Jan Berry and Brian Wilson wrote some of the most memorable songs to come from the West Coats since the early 1960s. “Surf City,” “Drag City,” “Dead Man’s Curve,” “Sidewalk Surfin’,” “Ride the Wild Surf” and “New Girl in School.” Jan and Brian, along with Roger Christian, churned out hit after hit in 1963 and 1964 and redefined California music. Remarkable, considering Brian’s beleaguered schedule of 12 albums in four years.
Here’s a brief conversation with Wilson about working with Berry.
What was your working relationship like with Jan?
Brian Wilson: Jan had a great attitude.
What is the one thing that most impressed you about Jan’s abilities?
BW: “Honolulu Lulu” blew me out. I love the sound of the background track.
Which song was the most difficult to compose with him?
BW: “Surf City” took a little bit longer, probably because it was the first time we worked together.
What was it like performing a show with Jan & Dean in the early days?
BW: One time [I was there] in 1964 in Honolulu we shared the stage.
Was that the show when there was a big food fight?
BW: That’s right. Jan shot some whip cream in Mike Love’s face.
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