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"JENNIE LEE"
by JAN & ARNIE
originally released on Arwin Records from 1958
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Jan & Arnie
Jan & Arnie singing duo

begot (begat?)
Jan & Dean
Jan & Dean singing duo

Follow this, now: It was in Los Angels, California, circa1958, when Jan Berry, Dean Torrance and Arnie Ginsburg were performing as The Barons at high school dances. Primitive recording sessions followed soon after, in a makeshift studio in Berry's garage. While Torrence was serving a brief stint in the Army Reserves, Jan & Arnie recorded "Jennie Lee" (1958), which became a success (#8 on the pop chart). It was an ode to a local, Hollywood burlesque performer. Jan & Arnie released three singles and one EP in all.

The hoot in Jan & Arnie's garage bubble gum was the fact that the record hit remarkably well on the national charts on an artist's own label, Arnie's Arwin. It caught the fancy of enough dj's (it was unlikely the boys could afford payola) where it got teens snapping fingers and gum to "Jennie Lee." Unfortunately, the Jan & Arnie combo couldn't come up with anymore chart releases.

After Torrence returned from the reserves, just Berry and Torrence began to make music as Jan and Dean.

Enter Jan & Dean Jan Berry and Dean Torrence, 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.

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).

During this time, Berry co-wrote and/or arranged and produced songs for artists outside of Jan and Dean, including The Angels ("I Adore Him", Top 30), the Gents, the Matadors (Sinners), Judy & Jill, Pixie (unreleased), Jill Gibson, Shelley Fabares, Deane Hawley, The Rip Chords ("Three Window Coupe", Top 30), and Johnny Crawford, among others.

Jan and Dean reached their commercial peak in 1963 and 1964. The duo scored an impressive sixteen Top 40 hits on the Billboard and Cash Box magazine charts, with a total of twenty-six chart hits over an eight-year period (1958-1966). Jan and Brian Wilson collaborated on roughly a dozen hits and album cuts for Jan and Dean, including the number one national hit "Surf City" in 1963. Subsequent top 10 hits included "Drag City" (#10) (1963), "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena" (#3) (1964), and the eerily portentous "Dead Man's Curve" (#8) (1964).

In 1964, at the height of their fame, Jan and Dean hosted and performed at The T.A.M.I. Show, a historic concert film directed by Steve Binder. The film also featured such acts as The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Gerry & the Pacemakers, James Brown, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Lesley Gore, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and the Beach Boys (whose sequence was later cut from the film, due to contract violation issues). Also in 1964, the duo performed the title track for the Columbia Pictures film Ride the Wild Surf, starring Fabian, Tab Hunter, Peter Brown, Shelley Fabares, and Barbara Eden. The song, penned by Jan Berry, Brian Wilson, and Roger Christian, was a Top 20 national hit.

Jan and Dean also filmed two unreleased television pilots: Surf Scene in 1963 and On the Run in 1966. Their feature film for Paramount Pictures, Easy Come, Easy Go, was canceled when Berry, as well as the film's director and other crew members, were seriously injured in a railroad accident while shooting the movie in Chatsworth, California in August 1965.

After the surf craze, Jan and Dean scored two Top-30 hits in 1965: "You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy" and "I Found a Girl" ? the latter from the album Folk 'n Roll. During this period, they also began to experiment with cutting-edge comedy concepts such as the original (unreleased) Filet of Soul and Jan & Dean Meet Batman. The former's album cover shows Berry with his leg in a cast as a result of the accident while filming Easy Come, Easy Go.

On April 12, 1966, Berry received severe head injuries in an automobile accident just a short distance from Dead Man's Curve in Los Angeles, California, two years after the song had become a hit. Berry was on his way to a business meeting when he crashed his Corvette into a parked truck on Whittier Drive, near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard, in Beverly Hills. Berry had also separated from his girlfriend of seven years, singer-artist Jill Gibson, later a member for a short time of The Mamas & the Papas, who had also co-written several songs with Berry.

Berry travelled a long and difficult road toward recovery from brain damage and partial paralysis. He had minimal use of his right arm, and had to learn to write with his left hand. Doctors said he would never walk again, but he refused to give up, and ultimately succeeded. Torrence stood by his partner, maintaining their presence in the music industry, and keeping open the possibility that they would perform together again.

In Berry's absence, Torrence released several singles on the self owned J&D Record Co. label and recorded Save for a Rainy Day in 1966, a concept album featuring all rain-themed songs. Torrence posed with Berry's brother Ken for the album cover photos. Columbia Records released one single from the project ("Yellow Balloon") as did the song's writer, Gary Zekley, with The Yellow Balloon, but with legal wrangles scuttling Torrence's Columbia deal and Berry's disapproval of the project, Save for a Rainy Day remained a self-released album on the J&D Record Co. label.

Besides his studio work, Torrence became a graphic artist while Berry recovered, starting his own company, Kittyhawk Graphics, and designing and creating album covers and logos for other musicians and recording artists, including Harry Nilsson, Steve Martin, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dennis Wilson, Bruce Johnston, The Beach Boys, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Linda Ronstadt, Papa Doo Run Run, Canned Heat, The Ventures and many others. Torrence (with Gene Brownell) won a Grammy Award for Album Cover of the Year, for the group Pollution in 1973.

Berry returned to the studio in April 1967, one year to the month after his accident. Working with collaborators, he began writing and producing music again. In December 1967, Jan and Dean signed an agreement with Warner Bros. Records. Warner issued two singles under the name Jan and Dean, but a 1968 Berry-produced album for Warner Bros., the psychedelic Carnival of Sound, remains unreleased.

On , 1978, CBS aired a made-for-TV movie about the duo titled Deadman's Curve. The biopic starred Richard Hatch as Jan Berry and Bruce Davison as Dean Torrence, with cameo appearances by Dick Clark, Wolfman Jack, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and Bruce Johnston (who at that time was temporarily out of the Beach Boys), as well as Berry himself (near the end of the movie, he can be seen sitting in the audience, watching "himself" (Richard Hatch) perform onstage). The part of Jan & Dean's band, Papa Doo Run Run, was played by themselves. Johnston and Berry had known each other since high school, and had played music together in Berry's garage in Bel Air ? long before Jan & Dean or the Beach Boys were formed. Following the release of the film, the duo made steps toward an official comeback that year, including touring with the Beach Boys.

In the early 1980s, Papa Doo Run Run left to explore other performance and recording ventures. Berry struggled to overcome drug addiction, so Torrence toured briefly as "Mike & Dean", with Mike Love of the Beach Boys. Once Berry got sober, the duo reunited for good. In "Phase II" of their career, Dean Torrence led the touring operation. In 1986, Berry helped establish the Jan Berry Center for the Brain Injured in Downey, California. Though Berry only made a partial recovery, he remained a high-profile example for patients with traumatic brain injury.

Jan and Dean continued to tour on their own throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and into the new millennium ? with 1960s nostalgia providing them with a ready audience. Sundazed Records reissued Save for a Rainy Day in 1996, and the album drew critical praise.

Between the 1970s and 1990s, Torrence issued a number of re-recordings of classic Jan and Dean hits. An album titled One Summer Night / Live was issued by Rhino Records in 1982, and Dean collaborated with Berry on Port to Paradise, released on J&D Records in 1986. In 1997, after many years of hard work, Berry released a solo album called Second Wave on One Way Records. On , 1991, Berry married Gertie Filip at The Stardust Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. Torrence was Berry's best man at the wedding.

Jan and Dean ended with Jan Berry's death on , 2004, at the age of 62. Berry was an organ donor, and his body was cremated. On , 2004, a "Celebration of Life" was held in Berry's memory at The Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California. Celebrities attending the event included Dean Torrence, Lou Adler, Jill Gibson, and Nancy Sinatra. Also present were many family members, friends, and musicians associated with Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys including the original 1970's version of Papa Doo Run Run.

Torrence now tours occasionally with The Surf City Allstars. He serves as a spokesman for the City of Huntington Beach California, which, thanks in part to his efforts, is nationally recognized as "Surf City USA". He officially endorses the Official Jan & Dean Fan Site.

Dean Torrence lives in Huntington Beach, California with his wife and two daughters. Katie Torrence, his oldest daughter, is reportedly recording an album.

And Arnie? Forgotten.



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