Surf City: The Jan and Dean Story

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“Over the years, we have had so much fun, fun, fun and so many memorable interactions. Whether it was onstage in Hawaii at the KPOI Million Dollar Party in July 1964, or on the T.A.M.I. Show in October 1964 that Jan & Dean hosted, we [The Beach Boys] enjoyed a healthy rivalry as well as friendship…I’m certain you, the reader, will have a great time reading this story that Dean shares with us of his life experience, his Surf City Saga.”—From the foreword by Mike Love, The Beach Boys 

“Some of the happiest times of my life have been in the company of Dean Torrence, and if there was one thing better than being onstage with him all those summer nights, it was getting to hear him tell his wonderful stories in the dressing rooms, all-night diners and back-road taverns after the shows. Now you’re lucky enough to hear those stories, in a beautiful voice you’ve loved for years.”—Bob Greene, author of When We Get to Surf City: A Journey Through America in Pursuit of Rock and Roll, Friendship, and Dreams

“Dean Torrence was there for the birth of Surf Music and played a massive role in both performing and defining it. If there was such a thing as Surf Music royalty, then Dean Torrence is it. And, of course, whenever I have the opportunity to play that cool music with Dean, I always keep some extra reverb on hand just for him…!”—Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Doobie Brothers

“…and we had a good time doing it…didn’t we…”—Lou Adler, Ode Records

From the Back Cover

Welcome to the musical vision of 1960s Southern California where the skies are always blue, and the summer lasts all year long. Riding high on the wave of the West Coast craze were the rock duo legends Jan Berry and Dean Torrence who played a pivotal role in crafting and popularizing the surf music styles and sound. 

Surf City is the story of Jan & Dean’s rise to stardom told through the eyes of Dean Torrence. After meeting on their high school football team, the two quickly discovered their mutual love of singing. From harmonizing in the locker rooms, they soon went on to dominate the charts. With hit singles like “Surf City,” “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” and “Dead Man’s Curve,” Jan & Dean helped pioneer the California Sound that would sweep the nation.

In Surf City, Torrence documents Jan & Dean’s years of success followed by Jan’s near-fatal accident and struggle with addiction. Filled with stories of Dean’s time in the industry, including his long and storied relationship with The Beach Boys, anecdotes include a game of football with Elvis, scamming an ex-con, a near encounter with the Manson Family, and performing their first hit on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

Surf City encapsulates the vibe of Southern California surf music in the sixties as Jan and Dean live a rock-and-roll lifestyle filled with surfing, hot rods, sun, fun, and girls.

About the Author

Dean Ormsby Torrence is the cofounder of the rock-and-roll duo Jan & Dean. Born in Los Angeles in 1940, Torrence helped pioneer both the California Sound and the styles of Southern California surf culture during the sixties with top ten hits like “Surf City,” “Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” and “Dead Man’s Curve.” At the height of their career Jan & Dean had sixteen Top 40 hits, a total of twenty-six chart records, and they hosted and performed at the historic T.A.M.I. Show. Their story was featured in the 1978 film Deadman’s Curve

With six gold records to his name, one Grammy plus numerous nominations, and a successful graphic design studio, Dean Torrence is a rock legend. Torrence lives in Huntington Beach, “Surf City,” and continues to tour with his band, The Surf City Allstars.

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