In the mid-’80s, a punk band from Manville called Detention recorded the perfect rebuttal to The Beach Boys’ “California Girls.” It starts like this:
“Heard a lot about California and such
You don’t hear about New Jersey much
Stuck between New York and Philly
Some snobs think this state is filthy!
Heard California girls sure are pretty
You should see ’em in Atlantic City!
Seaside Heights, Beach Haven West
New Jersey girls are the buh-buh-buh-buh-best!”
The problem is, very few people heard it this buoyant surfing anthem, which includes an imitation of Gov. Kean saying “New Jersey and you, perfect together” (a popular slogan of the time). Detention released an album on the Somerville-based Rigor Mortis label, and earned a little bit of attention with its intentionally obnoxious song, “Dead Rock ‘n’ Rollers.” But the band soon broke up, and “Beaches” was soon forgotten. But it’s 350 Jersey Songs’ mission — well, part of its mission, anyway — to rescue great songs like these from obscurity. So please check out the video below, and, if you like it, share it with someone you love!
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking 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. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.