Jan & Dean

Jan & Dean hosted the 1974 music concert movie, the "T.A.M.I. Show."
"I have a verse and chorus, and that's about it ... 'two girls for every boy'... I'll split the writing with you ... it's called 'Surf City.'"
-- Brian Wilson
Jan Berry and Dean Torrence met in high school and formed a band called The Barons. The became quite popular in West Los Angeles singing sixties doo-wop and Berry set up an amateur recording studio in his parents's garage. While most members of the group dropped out, Jan continued to experiment with recording and was eventually challenged by a girlfriend to make a record. While he and Dean grappled with the decision of what song to record, another former Baron, Arnie Ginsberg came up with an idea -- he'd seen Jennie Lee, "the Bazoom Girl" advertised in a strip club and suggested it as a song. Dean got called up to the army reserve and it ended up being Jan & Arnie who did the vocals on the record. Joe Lubin heard the song and bought it and released it on his Arwin Records label. "Jenny Lee" went to #8 on the charts and Jan &Arnie appeared on American Bandstand. Follow-ups weren't very successful and Arnie left for the Navy just as Dean was returning home. Jan asked him to join him again in the recording studio. With the Arwin singles failing to get any attention, the duo turned to Dore records and producers Herb Alpert and Lou Adler. This collaboration led to "Baby Talk" in 1959 that went to #10 and led to Jan & Dean being signed by Liberty. Early on, success eluded the duo at Liberty with "Heart and Soul" (#25, 1961) being their only top forty record. In 1963 the boys decided to record their own music, the first being "Linda" which was written by Jan Berry and it made it to #28 in the spring of 1963. That success got the act some dates playing shows with the year's new phenomenons, The Beach Boys. In fact, when Jan & Dean performed, The Beach Boys often provided instrumental accompaniment since The Beach Boys were a self-contained band. Jan struck up a friendship with Brian Wilson and producer Lou Adler suggested Jan & Dean should do a surf song. Brian offered them "Surf City" and the record was released in the summer of 1963, ironically surpassing the success of The Beach Boys' "Surfin USA" and reaching #1 on July 20th. Jan & Dean would survive the "British Invasion" of 1964 and continue to have chart success with songs such as "The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena)" (#3) and "Dean Man's Curve" (#8) but did not have the longevity one might have hoped for as Jan Berry was in a near fatal car crash in 1966 and suffered brain damage that would take years of rehabilitation. He did eventually recover enough to get back on stage and Jan & Dean toured again in the 1980's, often appearing with The Beach Boys.
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Jennie Lee 5/26/1958 8 11
Baby Talk 8/10/1959 10 9
Linda 4/20/1963 28 5
Surf City 6/22/1963 1 11
Honolulu Lulu 9/21/1963 11 8
Drag City 12/21/1963 10 9
Dead Man's Curve 3/28/1964 8 11
The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena) 7/4/1964 3 10
Ride the Wild Surf 10/10/1964 16 5
Sidewalk Surfin' 11/21/1964 25 5