Jan & Dean
Jan and Dean were a rock and roll duo, popular from the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, consisting of William Jan Berry (April 3, 1941 – March 26, 2004) and Dean Ormsby Torrence (born March 10, 1940).
They were pioneers of the vocal "surf music" craze that was popularized by The Beach Boys.
Among their most successful songs was "Surf City", which topped both the Billboard and Cashbox music charts in June 1963; "Drag City", which was a No. 10 hit on both the Billboard and Cashbox charts in 1963; and their song "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena", which peaked at No. 3.
"Dead Man's Curve", which reached No. 8 on the Billboard charts in 1964, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008.In 1972 Torrence won the Grammy Award for Best Album Cover for the psychedelic rock band Pollution's first eponymous 1971 album, and was nominated three other times in the same category for albums of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
In 2013, Torrence's design contribution of the Surf City Allstars "In Concert" CD was named a Silver Award of Distinction at the Communicator Awards competition.Formation: 1957–1959Berry and Torrence, both born in Los Angeles, California, met while students at Emerson Junior High School in Westwood, Los Angeles, and both were on the school's football team.
By 1957, they were students in the Vagabond Class of 1958 at the nearby University High School, where again they were on the school's football team, the Warriors.
Berry and Torrence had adjoining lockers, and after football practice, they began harmonizing together in the showers with several other football players, including future actor James Brolin.The BaronsIn order to enter at a talent competition at University High School, Berry and Torrence helped form a doo-wop group known as "The Barons" (named after their high school's Hi-Y club, of which they were members), which comprised fellow University High students William "Chuck" Steele (lead singer), Arnold P.
"Arnie" Ginsburg (born November 19, 1939; 1st tenor), Wallace S.
"Wally" Yagi (born July 20, 1940; 2nd tenor), John 'Sagi" Seligman (2nd tenor), with Berry singing bass, and Torrence providing falsetto.
During its short duration Sandy Nelson, Torrence's neighbor, played drums, and future Beach Boy, Bruce Johnston, occasionally sang and played piano.
The Barons rehearsed for hours in the garage of Berry's parents' home at 1111 Linda Flora Drive, Bel Air, where Berry's father provided an upright piano and two two-track Ampex reel-to-reel tape recorders.
During primitive recording sessions in the garage, Berry served as producer and arranger, and experimented with multi-part vocal arrangements (five years before he started working professionally with Brian Wilson)In 1958, The Barons performed to popular acclaim at the talent competition at University High School, covering contemporary hits like "Get a Job", "Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay", and "Short Shorts".
However, after the contest various members of The Barons drifted away, leaving only Berry and Torrence, who tried to write their own songs.Jan & ArnieAfter being inspired by a poster featuring a local, Hollywood burlesque performer, Virginia Lee Hicks, who was then performing as Jennie Lee, the "Bazoom Girl", at the New Follies Burlesk at 548 S.
Main St, Los Angeles, Ginsburg wrote a tribute song, "Jennie Lee", that he brought to Berry and Torrence.
Berry adapted the Civil War tune "Aura Lea" and arranged the harmonies.
After weeks of practice, Berry, Ginsburg, and Torrence planned to record a demo recording in Berry's garage, but Torrance was conscripted into the United States Army Reserve forcing Berry and Ginsburg to record "Jennie Lee" without Torrence, with Berry's friend and fellow University High student Donald J.
Altfeld (born March 18, 1940, in Los Angeles, California) "belting out the rhythm on a children's metal high chair".
The next day Berry took their recording to Radio Recorders, a small Hollywood recording studio, to have it transferred to an acetate disc.
Joe Lubin, Vice President and Head of A & R of Doris Day and Martin Melcher's Arwin Records, was impressed and offered to add instruments and to release it through Arwin.
In March 1958, the fathers of Berry and Ginsburg signed contracts authorizing Lubin to produce, arrange, and manage their sons.Berry and Ginsburg, now christened "Jan & Arnie", re-recorded their vocals on a professional recording system.
Produced by Lubin, "Jennie Lee" (Arwin 108), backed with "Gotta Get a Date" (credited to Ginsburg, Berry & Lubin), became a surprise commercial success.
According to Berry's biographer Mark A.
Moore, "The song (with backing vocals, plus additional instruments added by the Ernie Freeman combo) had a raucous R&B flavor, with a bouncing bomp-bomp vocal hook that would become a signature from Jan on future recordings." Distributed by Dot Records, "Jennie Lee" was released in mid-April, entered the charts on May 10, 1958, the same day they appeared on ABC's Dick Clark Show.
"Jennie Lee" peaked at No. 3 on the Cash Box charts on June 21, 1958, No. 4 on the R&B charts, and No. 8 on the Billboard charts on June 30, 1958.
Billy Ward and His Dominoes's R&B cover of "Jennie Lee" reached No. 55 in the Pop charts in June 1958, while other cover versions including that of Moon Mullican (Coral 9-61994) and Bobby Phillips & the Toppers (Tops 45-R422-49), released in 1958 failed to chart.In July 1958, Jan & Arnie released their second single, "Gas Money" backed with "Bonnie Lou" (Arwin 111), both written by Berry, Ginsburg, and Altfeld.
Like "Jennie Lee", "Gas Money" contained a few elements of what would later become surf music.
It entered the Billboard charts on August 24, 1958, and peaked at No. 81 a week later.
With Sheb Wooley, The Champs, Link Wray and his Ray Men, Frankie Avalon, The Kalin Twins, and Dicky Doo & The Don'ts, Jan & Arnie were a featured act on the Summer Dance Party that toured the US East Coast, including Pennyslvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in July 1958.
By the end of the month, they traveled to Manhattan to appear on ABC's Dick Clark Show.On August 24, 1958, Jan & Arnie played in a live show hosted by Dick Clark that featured Bobby Darin, the Champs, Sheb Wooley, The Blossoms, The Six Teens, Jerry Wallace, Jack Jones, Rod McKuen, and the Ernie Freeman Orchestra in front of nearly 12,000 fans at the first rock-n-roll show ever held at the Hollywood Bowl.By September 6, 1958, Jan & Arnie's third and final single, "The Beat That Can't Be Beat" backed with "I Love Linda" (Arwin 113), again composed by the Berry, Ginsburg, and Altfeld team, was released.
However this single failed to chart, due in part to a lack of distribution.
On October 19, 1958 Jan & Arnie performed "The Beat That Can't Be Beat" on CBS's Jack Benny Show.Ginsburg recorded "Kathy Cryin' Heart", a catchy number laced with ironic humour, that was backed with "Catching Spies".
It was a raw-sounding garage number, and these songs were not released.By the end of the year, when Torrence had completed his six-month stint at Fort Ord, Ginsburg had become disenchanted with the music business.
Ginsburg enrolled in the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Southern California, and graduated in the field of product design in 1966.
After graduation Ginsburg worked for several noted Los Angeles architects, among them Charles Eames,.
and in December 1973 he was granted a U.S.
Patent for a table he designed.
Arnie Ginsburg moved to Santa Barbara, California, in 1975, where he worked as an architectural designer, designing the innovative Ginsburg House.
In September 1976 Ginsburg and Michael W.
O'Neill were granted a patent for a portable batting cage.Early Years: 1959–1962After Torrence returned from a six-month compulsory stint in the US Army Reserve, Berry and Torrence began to make music as "Jan and Dean." With the help of record producers Herb Alpert and Lou Adler, Jan and Dean scored a No. 10 hit with "Baby Talk" (1959), (which was incorrectly labeled as Jan & Arnie when it initially was released), their first song to contain a few of the soon-to-be-famous elements that became associated with surf music (close vocal harmonies, selective use of major and minor chords, falsetto doo-wop singing), then scored a series of hits over the next couple of years.
Playing local venues, they met and performed with the Beach Boys, and discovered the appeal of the latter's "surf sound".
By this time Berry was co-writing, arranging, and producing all of Jan and Dean's original material.
Berry signed a series of contracts with Screen Gems to write and produce music for Jan and Dean, as well as other artists such as Judy & Jill (Berry's girlfriend, Jill Gibson, and Dean Torrence's girlfriend, Judy Lovejoy), The Matadors, and Pixie (a young female solo singer).During this time Berry co-wrote, and/or arranged and produced songs for artists outside of Jan and Dean, including The Angels ("I Adore Him", Top 30), the Gents, the Matadors (Sinners), Judy & Jill, Pixie (unreleased), Jill Gibson, Shelley Fabares, Deane Hawley, The Rip Chords ("Three Window Coupe", Top 30), and Johnny Crawford, among others.Part-time musiciansUnlike most other rock 'n roll acts of the period, Jan and Dean did not give music their full-time attention.
Jan and Dean were college students, maintaining their studies while writing and recording music and making public appearances on the side.Torrence majored in advertising design in the school of architecture at USC, where he also was a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.
Berry took science and music classes at UCLA, became a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and entered the California College of Medicine (now the UC Irvine School of Medicine) in 1963.
By the time of his 1966 auto accident, Berry had completed two years of medical school.Surf's golden boys: 1963–1964Jan and Dean reached their commercial peak in 1963 and 1964, after they met Brian Wilson.
The duo scored an impressive sixteen Top 40 hits on the Billboard and Cash Box magazine charts, with a total of twenty-six chart hits over an eight-year period (1958–1966).
Jan and Brian Wilson collaborated on roughly a dozen hits and album cuts for Jan and Dean, including the number one national hit "Surf City", written by Brian Wilson, in 1963.
Subsequent top 10 hits included "Drag City" (#10, 1964), the eerily portentous "Dead Man's Curve" (#8, 1964), and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" (#3, 1964).In 1964, at the height of their fame, Jan and Dean hosted and performed at The T.A.M.I.
Show, a historic concert film directed by Steve Binder.
The film also featured such acts as The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Gerry & the Pacemakers, James Brown, Billy J.
Kramer & The Dakotas, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Lesley Gore, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and The Beach Boys.
Also in 1964, the duo performed the title track for the Columbia Pictures film Ride the Wild Surf, starring Fabian Forte, Tab Hunter, Peter Brown, Shelley Fabares, and Barbara Eden.
The song, penned by Jan Berry, Brian Wilson, and Roger Christian, was a Top 20 national hit.
The pair were also to have appeared in the film, but their roles were cut following their friendship with Barry Keenan, who had engineered the Frank Sinatra Jr.
kidnapping.Jan and Dean also filmed two unreleased television pilots: Surf Scene in 1963 and On the Run in 1966.
Their feature film for Paramount Pictures Easy Come, Easy Go was canceled when Berry, as well as the film's director and other crew members, were seriously injured in a railroad accident while shooting the movie in Chatsworth, California, in August 1965.Changing times: 1965–1966After the surf craze, Jan and Dean scored two Top-30 hits in 1965: "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" and "I Found a Girl"—the latter from the album Folk 'n Roll.
During this period, they also began to experiment with cutting-edge comedy concepts such as the original (unreleased) Filet of Soul and Jan & Dean Meet Batman.
The former's album cover shows Berry with his leg in a cast as a result of the accident while filming Easy Come, Easy Go.Berry's car wreck and its aftermath: 1966–1968On April 12, 1966, Berry received severe head injuries in an automobile accident on Whittier Drive, just a short distance from Dead Man's Curve in Beverly Hills, California, two years after the song had become a hit.
He was on his way to a business meeting when he crashed his Corvette into a parked truck on Whittier Drive, near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard, in Beverly Hills.
He also had separated from his girlfriend of seven years, singer-artist Jill Gibson, later a member of The Mamas & the Papas for a short time, who also had co-written several songs with him.
Berry was in a coma for nearly two months; he awoke on the morning of June 16, 1966.Berry traveled a long and difficult road toward recovery from brain damage and partial paralysis.
He had minimal use of his right arm, and had to learn to write with his left hand.
Doctors said he would never walk again, but he refused to give up, and ultimately succeeded.
Torrence stood by his partner, maintaining their presence in the music industry, and keeping open the possibility that they would perform together again.In Berry's absence Torrence released several singles on the J&D Record Co.
label and recorded Save for a Rainy Day in 1966, a concept album featuring all rain-themed songs.
Torrence posed with Berry's brother Ken for the album cover photos.
Columbia Records released one single from the project ("Yellow Balloon") as did the song's writer, Gary Zekley, with The Yellow Balloon, but with legal wrangles scuttling Torrence's Columbia deal and Berry's disapproval of the project, Save for a Rainy Day remained a self-released album on the J&D Record Co.
label (JD-101).Besides his studio work, Torrence became a graphic artist starting his own company, Kittyhawk Graphics, and designing and creating album covers and logos for other musicians and recording artists, including Harry Nilsson, Steve Martin, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dennis Wilson, Bruce Johnston, The Beach Boys, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Linda Ronstadt, Canned Heat, The Ventures and many others.
Torrence (with Gene Brownell) won a Grammy Award for "Album Cover of the Year", for the group Pollution in 1973.Berry returned to the studio in April 1967, almost one year to the day after his accident.
Working with collaborators, he began writing and producing music again.
In December 1967 Jan and Dean signed an agreement with Warner Bros.
Warner issued three singles under the name "Jan and Dean", but a 1968 Berry-produced album for Warner Bros., the psychedelic Carnival of Sound, remained unreleased until February 2010, when Rhino Records' "Handmade" label put out CD and vinyl compilations of all tracks recorded for Carnival, along with various outtakes and remixes from the project.Further progress: 1969–1978Berry began to sing again in the early 1970s, and he arranged and produced a number of singles (both solo and as Jan & Dean) between 1972 and 1978 on the Ode and A&M labels, facilitated by friend and former manager Lou Adler.
Berry also toured with his Aloha band, while Dean began performing with a band called Papa Doo Run Run.In 1973, Jan and Dean made an appearance at the Hollywood Palladium, as part of Jim Pewter's "Surfer's Stomp" reunion, in which the duo attempted to lip sync "Surf City," and the record failed.
They were booed off stage.
The duo's first live performance after Berry's accident occurred at the Palomino Nightclub in North Hollywood on June 5, 1976 (ten years after the accident) as guests of Disneyland regulars Papa Doo Run Run.
Their first actual multi-song concert billed as Jan and Dean took place in 1978 in New York City at The Palladium as part of the Murray the K Brooklyn Fox Reunion Show.
This was followed by a handful of East Coast shows as guests of their longtime friends The Beach Boys.
Four nationwide J & D headlined tours followed through 1980.
Jan was still suffering the effects of his 1966 accident, with partial paralysis and aphasia.
He had a noticeable limp and his right arm was useless.
In addition, his speech was slowed down a bit to keep up with his still almost genius IQ.Back on the road: 1978–2004On February 3, 1978, CBS aired a made-for-TV movie about the duo titled Deadman's Curve.
The biopic starred Richard Hatch as Jan Berry and Bruce Davison as Dean Torrence, with cameo appearances by Dick Clark, Wolfman Jack, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and Bruce Johnston (who at that time was temporarily out of the Beach Boys), as well as Berry himself (near the end of the movie, he can be seen sitting in the audience, watching "himself" (Richard Hatch) perform onstage).
The part of Jan & Dean's band, Papa Doo Run Run, included Mark Ward and Jim Armstrong who went on to form Jan & Dean and the Bel-Air Bandits.
Johnston and Berry had known each other since high school, and had played music together in Berry's garage in Bel Air—long before Jan & Dean or the Beach Boys were formed.
Following the release of the film, the duo made steps toward an official comeback that year, including touring with the Beach Boys.In the early 1980s, Papa Doo Run Run left to explore other performance and recording ventures.
Berry struggled to overcome drug addiction.
Interestingly, in 1979, Jan also performed over 100 concerts of Jan and Dean songs with another front man from Hawaii, Randy Ruff, so Torrence toured briefly as "Mike & Dean," with Mike Love of the Beach Boys.
Later, the duo reunited for good.
In "Phase II" of their career, Dean Torrence led the touring operation.
In 1986, Berry helped establish the Jan Berry Center for the Brain Injured in Downey, California.
Though Berry only made a partial recovery, he remained a high-profile example for patients with traumatic brain injury.Jan and Dean continued to tour on their own throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and into the new millennium—with 1960s nostalgia providing them with a ready audience, headlining oldies shows throughout North America, usually during the summer months.
Noted Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene penned a 2008 book, When We Get to Surf City: A Journey Through America in Pursuit of Rock and Roll, Friendship, and Dreams, detailing his occasional appearances with Jan & Dean's touring band throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Sundazed Records reissued Torrence's Save for a Rainy Day in 1996 in CD and vinyl formats, as well as the collector's vinyl 45" companion EP, "Sounds For A Rainy Day," featuring four instrumentals versions of the album's tracks.Between the 1970s and the early 2000s, Torrence issued a number of re-recordings of classic Jan and Dean and Beach Boys hits.
A double album titled One Summer Night / Live was issued by Rhino Records in 1982.
He participated with Berry on Port to Paradise, released as a cassette on the J&D Records label in 1986.
In 1997, after many years of hard work, Berry released a solo album called Second Wave on One Way Records.
June 11, 2002 Torrence released a solo album called, Dean Torrence Anthology: Legendary Masked Surfer Unmasked.
On August 31, 1991, Berry married Gertie Filip at The Stardust Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Torrence was Berry's best man at the wedding.Jan and Dean ended with Jan Berry's death on March 26, 2004, after suffering a seizure eight days before his 63rd birthday.
Berry was an organ donor, and his body was cremated.
On April 18, 2004, a "Celebration of Life" was held in Berry's memory at The Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California.
Celebrities attending the event included Dean Torrence, Lou Adler, Jill Gibson, and Nancy Sinatra.
Also present were many family members, friends, and musicians associated with Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys including the original 1970s version of Papa Doo Run Run.Post Berry: 2005-presentIn February 2010, the legendary unreleased Jan & Dean album "Carnival Of Sound" was released on the Rhino Handmade label.
The album cover was designed by Torrence.
Along with the CD, there is also a limited (to 1500 copies) edition which includes the CD album plus a 10 track LP.
The album was released in Europe in April 2010 in its original US form.Torrence reunited with Bruce Davison in 2012, who portrayed him in the 1978 movie "Deadman's Curve" to perform on the songs "Shrewd Awakening" and "Tonga Hut", from the film "Return of the Killer Shrews" a sequel to the 1959 film "The Killer Shrews".
The songs are recorded by The Bamboo Trading Company and also features Dean's two daughters, Jillian & Katie Torrence.
Torrence and his two daughters were featured on the music video of "Shrewd Awakening".
Torrence now tours occasionally with The Surf City Allstars.
He serves as a spokesman for the City of Huntington Beach California, which, thanks in part to his efforts, is nationally recognized as "Surf City USA." His website, Jan & Dean, features—among other things—rare images, a complete Jan & Dean discography, biography, and a timeline of his career with cohort Jan Berry.
He currently resides in Huntington Beach, California with his wife and two daughters.LegacyIn 1964, Jan and Dean were signed to host what became the first multi-act Rock and Roll show that was edited into a motion picture designed for wide distribution.
Show became a seminal and original production – in essence one of the first rock videos – on its release in 1964.
Using a high-resolution videotape process called Electronovision (good enough to be transferred from television kinescope directly onto 35mm motion picture stock), new sound recording techniques and having a remarkable cast, The T.A.M.I.
Show set the standard for all succeeding music film and video work, including many of the early videos shown by MTV 17 years later.
The revolutionary technical achievements of The T.A.M.I.
Show and the legendary list of performers (including a performance by James Brown that many critics have called the best of his career) marked a high point for Jan and Dean, as they were the hosts and one of the main featured acts as well.
They became one of the main faces of mid-1960s music, until Berry's auto accident two years later, through their T.A.M.I.
Show appearance.According to rock critic Dave Marsh, the attitude and public persona of punk rock can be traced to Jan and Dean.
Certainly their early hits, recorded with myriad overdubs in a garage, and their casual and goofy stage antics were consistent with some of punk rock's ethos.
But their constant improvement and the increased complexity of their arrangements in the latter recordings showed their fealty to Brian Wilson's baroque approach.
Many of their records feature the top session players of the era, and their arrangements, with multiple key changes and complex vocal harmonies, reflected a high level of craftsmanship.Nevertheless, Jan Berry and Dean Torrence's anti-establishment attitudes toward the music industry are well-documented.
Their music has been covered by numerous punk rock and alternative rock bands since the 1970s.Along with Phil Spector, Brian Wilson, and Lee Hazlewood, Berry enjoyed a reputation as one of the best record producers on the West Coast.
Brian Wilson has cited Berry as having a direct impact on his own growth as a record producer.In an interview conducted by Jan & Dean fan and historian David Beard for the Collectors' Choice release, Jan & Dean The Complete Liberty Singles, Dean Torrence stated that he felt the duo should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: "We have the scoreboard if you just want to compare number of hits and musical projects done.
We beat 75-percent of the people in there.
So what else is it? I've got to think that we were pretty irreverent when it came to the music industry.
They kind of always held that against us.
That's okay with me."The Who covered Jan and Dean's song "Bucket T" on their UK EP Ready Steady Who from 1966.
It is one of only a few songs the group performed that Keith Moon (a huge surf music fan) provided the lead vocals.That not everybody considered Jan and Dean's output to be "real" rock 'n roll is illustrated by disc jockey Steve Propes' calling his early-80s Sunday morning program on KLON Long Beach We Don't Play No Jan And Dean.
He subsequently renamed the show Rock-N-Roll-N-Rhythm-N-Blues, which reflected its content equally well.Alternative rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers referenced the duo in their song "Did I Let You Know", on the album I'm With You.
The Little Old Lady From Pasadena