Number 847 - Jan & Dean
Jan & Dean
"Dead Mans Curve"
. "It's almost too easy to underestimate the importance of Jan & Dean in the history of rock & roll and its evolution into rock. The mere mention of their name today evokes images of suntanned California teens dancing and surfing on the beaches of Malibu. The ultimate good-time music act of the early '60s -- who only earned one gold record (for "Surf City") -- the duo get credit for inspiring lots of smiles and providing the soundtrack to countless parties, but few listeners, critics, or pop culture historians appreciate just how important they were musically during the first half of the 1960s, or how long it took them to achieve the level of craftsmanship that characterized their music as much as their high harmonies and catchy choruses. Even becoming "Jan & Dean" wasn't easy for this duo. "
"Jan Berry (born April 3, 1941) and Dean Torrence (born March 10, 1940) met at University High School in West Los Angeles, where they were classmates and members of the football team. They began singing together with some other friends, which eventually led to the formation of a performing group, the Barons, who specialized in doo wop music of the period."
Yes even before the Beach Boys....however....
"The Beach Boys were currently enjoying their first Top Ten national hit, and the group backed the duo at their shows -- all of them took an immediate liking to each other, especially Brian Wilson and Berry. Both were as much architects of sound as they were musicians, with definite ideas about the shape of the sound they wanted. Wilson had been experiencing difficulty in finishing a song called "Surf City," and gave it to Berry to finish for Jan & Dean. Cut in early 1963 with Wilson also singing on it, "Surf City," released in March of that year, became Jan & Dean's first number one single. Listened to even four decades later, "Surf City" is a marvel to behold -- the Berry/Wilson composition was like a miniature teenage movie, setting a scene and depicting action worthy of one of the beach party films of the period, with layer upon layer of activity that moved forward with extraordinary energy."
"The single also heralded a major change in their sound as they jumped headfirst into surf music. For the next few years, the duo's sound was rooted in a surf-guitar sound acquired from guitarist Dick Dale by way of the Beach Boys and increasingly bold use of harmony singing. "Honolulu Lulu" followed at number 11 late that summer, while "Drag City" rose to number ten early that winter, and "Dead Man's Curve" went to number eight the next spring. The duo might've been expected to lose momentum with the advent of the British Invasion in 1964, but that summer they hit number three with "The Little Old Lady From Pasadena," and "Ride the Wild Surf" got to number 16 that fall. Jan & Dean were considered important enough to rate a spot as hosts of the concert film The T.A.M.I. Show in 1964. "
Labels: Jan and Dean