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 song "My Sharona" was later parodied by the Dead Kennedys with the song "Pull My Strings" which included lines such as "I'll make my music boring, I'll play my music slow, I ain't no artist, I'm a business man, No ideas of my own". As a result, the group did not perform again until 1973, and made an official comeback in 1978 on tour with the Beach Boys. They continue to tour and thrill fans with their high energy rock and roll performance. Early in 1966 Jan was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, resulting in severe head injuries. They have since re-united and in 2001 put out their studio album Normal As The Next Guy and their live DVD Live From The Rock N'Roll Funhouse. Subsequent hits included "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" (1964) and the eerily portentous "Dead Man's Curve" (1964). After subsequent albums, though, the backlash against The Knack led to their break-up.

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). The Knack's power pop and hard rock influences earned them much critical credibility. 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. Music critics hated disco, which dominated the music industry at the time, and were, at best, coolly receptive to other developing trends like hip hop and heavy metal music. 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. "My Sharona" was an international hit that earned the band comparisons to The Beatles. Their first commercial success was Jennie Lee (1958), an ode to a local burlesque performer which they recorded along with pal Arnie Ginsberg. The Knack were a Los Angeles-based rock band that rose to fame with their first single, "My Sharona", in 1979 (see 1979 in music) from their debut album, Get the Knack.

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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