Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Jul 09, 2023
Thanks to his songwriting and producing contracts with Screen Gems, Jan Berry was free to write, arrange, and produce for artists other than Jan & Dean during the duo’s heyday.
For a somewhat special trio of friends who had a recording deal with Colpix Records, Berry used his talents to produce a number of songs for them …
The members of the trio were Tony Minichiello, Vic Diaz, and Manuel Sanchez. All three had been classmates of Berry’s at University High School in Los Angeles. In addition to this, they recorded as the Gents in 1961 on the Liberty label with Berry as their music arranger.
A couple of years later, they sang the distinctive back up harmonies for Jan & Dean on their Surf City and Drag City LPs in 1963, and on part of the Dead Man’s Curve / The New Girl In School LP in 1964.
In addition to playing a vital role in establishing of the “Jan & Dean sound,” the trio, known as the Matadors, became quite popular in the Los Angeles area, often playing at Gazarri’s on La Cienega Blvd. They were also regulars on KHJ-TV’s local program Hollywood A Go Go.
In July 1963, the Matadors had their first release, “Perfidia” with Jan Berry singing the bass part. The record failed to chart nationally in the U.S. but it was a massive hit in the Philippines.
It’s too bad that the B-side, co-written by Berry, received little if any airplay at the time. If it had, perhaps the Matadors would have had a winning hand with their teenage ballad the “Ace Of Hearts,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.