Jan Berry and Dean Torrence helped invent surf music. To be honest, since so many of their songs were about cars and driving, it just as well could have been called “hot rod music”. In 1964 the duo had three top ten hits about cars, Drag City, The Little Old Lady from Pasadena, and Dead Man’s Curve. In Los Angeles, after a long straight section popular with street racers, Sunset Blvd takes a sharp turn as the road starts to wind around the Los Angeles Country Club. Locals referred to that turn as Dead Man’s Curve. In one of those eery coincidences, in 1966 Berry crashed his Corvette into a parked truck on Whittier, near Sunset, about two miles from Dead Man’s Curve. The wreck left him partially paralyzed and brain damaged. With steadfast and dedicated support from his family, fans and in particular Torrence, Berry recovered well enough to renew his music career, eventually passing away in 2004. Jan and Dean starred in the 1988 surf music retrospective, Surfing Beach Party, and all three of the pair’s ’64 hits were in the film. I’ve also added a period performance of Little Old Lady from Pasadena. Not sure if it’s from the TAMI show, which Berry and Torrance hosted, but it’s definitely mid-’60s.
More videos after the jump.