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Who was the Inspiration Behind the Hit Doo-Wop Song, “Barbara Ann?”

Music | October 3, 2018

NOVEMBER 02: THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS Photo of BEACH BOYS, Event: Circa '67., Artist: Beach Boys (Photo by David Farrell/Redferns)

How many people know the name Fred Fassert? Let’s face it… it isn’t exactly a household name; at least not anymore. Fred Fassert was the genius songwriter behind an exceptionally popular song from the late '50s. That song is, “Barbara Ann.” The song really needs no introduction; especially if you were a product of the groovy era.  

A young, Dick Clark represented the epic television series, American Bandstand!

“Barbara Ann” was written by Fred Fassert and originally recorded by The Regents. Released in 1961, “Barbara Ann,” soon hit No. 13 of The Billboard Hot 100 chart after being featured on American Bandstand!

The Regents preceded The Beach Boys, not only with the song, “Barbara Ann,” but also with their pop culture style!

The Regents first released their version of “Barbara Ann” in 1961. The song was written by songwriter, Fred Fassert and was actually written with his younger sister.... you guessed it… Barbara Ann Fassert, in mind. At the time, Fred’s brother, Charles Fassert, was a member of The Regents and the iconic song was given to them to record. The song was composed in 1958 and first released on a vinyl, 45 record in 1961 by The Regents.  

The cover version of “Barbara Ann,” by The Beach Boys is the probably the best and well-known version of this historic song, which they released in 1965. It is a little-known fact that Dean Torrence, of Jan and Dean, accompanied Brian Wilson as a lead vocalist. Despite this fact, he wasn’t mentioned or credited for his contribution to the album it was released on. Never mind that… maybe Dean wasn’t formally credited, but Carl Wilson can be heard stating, “Thanks, Dean!” at the end of the song recording. Shortly after releasing this version, the song stayed at No. 2 on the Billboard charts for 2 weeks in a row!

It is probably safe to say, however, that you have heard of the epic rock and roll band, The Beach Boys. The original Beach Boy band line up consisted of Brian and Dennis Wilson, Carl Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine.  

The Beach Boys were well known for their style of music which included those iconic surfing songs!

The list of songs that The Beach Boys have been known for is literally voluminous. They incorporated many genres of music to create their own unique style. Jazz, rock and roll, rhythm and blues and even classical music were all sounds The Beach Boys meshed together to create their easily recognizable brand of music.

The Beach Boys were a force to be reckoned with and were considered to be young, innovated and “one of the most influential acts of the rock era.” 

After The Beach Boys released their version of “Barbara Ann,” they actually beat out The Beatles for their hit song at the time, “We Can Work It Out.” This was just one of many successes that The Beach Boys would realize throughout their career.

Some of the iconic and famous “Barbara Ann” lyrics include the following:

Went to a dance looking for romance
Saw Barbara Ann so I thought I'd take a chance

Fred Fassert went out on a limb writing such a provocative song (for the era) including the name of his younger sister, Barbara Ann Fassert. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a historic piece of the American music puzzle and became well known across the map!  

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.