Author Topic: Jan Berry Biography  (Read 177 times)

surferbee

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Jan Berry Biography
« on: March 18, 2020, 09:47:38 AM »
Hi Mark

On the 'new' but as it turned out temporary website you posted some information about your new biography. Are you able to update us on how its going.
I posted a question about whether it will be illustrated. I've said before how sad it is that the early sixties were just not photographed or filmed enough. I understand why but, as far as I know, there are no pictures of Jan and Brian working together and - part from the Pop Symphony shots very little of Jan in the studio.
 I've read and reread and now constantly reference the Jan and Dean Record which is an outstanding example of intelligent research. I can't wait for the next book....

Mark A. Moore

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Re: Jan Berry Biography
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2020, 04:28:03 PM »
Hi Mark

On the 'new' but as it turned out temporary website you posted some information about your new biography. Are you able to update us on how its going.
I posted a question about whether it will be illustrated. I've said before how sad it is that the early sixties were just not photographed or filmed enough. I understand why but, as far as I know, there are no pictures of Jan and Brian working together and - part from the Pop Symphony shots very little of Jan in the studio.
 I've read and reread and now constantly reference the Jan and Dean Record which is an outstanding example of intelligent research. I can't wait for the next book....

Thanks Surferbee,

The book is going well and nearly finished. I had to get the deadline extended. It will be well illustrated with photos, maps, and diagrams.

There is a photo of Jan and Brian together, but not in the studio. The reason you don't see images of them working together in the studio is because they were not supposed to be working together in that capacity. It was a blatant violation of Jan's Nevins-Kirshner and Screen Gems contracts.

Their songwriting relationship was permissible, because everything Jan wrote or co-wrote was automatically published by Screen Gems. Any songwriting collaborators who worked with Jan, including Brian Wilson, forfeited any publishing to work with Jan. Brian got a songwriting royalty for co-writing with Jan, but no publishing royalty, which was why Murry Wilson was so upset.

Just to be clear, for those who don't understand, the songwriting royalty for a song, and the publishing royalty for that song, are not the same thing. The writing and publishing are two different revenue streams.

The best shots of Jan in the studio are owned by Dean Torrence and Jill Gibson. Dean contributed a couple of his images for my forthcoming book. And I'll be lobbying the publisher (McFarland) to use one of Jill's images (at least in part) for the cover. But that'll be McFarland's call.

jdman

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Re: Jan Berry Biography
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2020, 04:51:49 AM »
Iím looking forward to this book! I guess itíll be explained why it was a no no to work in the studio together. Brian didnít produce anything for Jan. He just sang some harmony. Not sure why thatís wrong. But anyway. Canít wait to read it!

Mark A. Moore

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Re: Jan Berry Biography
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2020, 04:18:48 PM »
Iím looking forward to this book! I guess itíll be explained why it was a no no to work in the studio together. Brian didnít produce anything for Jan. He just sang some harmony. Not sure why thatís wrong. But anyway. Canít wait to read it!

It's all about what the contracts stipulated.

Jan's agreements forbade him from working with members of other acts (meaning entities not under the aegis of Nevins-Kirshner/Screen Gems and their affiliated labels). And the same applied to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys with their Capitol contract. Verboten. I don't know the details of the Capitol contract, but there would have been a standard clause about it.

I have all of Jan's contracts from Nevins-Kirshner and Screen Gems . . . (1) Artist, (2) Production, (3) Songwriting, and (4) Liberty Records (which was actually a deal with Nevins-Kirshner and then Screen Gems, undersigned by J&D). So those details are known.

When Dean sang on "Barbara Ann" in 1965 it was in violation of Jan & Dean's artist contract with Screen Gems. And he's lucky they didn't find out at the time. They might well have sued him, Jan & Dean, the Beach Boys, and Capitol Records . . . especially on the heels of Screen Gems's wide-ranging lawsuit against Jan and Lou Adler, et al,  the previous year.

Dean took an enormous risk with that, and it's easy to see why Jan warned him against it.

jdman

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Re: Jan Berry Biography
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2020, 09:22:18 AM »
WOW, that stuff was serious. It just seems silly now.
So it was okay for Brian and Jan to write together but Brian's vocal on Surf City, Drag City and Ride the Wild Surf was a violation just like Dean on Barbara Ann.
I'm glad they gave the middle finger to all that.

surferbee

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Re: Jan Berry Biography
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2020, 09:12:10 AM »
Yes it is interesting how tightly controlled contracts must have been.
A number of musicians have gone to court to reassert copyright or ownership and I wondered whether - although Jan was seen as breaking contract - he might have challenged his writing credits on Little Old Lady etc had he been well enough and rich enough.

Another factor regarding the limited photos is that there just seem to be not many taken. True of Jan and Dean but other artists of the time. Jill's Pop Symphony photos are excellent - a pity that there aren't others.