‘Ariel,’ Dean Friedman

by Jay Lustig

Dean Friedman’s 1977 self-titled debut album contained his biggest hit, “Ariel.”

It takes guts to set a love song in Paramus Park, but that’s just what Dean Friedman did in his 1977 song, “Ariel,” which begins with him meeting a girl by the shopping mecca’s waterfall.

Friedman grew up in Paramus — or, as he describes it in the song, “deep in the bosom of suburbia” — so I guess it was a logical thing for him to do. But still, he deserves credit for not worrying that people would think that part of the song would make him seem unhip — or that the song’s later marijuana references would keep it off the radio.

But it all worked out for him. The sweet, almost goofy love song, with a backing vocal arrangement straight out of the Four Seasons’ songbook, was his biggest hit, rising to the No. 26 position on Billboard magazine’s pop chart.

Friedman is still performing. Catch up with his current activities at deanfriedman.com.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.

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