JAN AND DEAN
Jan Berry and Dean Torrence met in Junior High School in (where else?) California. A few years later, Dean formed a group, The Barons, with fellow students including Arnie Ginsburg (not the Boston Deejay) Arnie and Jan had written a song, based on a local….entertainer, but before they could record it, Dean was called into The Army Reserve, so Jennie Lee was recorded by Jan And Arnie. They became a one-hit wonder (and a great trivia question) when Dean came home and Arnie decided to leave music for college.
Jan and Dean were back in the music business, although they both went to college. Jan also co-wrote and arranged songs for other artists including The Rip Chords and The Angels. Jan and Dean hit the charts in 1959 with Baby Talk, but had their biggest hits, including Surf City and Deadman’s Curve, after meeting and collaborating with Brian Wilson. The duo was also picked to host the first rock concert film, The T.A.M.I. Show. But it all Ended on April 12, 1966, when Jan’s Corvette crashed on Sunset Boulevard, not far from Deadman’s Curve. He suffered severe brain damage, and never completely recovered. But he went back to writing and producing, and was encouraged by the reception of a 1978 film about them, “Deadman’s Curve”, they began touring together as Jan And Dean. They continued on and off until Jan’s death In 2004. Dean still performs as a member of The Surf-City All-Stars with original Beach Boys’ Al Jardine and David Marks.
We first met Jan And Dean in LA, but we caught up with them a couple of years later in Miami, where Jan spoke about singing Deadman’s Curve, the song he recorded two years before the crash that changed his life.