Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jan and Dean – "Sidewalk Surfin'" (1964)

Bust your buns
Bust your buns now!

February may be the shortest month for the rest of you.  But thanks to "29 Songs in 28 Days," February is the longest month for 2 or 3 lines.  

All I feel like doing after posting every single day for a whole month is lying down with a cool washcloth on my forehead.

But lying down with a cool washcloth on one's forehead don't feed the bulldog.  I have to produce three posts a week come rain or come shine.  It's time to get back to work.

Which doesn't mean I can't phone one in every so often, of course.  

When I can't think of a good idea for a post, I fall back on my favorite corner-cutting strategy: I fire up Google and see who was born and who died on today's date.

It turns out that March 10 is the birthday of a number of notable musicians.  

Rick Rubin
For example, a couple of notable record producers were born on March 10.  Most of you are familiar with the legendary producer Rick Rubin, who worked with everyone from the Beastie Boys to the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash to Rage Against the Machine to Lady Gaga, who was born on this date in 1963.

But don't sleep on Huey P. Meaux (a/k/a "The Crazy Cajun"), who was born on March 10, 1929.  Huey produced hits by the Sir Douglas Quintet, Freddy Fender, and others.  Unfortunately, he was caught in possession of thousands of photos and videos of underage girls in sexual situations, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

As for recording artists with March 10 birthday, there's Tom Scholz (born in 1947), the MIT grad who founded the group.  

And Edie Brickell (1966), whose biggest hit was "What I Am."  (You may not know that Edie has been married to Paul Simon since 1992.)

Edie Brickell and Paul Simon in 2014
Country-and-western songstress superstar Carrie Underwood was born on this day in 1983.

And two artists associated with Miley Cyrus –Canadian pop star Robin Thicke (born in 1977), who was famously tweaked on by young Miss Cyrus, and Emily Osment (born in 1992), who got her start as Miley's Hannah Montana co-star – have March 10 birthdays.

But today's 2 or 3 lines is dedicated to a different March 10 birthday boy: namely, Dean Torrence of Jan and Dean, who is celebrating his 75th birthday today.

Jan and Dean were one of my favorites when I was in junior high school.  "Dead Man's Curve," which was a top-ten hit in 1964, was one of the first singles I ever owned, and Surf City (and Other Swingin' Cities) – which featured "Memphis, Tennessee," "Tallahassee Lassie," "Kansas City," "Honolulu Lulu," "Detroit City," and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," among others – was one of my first LPs.

"Sidewalk Surfin'," which made it #25 on the Billboard "Hot 100" chart in 1964, is a song about skateboarding.

Dean's partner, Jan Berry, wanted to record a skateboarding song but was having trouble coming up one.  So he went to his good buddy Brian Wilson and asked for permission to borrow the 1963 Beach Boys' song, "Catch a Wave," with different lyrics.

Growing up in Joplin, Missouri, the opportunities for real surfing were few and far between, but I did have a skateboard.  I wasn't a half bad sidewalk surfer, although I did bust my buns a time or two.

Jan and Dean performed "Sidewalk Surfin'" in the T.A.M.I. Show, the fabulous 1964 concert movie that they co-hosted with the late Lesley Gore.  (Other artists who appeared in that movie included James Brown, Chuck Berry, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones.)   

Here are Jan and Dean performing "Sidewalk Surfin'" and then demonstrating their skateboarding technique on American Bandstand

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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