Jan and Dean — “Girl, You’re Blowing My Mind”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 7, 2022

376) Jan and Dean — “Girl, You’re Blowing My Mind”

You know those songs of Bruce Springsteen on Tracks that surely would have been iconic hits had they actually been released on or around the time of The River? Well, “Girl, You’re Blowing My Mind” by Jan and Dean SURELY would have been a smash in the late 60’s, but it didn’t see release until 2010! In the liner notes to the 2010 Rhino release of JD’s Carnival of Sound “lost” album, Domenic Priore and Mark Moore describe it as “a breezy folk rocker that could have easily made the charts” and that “this upbeat, poppy A-side . . . . was just the track that might have brought Jan and Dean back to the charts” and Terry Staunton in Record Collector says that “there’s a formidable sophistication to the grandiose” song. I say that it is an irresistible pop psych confection that Brian Wilson would have been proud to have written and produced. As George Harrison might say, pull everything else out, we’ve got a Savoy Truffle.

“Girl” was first recorded shortly before Jan Berry’s near-fatal auto accident in April ’66. Andrew Sandoval and Mark Moore write in Carnival of Sound‘s liner notes that it was originally recorded in 1966 and “heavily overdubbed and edited during 1967 and 1968, resulting in an almost totally different sounding recording . . . .” Priore and Moore write that “[i]n September 1968, [it] was to have been released [as a single].” Jan kept tinkering with it, and Sandoval and Moore conclude that:

[S]ingles will never be pressed, either due to the fallout from Jan’s Screen Gems contract cancellation or the fact that Jan has decided to remix [the song] yet again . . . . Jan delivers his final mono mix [on December 10, 1968]. Though the label will cut a reference lacquer on this track on February 19, 1969, for possible release or at least review, Warner Bros. will leave the entire project vaulted for the next 40 years.”

Anyway, the song comes from the fabled Carnival of Sound (sorry, no “Carnival of Light” here) album. Staunton informs us that:

The Beach Boys are rightly held in awe for making the journey from the throway Surfin’ Safari to the eloquent genius of Pet Sounds in less than five years, but they weren’t the only sunkissed Californians pushing the envelope. History has often overlooked Jan & Dean, but Jan Berry always hungered for the teen symphonies so commonly associated with Brian Wilson. The duo’s career was put on hold after Berry’s horrific car crash in 1966, but he continued to piece together the components of Carnival Of Sound during his long recovery.


Bruce Eder adds that:

[I]f not as well-known as Brian Wilson’s Smile, Carnival of Sound is just as tantalizing a “lost” artifact of the psychedelic ’60s . . . . [It] was pushing the envelope of what Jan Berry was capable of doing in 1967-1968; listening to it is akin to watching someone run a marathon with a partly injured foot — they might succeed and possibly even do it well, but there’s also the dread of doing untold harm to themselves in the process. . . . What is here is mostly fun, and beautifully accomplished, with superb playing and excellent singing; and the production is, at times, stunning, and also far more self-consciously ambitious than prior Jan and Dean* releases . . . .

All Music Guide

* Dw. Dunphy notes that while it was “[e]ssentially a solo album, [it was] credited to Jan & Dean contractually . . . .” (https://popdose.com/cd-review-jan-dean-carnival-of-sound/)

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Here is Jan’s final single mix:

Check out this other version:

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