Song Lyric Sunday | “Little Old Lady from Pasadena” – Jan and Dean

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

This week’s theme is  Home Town or City where you were born, or where lived in, or some place that you relate to.


Pasadena, California will always be a special place to me because it’s where my late husband and I married and lived for almost twenty years. All three of our children were born in Huntington Memorial Hospital and attended schools in the Pasadena Unified School District.

The city is home to the world famous Rose Bowl Stadium and hosts the Tournament of Roses Parade every January 1st. My father-in-law had a camper and would rent a spot along the parade route. He, my husband and the kids would spend the night–along with hundreds of thousands of other people–on Colorado Blvd and wake to a front row parade seat. My mother-in-law would join them in the morning. I watched the parade on television because cramming 1.5 million people into a narrow five and a half miles was not–and still isn’t–my idea of a good time. I could hear the marching bands from my living room. That was festive enough for me! 😀

As much as I loved southern California, I hated driving there… but you cannot live there without driving! I worked in the next city over – Glendale – and family, friends, and favorite spots of recreation were scattered from Canyon Country to Venice Beach, so I was well acquainted with the freeways, or as I used to call them… parking lots! 😀

You don’t have to drive far on so-Cal freeways to encounter just about every type of driver–rude, selfish, distracted, slow, and just plain dumb.

And then there are the speeders, who are not always what you expect.

Driving in the northeast Los Angeles County area, particularly in aging communities like Glendale, Altadena, and Pasadena, odds were good that you’d be rear-ended at least once, only to turn around and see this Buick Roadmaster smashed into your back end and a wrinkled little dear in a color-coordinated skirt-suit gingerly disembarking and muttering, “This is my husband’s car, see. My foot could barely reach the brake pedal.” Oh, and every year a float in the Tournament of Roses Parade gets held up by a granny who couldn’t read the detour signs and just blunders right into a marching band. Fun times.

That’s the moment which Jan and Dean chose to parody with The Little Old Lady from Pasadena in 1964, right at the tail end of the time when doo-wop surf music was on its way out. It’s just as well; Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys tended to be blended together so much that nobody could tell one from the other. Today, all surf-era music is made by the Beach Boys as far as the public mind is concerned, and bands like The Sunrays, The Rivieras, and Jan and Dean are forever consigned to their shadow, even though Jan and Dean predate the Beach Boys and the same guy (Roger Christian) wrote many songs for both.

The song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1964 and number one on Canada’s RPM chart.



  • One parade I never missed was the popular Doo Dah Parade, an annual event satirizing the Rose Parade which originated in Old Pasadena in 1978. It was held a month before Christmas and attracted local residents for a day of fun with lots of local vendors setup for business. Most years, we sat right on the curb just to get hit with shaving cream and tortillas. (You had to be there!) However the event gained national notoriety (think Synchronized Briefcase Drill Team) and has been held in January and May, and in other nearby cities.
  • Pasadena is also home to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) (managed for NASA by Caltech) has a  Pasadena mailing address but is actually located in nearby LaCanada-Flintridge.
  • In addition to the annual New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game and a College Football Playoff semi-final game every three years, the Rose Bowl, a national historic landmark, is the home field for the UCLA Bruins football team, has hosted five Super Bowls and many BCS National Championship games including soccer games during the 1984 Summer Olympics.


See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for


Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.


Little Old Lady from Pasadena

It’s the little old lady from Pasadena
The little old lady from Pasadena
(Go, Granny, go, Granny, go Granny go)
Has a pretty little flower bed of white gardenias
(Go, Granny, go, Granny, go Granny go)
But parked in a rickety old garage
Is a brand new, shiny red Super Stock Dodge
And everybody’s sayin’ that there’s nobody meaner
Than the little old lady from Pasadena
(She drives real fast and she drives real hard)
She’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard
It’s the little old lady from Pasadena
If you see her on the street don’t try to choose her
(Go, Granny, go, Granny, go Granny go)
You might drive a goer but you’ll never lose her
(Go, Granny, go, Granny, go Granny go)
Well, she’s gonna get a ticket now sooner or later
‘Cause she can’t keep her foot off the accelerator
And everybody’s sayin’ that there’s nobody meaner
Than the little old lady from Pasadena
(She drives real fast and she drives real hard)
She’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard
The guys come to race her for miles around
But she’ll give ’em a length and then she’ll shut ’em down
And everybody’s sayin’ that there’s nobody meaner
Than the little old lady from Pasadena
(She drives real fast and she drives real hard)
She’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard
Go, Granny, go, Granny, go Granny go *REPEAT 6 TIMES
Compiled from Genius Lyrics, Google, Wikipedia,, Lyric Find, and YouTube.

10 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday | “Little Old Lady from Pasadena” – Jan and Dean

  1. I don’t blame you for not wanting to be at the parade. I would have joined you in your living room too. This was a great choice. Jan and Dean were in my music collection as a kid. 🙂


  2. I enjoyed your write-up and learning about the Pasadena area. I didn’t realize it was an area for seniors. Seems like California would be a great place to raise a family. And yes, the song is fun for a Sunday afternoon, which a lot of those old folks are Sunday drivers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A generation later, ‘dena has changed. The 2-3 blocks of eateries and bistros has ballooned to 21 blocks! The hills of Altadena right above Pasadena are filled with A-lister types. At one time, I wanted to go back, but it’s “trendy” now and overpriced and simply isn’t the same place.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a fun song and it has been ages since I last listened to it and it was the fiest time I watched the video. I guess that you also could have gone with the New Riders of the Purple Sage song Glendale Train.

    Liked by 1 person

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