Jan & Dean — “Mulholland”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — June 9, 2022


479) Jan & Dean — “Mulholland”

In my mind, this is the greatest ode to a street in song since “Penny Lane.” Terry Staunton sees “a formidable sophistication to . . . the epic LA poetry of Mulholland.” (https://recordcollectormag.com/reviews/album/carnival-of-sound). Domenic Priore & Mark Moore explain that:

“Mullholland” equates the zenith drive atop Hollywood Hills as a celestial experience, complemented by a sitar and a raga “snake charmer” motif, giving the song a magic-carpet feel. It’s then all brought down to Earth by a girl jumping not onto a flying rug, but into Jan’s car. The extended stereo mix . . . features some of Jan & Dean’s stock-in-trade comedy with Jan arguing with police before breaking into a bit of “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.”

liner notes to the Carnival of Sound CD

Anyway, the song comes from the fabled “lost” Carnival of Sound album, unreleased until 2010 (see #376). Gold Mine Magazine and Endless Summer Quarterly enthuse that:

Jan Berry’s Carnival Of Sound — a collection of music he finished in 1968 (after his near-fatal automobile accident on April 12, 1966) — is astonishing . . . . This album will close a previously mythic chapter and invigorate Jan Berry’s musical legacy. . . . This is psychedelic pop at its best.


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 . . . . 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 . . . . Jan & Dean had always managed to quietly impress listeners by slipping these beautifully produced jewels past them as pop music, but on Carnival of Sound, they were very obviously calling more attention to the layers of sound swirling and shifting below the surface . . . .


Terry Staunton adds 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.


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Here is the extended stereo mix:

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