EMI Plus' budget-priced The Story series presents straightforward, no-frills compilations of major rock artists with catalogs in the EMI vaults, accompanied by CD-ROMs containing brief biographical information (in English, Dutch, French, and Spanish), discographies consisting of album titles and dates of release, and a photo gallery. The Jan & Dean volume simply contains the first 19 of the duo's Billboard Hot 100 chart entries, 1958-1964, in chronological order. (That includes "Jennie Lee" and "Gas Money," actually credited to Jan & Arnie.) There is plenty of room remaining on the disc to add their remaining six chart entries, but the album stops arbitrarily with "Sidewalk Surfin'." Additionally, inattention on the part of the compilers has resulted in the inclusion of versions of "Linda," "Surf City," and "The New Girl in School" that are cluttered with false starts, studio chatter, and breakdowns, versions first used at the dawn of the CD era by some reissue producer who never listens to records more than once and thought they would be amusing. It is annoying that they seemingly have become the standard versions for subsequent reissues. All that said, the album contains Jan & Dean's major hits, and the sequencing allows an appreciation of their development from a late-'50s doo wop act into a surf-and-car group with a style influenced (and partly written and performed) by the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann