Though Jan & Dean had been recording since 1959, their most successful year was 1964, when they had seven songs in the singles charts. The first of these, which actually entered the charts in late 1963 and peaked in the Top Ten in January 1964, was "Drag City," the duo's tribute to drag racing. Jan Berry and Dean Torrence were very close to the Beach Boys, with whom they also competed in the harmony-filled Southern California sound of surfing and racing. Berry and the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson had collaborated on Jan and Dean's chart-topping 1963 hit "Surf City," which was very similar to Wilson and Roger Christian's car song "Shut Down," recorded by the Beach Boys. For "Drag City," Berry, Wilson, and Christian got together and turned out another variation on the same theme. Like "Shut Down" and "Surf City," "Drag City" featured an opening hook line, bouncy, boastful lyrics, and choruses dominated by a soaring falsetto voice. The melodies of the three songs (not to mention those of several other contemporary songs by the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, and copycat acts like the Rip Chords, who even covered "Drag City" in early 1964) were very similar. This was, however, a popular sound and, at least until the Beatles appeared in 1964 to change the pop universe, one that could be recycled frequently for hits. Copies always turn out to be less memorable than originals, however, and while "Drag City" is an essential inclusion on any Jan & Dean best-of or compilation of hot rod hits, it has not had much life as a composition independent of its time and context.