Jan and Dean

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Jan Berry (April 3, 1941, Los Angeles -- March 26, 2004) and Dean Torrence (born March 10, 1940, Los Angeles) were a rock and roll duo briefly popular in the early 1960s as part of the "surf music" craze inspired by The Beach Boys.

They began singing together after football practice at University High School in Los Angeles. Primitive recording sessions followed soon after, in a makeshift studio in Jan's garage. They first performed on stage as The Barons at a high school dance. Their first commercial success was Jennie Lee (1958), an ode to a local burlesque performer which they recorded along with pal Arnie Ginsberg. After Dean returned from an army stint and Arnie went off to other pursuits (by 1962, he was a hugely successful rock and roll deejay in Boston), the two began to make music again as Jan and Dean.

With the help of friend Herb Alpert and producer Lou Adler, they scored a modest hit with Baby Talk (1959), and then entered a long dry spell. Playing local venues, they met and performed with the Beach Boys, and discovered the appeal of the latter's "surf sound".With considerable help from Brian Wilson, they eventually scored a number one national hit with "Surf City" (1963). Subsequent hits included "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" (1964) and the eerily portentous "Dead Man's Curve" (1964).

Early in 1966 Jan was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, resulting in severe head injuries. As a result, the group did not perform again until 1973, and made an official comeback in 1978 on tour with the Beach Boys. The group continued to tour until Berry's death in March, 2004, with 1960s nostalgia providing them with a ready audience.


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The group continued to tour until Berry's death in March, 2004, with 1960s nostalgia providing them with a ready audience. The group has since reunited, touring in a series of 1960s nostalgia concerts with Steppenwolf. As a result, the group did not perform again until 1973, and made an official comeback in 1978 on tour with the Beach Boys. After recording 24 gold singles and nine platinum albums, the latter group split in 1969, after which James achieved limited solo success. Early in 1966 Jan was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, resulting in severe head injuries. A number of hits followed, including I Think We're Alone Now (1967) (later a hit for Tiffany), Crystal Blue Persuasion, Sweet Cherry Wine, Crimson and Clover (1969) and Mony Mony (1968), written by James and inspired by the sign for Mutual Of New York that hung outside his office. Subsequent hits included "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" (1964) and the eerily portentous "Dead Man's Curve" (1964). Shortly afterwards the original group split and Tommy James (b. April 29, 1947) formed a new group of the same name in 1967.

Playing local venues, they met and performed with the Beach Boys, and discovered the appeal of the latter's "surf sound".With considerable help from Brian Wilson, they eventually scored a number one national hit with "Surf City" (1963). Their first single, "Hanky Panky" (1966) (originally by The Raindrops), was a national number one hit. With the help of friend Herb Alpert and producer Lou Adler, they scored a modest hit with Baby Talk (1959), and then entered a long dry spell. Tommy James and the Shondells was a rock and roll group, initially formed in 1964 as The Shondells. After Dean returned from an army stint and Arnie went off to other pursuits (by 1962, he was a hugely successful rock and roll deejay in Boston), the two began to make music again as Jan and Dean. Their first commercial success was Jennie Lee (1958), an ode to a local burlesque performer which they recorded along with pal Arnie Ginsberg.

They first performed on stage as The Barons at a high school dance. Primitive recording sessions followed soon after, in a makeshift studio in Jan's garage. They began singing together after football practice at University High School in Los Angeles. Jan Berry (April 3, 1941, Los Angeles -- March 26, 2004) and Dean Torrence (born March 10, 1940, Los Angeles) were a rock and roll duo briefly popular in the early 1960s as part of the "surf music" craze inspired by The Beach Boys.

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