BACKSTORY: Is The Classic Song “Barbara Ann” Based On A Real Person?
Thanks for the question...keep 'em comin'!
Q: The Beach Boys song BARBARA ANN, you know, is that a real girl?
A: As a matter of fact, she is real. Fred Fassert wrote that song in 1958, titling the song after his little sister, Barbara Ann Fassert. Fred's brother Charles was a member of the group The Regents so the song was given to them. They recorded the song as a demo in 1958 but the song laid around so long, the group broke up. After their 1961 breakup, Gee Records released the song as BARBARA-ANN (yup, with a hyphen) and it became the first of two chart singles for the group (reaching #13), the second being RUNAROUND (#28, 1961)...not bad for a group that didn't exist anymore. Jan & Dean recorded the song in 1962 as an album track which helped inspire the Beach Boys to record their version for the album “Beach Boys Party!” in 1965; Dean was down the hall in another studio and came down to the Beach Boys recording session. He wound up sharing falsetto vocals with Brian Wilson on the song and is actually more prominent on the single than Brian (at the end of the album version, you can hear Brian's brother Carl shout “thanks, Dean”). In a similar twist – as with The Regents - Capitol Records released the single without the Beach Boys' approval; Brian was experimenting and working on the “Pet Sounds” album at the time and was trying to take the group in a different direction, rather than rely on a song as simple as BARBARA ANN; their single made it to #2 for two weeks in early 1966.