Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Bob-A-Ram

In 1958, four doo-wop singers from the Bronx known as the Montereys that included Guy Villari singing Lead, Sal Cuomo First Tenor, Charles Fassert Second Tenor and Ernie Maresca Baritone recorded some demos.  Their demos eventually got them signed with Seville Records where they cut two songs written by Maresca that both went unreleased.  Donnie Jacobucci replaced Ernie Maresca and they recorded their demonstration records at the Regents Sound Studios, a New York recording studio.  Since this studio matched a brand of cigarettes that Guy Villari liked to smoke called Regents they changed their name to the Regents.

The Regents consisted of Villari, Cuomo, Fassert, Don Jacobucci was on bass and Tony ‘Hot Rod’ Gravagna played sax.  In 1958 they invested $15 for an hour’s worth of session time at Associated Studio in Manhattan.  It took them 50 minutes to get a satisfactory recording of the Villari song ‘A Teenager’s Love’ on tape and since they had 10 minutes left they spent this time cutting ‘Barbara-Ann’, a song written by Chuck’s brother, Fred Fassert.  They recorded this song in three takes and shortly after, Tony Gravagna who came along just to play sax was taken into the group.  Fred was 23 when he wrote this song for his 13 year old sister Barbara Ann Fassert.  The Regents were unable to convince their label to release anything, so and they tried to sell ‘A Teenager’s Love’ and ‘Barbara-Ann’ to over 50 recording companies, but everyone said “no” to them and this caused them to disband before 1959 rolled around.

I am not sure if The Regents became The Desires or it was the other way around, and to add to the confusion another group formed called the Run-A-Rounds and it seems like they morphed into the Runarounds which featured Guy Villari, Chuck Fassert, Ronnie Lapinsky and Sal Corrente.  Ernie Maresca had the most success when he pursued his solo career and he had a big hit with ‘Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)’.  He also wrote some songs that became hits for Dion & The Belmonts including ‘The Wanderer’ and ‘Runaround Sue’.

Eddie Jacobucci the younger brother of Don Jacobucci revived the Regents by accident.  His group, the Consorts, lacked original songs for an audition so they cut a version of ‘Barbara Ann’ from an old demo that Eddie found laying around the house.  When the owner of Cousins Records heard the song, he decided to put it out, not by the Consorts, but by the Regents.  With Eddie replacing Guy Villari, the original group reunited, and Cousins released ‘Barbara-Ann’ in March of 1961.  The stuttering doo wop became a number one record in New York, the demand was overwhelming and Cousins leased it to Roulette/Gee for worldwide distribution and saw it soar up to number 13 on the pop charts and number seven R&B.  The Regents’ recording of ‘Barbara Ann’ spent seven weeks on Billboard’s singles chart before it began to slide.  In 1973, director and writer George Lucas included The Regents’ version of ‘Barbara-Ann’ in his movie American Graffiti.

Jan & Dean were an American rock duo consisting of William Jan Berry and Dean Ormsby Torrence recorded ‘Barbara Ann’ in 1962.  They were first called the Barons and they had their first hit with a song called ‘Jennie Lee’, which was written by Jan Berry and Arnie Ginsburg and inspired after they saw a stripper of the stage name Jennie Lee ‘the Bazoom Girl’ at an L.A burlesque theatre.  Jan & Dean kept releasing doo-wop singles in a vein, trying to emulate their earlier success, but none of them charted higher than number 69, and it seemed that Jan & Dean had run out their string.  In early 1963, Jan & Dean played some shows with the Beach Boys, a new band from Hawthorne, CA, whose harmony singing was very similar to theirs.  The Beach Boys were currently enjoying their first Top Ten national hit with Surfin’ U.S.A., and the group backed the duo at their shows, all of them took an immediate liking to each other, especially Brian Wilson and Jan Berry.  The Beach Boys were formed in Hawthorne, California (a Los Angeles suburb) in 1961.  The three brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson were joined by their older cousin Mike Love and close friend Alan Jardine and this band would eventually come to document the Los Angeles scene at the time.  Hot rods, surfing, pretty girls and cruising the scene would all become staples of The Beach Boys’ sound.

In 1965, the Beach Boys were in the studio to record their album Beach Boys Party!, and Dean happened to be down the hall in another studio.  Dean walked into the studio where the Beach Boys were recording and they asked him if he would like to sing a song with them and he told them that was OK but he only had like 15 minutes to do complete this, so it would have to be something that did not need much rehearsal.  Dean suggested doing ‘Barbara Ann’ and he wound up sharing falsetto vocals with Brian Wilson on the song and he 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”.  The Beach Boys made ‘Barbara Ann’ famous all over again. Barbara Ann Fassert was sitting with her mother in the kitchen of their home when she heard her brother Charles and his group burst into Fred’s infectious song.  When she heard her name, she was so excited and still impressionable, that she felt like a movie star!  Barbara Ann Fassert became Barbara Ann Rizzo and she passed away at her home in Palm Beach, FL., March 1, 2010 at the of age 63.  Vince Vance and the Valiants made a parody of this song with their 1980 hit ‘Bomb Iran’ which was set to the same tune.  They credited Fred Fassert as the composer.

Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann (take my hand)
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
You’ve got me rockin’ and a-rollin’
Rockin’ and a-reelin’
Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann

Went to a dance
Looking for romance
Saw Barbara Ann
So I thought I’d take a chance
Barbara Ann, take my hand
You’ve got me rockin’ and a-rollin’
Rockin’ and a reelin’
Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann

Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann (take my hand)
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
You’ve got me rockin’ and a-rollin’
Rockin’ and a reelin’
Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann

Tried Betty Sue
Tried Betty Lou
Tried Mary Sue
But I knew it wouldn’t do
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
You’ve got me rockin’ and a-rollin’
Rockin’ and a reelin’
Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann

Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann (take my hand)
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann
You’ve got me rockin’ and a-rollin’
Rockin’ and a reelin’
Barbara Ann
Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann

Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann
Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann
Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann

Written for Daily Addictions prompt – Complete, for Ragtag Community – Slide and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Impressionable.

12 thoughts on “Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba-Bob-A-Ram

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