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. He also expressed views that could be considered sexist. As a result, the group did not perform again until 1973, and made an official comeback in 1978 on tour with the Beach Boys. Though not part of African culture, it should be noted though that Fela was very liberal when it came to sex, as he potrayed in some of his songs, like Open and Close. Early in 1966 Jan was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, resulting in severe head injuries. This may have contributed to his ultimate death of complications from AIDS. Subsequent hits included "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" (1964) and the eerily portentous "Dead Man's Curve" (1964). The African culture he believed in also included having many wives (polygamy) and the Kalakuta Republic was formed in part as a polygamist colony.

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). He was also a social commentator, and criticized his fellow Africans (especially the upper class) for betraying traditional African culture. 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. He was a fierce supporter of human rights, and many of his songs are direct attacks against dictatorships, specifically the militaristic governments of Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s. 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. He was also a supporter of Pan-Africanism and socialism, and called for a united, democratic African republic. Their first commercial success was Jennie Lee (1958), an ode to a local burlesque performer which they recorded along with pal Arnie Ginsberg. The American Black Power movement influenced Fela's political views.

They first performed on stage as The Barons at a high school dance. Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. Primitive recording sessions followed soon after, in a makeshift studio in Jan's garage. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa. They began singing together after football practice at University High School in Los Angeles. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards but he also played the trumpet, horn, guitar and made the occasional drum solo. 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. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin English, although he did also perform a few songs in the Yoruba language.

This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside of Africa. Fela's songs were almost always over ten minutes in length, some reaching the twenty or even thirty minute marks. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip-hop. The "endless groove" was also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song.

Therefore it was characterized by having African style percussion, vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy horn sections. The musical style performed by Fela Kuti was called Afrobeat, which was essentially a fusion of jazz and West African highlife. Later, it was revealed that he succumbed to AIDS-related heart failure. It was announced that he died on August 2, 1997 in Lagos, Nigeria.

This led to rumors that he was suffering from an illness that he was refusing treatment for. His album output slowed in the 1990s, and eventually he stopped releasing albums altogether. Once again, Fela continued to release albums with Egypt 80, made a number of successful tours of the United States and Europe and also continued to be politically active. On Fela's release he divorced his twelve remaining wives.

After twenty months, the regime changed once again and Fela was released from prison. In 1983 he again ran for President but was again attacked by police, who threw him in prison on a dubious charge of currency smuggling. At this time, Fela created a new band called "Egypt 80" and continued to record albums and tour the country. In 1979 he put himself forward for President in Nigeria's first elections for more than a decade but his candidature was refused.

He formed his own political party, which he called "Movement of the People". Despite the massive setbacks, Fela was determined to come back. The second was at the Berlin Festival after which most of Fela's musicians deserted him, due to rumors that Fela was planning to use the entirety of the proceeds to fund his presidential campaign. The year was also marked by two notorious concerts, the first in Accra in which riots broke out during the song Zombie which led to Fela being banned from entering Ghana.

In 1978 Fela married twenty seven women, many of whom were his dancers and singers to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic. Fela and his band then took residence in Crossroads Hotel as the Shrine had been destroyed along with his commune. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to an army barrack and write two songs, Coffin for Head of State and Unknown Soldier referencing the official inquiry which claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier. Fela claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten.

The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. In one raid, one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. The record was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off vicious attacks against the Kalakuta Republic.

In 1977 Fela and Africa 70 released the hit album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers which used the "zombie" metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. He then recounted this tale in his release Expensive Shit. Fela enlisted the help of his prison mates and gave the police someone else's feces, and Fela was freed. In response, the police took him into custody and waited to examine his feces.

He became wise to this and swallowed the joint. In 1974 the police arrived with a search warrant and a cannabis joint, which they had intended to plant on Fela. However, it was also very unpopular with the ruling government, and raids on the Kalakuta Republic were frequent. Fela's music became very popular among the Nigerian public.

The recordings continued, and the music became more politically motivated. Fela also changed his middle name to "Anikulapo" (meaning "he who carries death in his pouch"), stating that his original middle name of Ransome was a slave name. Fela set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel in which he performed in regularly first named the Afro-Spot and then the Shrine. He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio and a home for many connected to the band which he later declared independent from the Nigerian state.

Fela and his band, renamed "Africa 70", then returned to Nigeria. The band then performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles, which would later be released as "The '69 Los Angeles Sessions". Soon, the Immigration and Naturalization Service were tipped off by a promoter that Fela and his band were in the US without work permits. While there, Fela discovered the black power movement through Sandra Isodere a friend of the Black Panther Party, which would heavily influence his music and political views and renamed the band "Nigeria 70".

In 1963 Fela moved back to Nigeria, re-formed Koola Lobitos and trained as a radio producer for Nigerian Broadcasting. In 1969 Fela took the band to the United States. In 1961 Fela married his first wife Remi with whom he would have three children (Femi, Yeni and Sola). The style was a fusion of American jazz with West African highlife. While there, he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a style of music Fela called Afrobeat.

His parents sent him to London in 1958 with the intention of having him study medicine, but he decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music. His mother, Funmilayo, was a feminist active in the anti-colonial movement and his father Israel was the first president of the Nigerian Union Of Teachers. Fela Kuti was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria to a middle-class family. Olufela Olusegen Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, October 15, 1938 - August 2, 1997), or simply "Fela", was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music, human rights activist and political maverick.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti (b. Fela Live! Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the Egypt 80 Band 1981, Recorded Live At Glastonbury, England. Fela In Concert 1981. Stephane tchal-Gadjieff & Jean Jacques Flori, Music Is The Weapon 1982, reissued in 2002 by Universal.

Tejumola Olaniyan, Arrest the Music! Fela and his rebel art and politics, Indiana University Press, 2004. Various, Black President: The Art & Legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, edited by Trevor Schoonmaker, 2003. Various, Fela: From West Africa to West Broadway, edited by Trevor Schoonmaker, 2003. Sola Olorunyomi, Afrobeat: Fela and the Imagined Continent, Africa World Press, 2002.

Mabinuori Kayode Idowu, Fela, le combattant, Bordeaux (France), Le Castor Astral, 2002. Veal, Fela: The Life of an African Musical Icon, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1997. Michael E.

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