Jan & Dean

2015 - Out of State Band

Band Members:  Jan Berry, Dean Torrence

Jan Berry and Dean Torrence played football together in junior high and high school. They had adjoining lockers so after football practice they began harmonizing together in the showers with other players included actor James Brolin.

After Torrence returned from a six-month stint in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1959, they began to make music as “Jan and Dean.” With the help of record producers Herb Alpert and Lou Adler, they recorded a #10 hit in “Baby Talk.”

The duo played local venues where they met and performed with the Beach Boys, discovering the appeal of the ‘surf sound.’ During this time Berry co-wrote songs for other artists such as The Angels, Jill Gibson, Shelley Fabares, The Rip Chords and Johnny Crawford.

Unlike most rock ‘n roll acts of the period, the duo did not give music their full attention. They were college students maintaining their studies while writing and recording and making public appearances on the side. By 1966 Berry had completed two years of medical school and Torrence had earned a degree in the USC School of Architecture Advertising Design program.

Jan and Dean’s commercial peak came in 1963-64 after they met Brian Wilson. The duo scored an impressive 16 Top 40 hits on the Billboard and Cash Box magazine charts with a total of 26 hits over an eight-year period (58-66). “Dead Man’s Curve” reached #8, “Little Old Lady from Pasadena” #3 and “Surf City” (written by Wilson) was #1 in 1963.

Jan and Dean also enjoyed making a significant contribution to the motion picture industry.

On April 12, 1966 Berry received severe head injuries in an automobile accident on Whittier Drive just a short distance from Dead Man‘s Curve in Beverly Hills, a mere two years after the song had become a hit. He lay in a coma for two months; waking up on the morning of June 16. He suffered some brain damage and partial paralysis.

Torrence stood by his partner through years of rehabilitation. He released several singles. He became a graphic artist and formed a company called Kittyhawk Graphics. He designed album covers and logos for such artists as Steve Martin, Nitty Gritty Dirty Band, Dennis Wilson, Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt and many more. He won a Grammy Award in 1973 for the Album Cover of the Year (Pollution).

Berry returned to the studio in April of 1967 and the duo began to record together again for Warner Bros. Records. I n 1986 Berry helped establish the Jan Berry Center for the Brain Injured. He continued to suffer partial paralysis and aphasia; limped and had no use of the right arm. On March 6, 2004, He suffered a seizure and died 8 days before his 63rd birthday.

Torrence continues to perform for special concerts and occasions and treat the world to his artistic design creative genius. For their years of giving us great music both in the studio and on stage and their memorable appearances on Iowa stages, Jan and Dean take their rightful place in the IRRMA Hall of Fame.

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