Jan and Dean

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Jan and Dean were a rock and roll duo, popular from the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, consisting of William Jan Berry (April 3, 1941 – March 26, 2004) and Dean Ormsby Torrence (born March 10, 1940). They became associated with the vocal "surf music" craze that was later popularised by The Beach Boys.


Beginnings: 1958–1963

Jan Berry and Dean Torrence (AKA M.A.D. Cool), both born in Los Angeles, California, began singing together as a duo after football practice at University High School. Primitive recording sessions followed soon after, in a makeshift studio in Berry's garage. They first performed onstage as "The Barons" at a high school dance. With the Barons, Jan Berry was experimenting with multi-part vocal arrangements — five years before he started working professionally with Brian Wilson.[1]

Their first commercial success was "Jennie Lee" (1958), an ode to a local, Hollywood burlesque performer, that Jan Berry recorded with fellow Baron Arnie Ginsburg and which reached #8 on the charts. "Jan & Arnie" released three singles in all. After Dean Torrence returned from a stint in the army reserves, Berry and Torrence began to make music as "Jan and Dean".

With the help of record producers Herb Alpert and Lou Adler, Jan and Dean scored a #10 hit with "Baby Talk" (1959), and then scored a series of hits over the next couple of years. Playing local venues, they met and performed with the Beach Boys, and discovered the appeal of the latter's "surf sound". By this time, Berry was co-writing, arranging, and producing all of Jan and Dean's original material. Berry signed a series of contracts with Screen Gems to write and produce music for Jan and Dean, as well as other artists such as Judy & Jill (which included Berry's girlfriend Jill Gibson and Dean Torrence's girlfriend Judy Lovejoy), The Matadors, and Pixie (a young female solo singer).[2]

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