Jan Berry, leader of the music duo Jan & Dean from the late 1950s to mid-1960s, was an intense character who experienced more in his first 25 years than many do in a lifetime. As an architect of the West Coast sound, he was one of rock 'n' roll's original rebels--brilliant, charismatic, reckless, and flawed. As a songwriter, music arranger, and record producer for Nevin-Kirshner Associates and Screen Gems-Columbia Music, Berry was one of the pioneering self-produced artists of his era in Hollywood. He lived a dual life, reaching the top of the charts with Jan & Dean while transitioning from college student to medical student, until an automobile accident in 1966 changed his trajectory forever. Suffering from brain damage and partial paralysis, Jan spent the rest of his life trying to come back from Dead Man's Curve. His story is told here in-depth for the first time, based on extensive primary source documentation and supplemented by the stories and memories of Jan's family members, friends, music industry colleagues, and contemporaries. From the birth of rock to the bitter end, Berry's life story is thrilling, humorous, unsettling, and disturbing, yet ultimately uplifting.
Jan & Dean were among the most successful artists of the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, with hits including "Baby Talk," "Surf City," "Dead Man's Curve" and "The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena)." Slapstick humor and offbeat personas were a big part of their shtick, but Jan Berry was serious when it came to the studio. This book chronicles Jan's career as a songwriter and arranger--and his tenure as producer for Jan & Dean and other acts--with day-by-day entries detailing recording sessions, single and album releases, concerts and appearances, film and television projects, behind-the-scenes business and legal matters, chart positions and more. Extensive commentary from Berry's family, friends and colleagues is included. Studio invoices, contract details, tape box notes, copyright information and other particulars shed light on how music was made in the Hollywood studio system of the 1960s.