have worked, then you'd have a new audience for Jan & Dean. That could've started a whole new thing, probably in the bubble gum genre. They weren't really getting along, though. I'd guess that Jan would have continued to produce and then practiced medicine while Dean would've done exactly what he did. A healthy Jan certainly would have made a 70's or 80's comeback even more successful and possibly a new studio album.

2dean2

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 11:23:03 AM »
Well I never thought you could use the last year or so before Jan's accident to measure their future . Too much going on the movie /train wreck , the On the Run pilot...
We will never know how the show would've went. Or if Jan would've given it all up to practice medicine. I also think their was a lot of guy's around Jan that were doing their best to get Dean out of the picture . They just could not understand how the entertainment biz works. Dean was there for a reason. Lou knew it the "Suits" knew it and as smart as Jan was he knew it. Friendships have there peaks and valley's And when you mix in business a lot more valley's .

Actorman

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2014, 08:30:07 AM »
I believe "Jan & Dean" as a recording act would probably have slowly been phased out by the end of the 60s and Jan would have turned his attention more to writing and producing.  I could see him having gone the Peter Asher or Snuff Garrett route and producing a string of hits for other artists through the 70s and 80s.  I could also see him partnering with Lou Adler in his nightclub and multi-media ventures.  The J&D record label never really had a chance to get off the ground due to the accident, but with some guidance from friends like Lou and Herb Alpert, I think there was real potential for Jan to have had some success as a label owner as well.

Jan was so smart, talented and most importantly, connected, that I really believe he would have become a major player in the business.   

Kentucky Surfer

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2014, 02:24:49 PM »
Some will disagree with this...but here goes.

There always seemed to be a lot of tension in Jan & Dean's relationship due to Jan's role as producer of the music.  To be fair to Jan, the results of his work are still here for all of us to hear in Jan & Dean's timeless recordings.  With regard to studio recordings, he seemed (to me) to regard Dean Torrence's voice as another musical instrument.  It appeared that Jan was always willing to find another vocalist to sing Dean's parts if Dean was not available to come to the studio at whatever hour that Jan was recording.

On "Folk & Roll", it seemed (to my ears) that Jan accomplished the album with very limited participation by Dean.  It sounded like most of Side 1 (other than "Hang On Sloopy" ) was recorded with assistance from P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri (a/k/a "The Fantastic Baggies").  Dean recorded the solo vocal on "Yesterday" and performed with Jan on "Turn Turn Turn".  The latter song confimed to me that Jan & Dean still harmonized very well.  However, it may have been during the recording of "A Beginning From An End" that Jan threw Dean out of the studio after Dean's complaints about the song.   It also appears that Dean was not a fan of "The Universal Coward" and, perhaps, did not want his name on the record.
As a result, two songs from Folk & Roll ("I Can't Wait To Love You" and "The Universal Coward") were released as a Jan Berry solo recording. 

This would seem to imply that a split was imminent.

However...

The follow-on project, "Jan & Dean Meet Batman" featured heavy involvement from Dean.  Throughout their career, it seemed (to me) that Dean played a greater role in Jan & Dean's comedic persona than he did in their recording career.  The "Batman" album gave Dean a chance to shine, and perhaps the hours he and Jan spent on this album healed some of the rift that may have existed between them.  The next album, "Filet of Soul", featured more comedy and also seemed to be more of a collaboration between Jan & Dean.

 There is no way of knowing whether "On the Run" would have been picked up by ABC.  While the pilot that many of us have seen on youTube features the typical Jan & Dean humor, the dialogue seems a little tentative.  I am not convinced that ABC would have taken this show seriously except as a summer replacement show.  However, William Asher (who produced his wife, Elizabeth Montgomery, in Bewitched on ABC) may have been able to exert some influence to get the show on the air, and Dick Clark might have even put in a good word for his friends Jan & Dean. 

So, assuming that On The Run was accepted for at least a short run, it would have afforded Jan & Dean a new platform for promoting their music.  One could reasonably assume that a soundtrack album would have been issued in the wake of the show, featuring some of the silly songs like "Time And Space" as well as a few "serious" Jan & Dean songs that Jan would have produced.  Dean would have no doubt been a participant especially if the songs were used in the show.

At the same time, Jan would have been continuing his studio experiments with "Norwegian Wood" and "Louisiana Man" along with some of the tracks that are now part of "Carousel of Sound".  Liberty Records, who initially resisted "Norwegian Wood", might have changed their mind if the song had received exposure on the TV show and recieved a favorable public response.  This would have given Jan an improved bargaining position with Liberty or another prospective label.  Perhaps that would have opened the door for Jan to produce other artists.

The increased exposure that resulted from a TV show would have no doubt led to more touring opportunities for Jan & Dean.  This would have, most likely, extended their career for a couple of years.  Dean would have played a prominent role in the comedic part of the stage shows, and the talk of a split between the two would have died down.

The true test would have been whether Jan's continued musical vision would have remained commercially viable.   For a while, at least, the TV show might have assured a favorable audience for Jan & Dean's recordings.   However,  we will never know how Jan might have responded musically to The Summer of Love and Woodstock.  Carnival of Sound would have no doubt evolved from what we ultimately heard.   Would Dean have suggested any of the songs he recorded for Save For A Rainy Day?  Would Jan have listened to Dean's suggestions or ignored them?  A combination of the two albums might have been a viable release.

As the sixties wrapped up, the first signs of a rock and roll revival would have emerged.  If Jan & Dean's Top 40 career had started to stall by this point, Dean might have suggested embracing the nostalgia phase as a sound business move.  Jan, on the other hand, might have rejected such a move, preferring to focus his efforts on producing other artists and releasing singles as a solo artist.

And all of this might have been academic had Jan been inducted into the Army.  The TV shows and the tours would have been shelved, and Jan might have had to rely on Dean to keep things going. (But that is another parallel path through history...)

I guess the truth is we will never know how things would have been different had Jan not been severely injured in April 1966.

Bitman

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2014, 07:54:30 AM »
It seems I recall reading an article in which Dean said the show was almost immediately picked up by ABC for the fall. He also talked about how he and Jan were hoping it wouldn't get picked up because they were already so busy with school, recording, touring, etc. Of course, the real trick would've been for Jan to extricate himself from military duty. Had fate not intervened, the TV show would almost certainly have been a major boost to J&D's chart success. Remember, back in those days there was no cable TV, only three television networks and, more importantly, no Internet to compete for attention. All eyes were on TV, all ears on radio. While not a direct comparison, look at what TV exposure did for the Monkees that fall.

Mike

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2014, 04:52:37 PM »
What if the movie had been made that was started in August of 1965?  What singles  or soundtrack album would have been released? 

Mike1965

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2014, 06:13:22 PM »
Here is another thought to ponder.  Jan was drafted and most likely would have been sent to Vietnam if not for the accident.  More than 10% of our soldiers died in combat. If Jan ended up being one the soldiers who died in Vietnam we would have not had Jan at all  for the next 38 years.

sunny13

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2014, 06:53:02 PM »
Mike, you a point there.  I keep thinking about this over and over.  We do know how bad was Jan accident and he almost lost the leg.  Did he get any pins into his leg?  I was wondering how well Jan got and if he was able to pass the physical.   Sometimes I keep thinking about the Beach Boys, the Wilson brothers.  So, Brian didn't have to go, because his hearing was bad.  Dennis didn't had to go, because he got caught with another guy peeing into a jar, and Carl took it to the court .  That of course went for years and he was on probation, had to play in prisons and at hospitals. 

Mike

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2014, 07:08:58 PM »
What is the whole story behind Jan's medical school deferment? Why did the deferment not stay in place while Jan's leg mended and they let him back in to medical school in the fall of '66.  I think he had completed one year already,  so why not hold his spot for 1 year?    Maybe Mark's book will shed more light on this.

Mike

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2014, 07:28:32 PM »
Getting back to the music, I think if Girl, your blowing my mind was in the beginning stages in the spring of 1966 and it was given the chance to be fully completed that would have been a departure for Jan and Dean. It would have been more in line with the way music was going in the 60's.   The chorus on Folk City has a little bit of that in it but maybe a little too much of the old in it as well.  It does seem that Jan and Dean were trying to find their audience some where between pre-teen to college age.  If  Batman didn't work so well for the pre-teen then maybe filet of soul would have possibly worked for a little older crowd.  But what they really could use would have been a song like Girl, your blowing my mind.  A love song for the times that were changing.

ripplewine

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2014, 06:49:08 AM »
Had Jan been drafted, I have a feeling that given his background and his unusually high intelligence, he wouldn't have been put into the infantry.  I think Jan might have joined the ranks of the support/specialist personnel, probably in the Air Force--maybe in something having to do with communications.  He might have been sent to Germany or Korea instead of Vietnam, but who knows?  The military doesn't always make the absolute best use of all its people, but I can see Jan going somewhere other than the combat arms.

Charles

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2014, 11:42:02 AM »
As much as I respect their music, I think they'd shot their bolt by 1964. My hat goes off to them for keeping it going as long as they did. I got into their music around 1980, and I remember talking to a friend's dad about Jan and Dean, and he said Universal Coward turned him off their music in a big way. Can you imagine touring California in the 60's and having Universal Coward in your set? For me, that and Pop Symphony demonstrate that Jan had lost touch with popular culture.

Mike1965

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Re: What If ?
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2014, 02:47:44 PM »
Jan was popular culture.  Culture in America took a turn for the worst with drugs and dirty hippies in the mid to late 1960's.  But not all artist went in that direction nor did they have too.