Author Topic: what if Jan Berry had died in 66  (Read 11671 times)

joshferrell

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what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« on: October 16, 2011, 03:34:17 PM »
I was thinking about this,I wonder if he had died instead of lived if we would look at him the same way we look at James Dean,with "deadmans curve" being the song that everyone would think of when  they think of him (instead of Surf City or Little old lady),,would he ended up being a "rock n roll verison of James Dean?" any thoughts on this?

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2011, 05:59:04 PM »
Given the kind of culture we live in, I suspect there's some truth to this notion.

2dean2

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2011, 07:45:39 PM »
I think things would be totally different . Just look at Buddy Holly . It's always what would he have done if he lived , what did we miss ? him dying so young .......  Even look at JFK . He may have not even won in 64 . For his legacy Dallas was sadly the best thing. I believe the term "Camelot" was coined after but dont quote  me I'm not sure of that. By the way Holly was really good love his stuff but he may have ended up another "Fat's Domino" someone who was big then but is now looked on as just another early R&R player. But then again who knows . Just speculatin  :o

jdman

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2011, 05:49:14 AM »
Yeah, I think there is a lot of truth to that. Jan may have been included in songs like Rock N Roll Heaven. People would speculate on how Jan would have kept up with the music industry. Instead, people have memories of a crippled man trying to sing. A lot of people,like us, admire Jan for his comeback. But less compassionate people didn't feel the same way. People like Richie Valens are heroes now. But I really don't think Richie would have had much of a career after 1959 anyway. But given the option to live or die, I'm glad Jan lived to do all the great things he accomplished. I'm glad I was able to meet him on 2 occassions. But as far as legacy and being an Icon, unfortunately, he would have been more famous and respected had he died in that crash. That's just the way people are.

The Surfer Joe

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 09:28:04 PM »
I think, jdman, a lot of people might have thought that way "...And Janno touched us with His Songs"... Yes, a possibility many saw a Crippled Man trying to sing, just knew nothing at all what happened on April 12, 1966. Myself & thousands of fans saw someone totally different on stage & at the autograph table. A Man that worked countless hours in therapy to perform & feel useful to Himself. We also Saw a Man we all Loved and admired not only for His way of producing in the 1960's ( RRHOF...Are You out there ? ) that was second to none at the time, but also His Love back to us as fans for remembering his work & continuing to Sing for us right up to the time of His way too early passing. I was Honored to see Jan many times & glad He lived through the accident, although never knowing the pain & suffering he went through of everyday life. He Touched us all in many ways & I Thank God for Blessing us for as many Years as He Did. Miss You , My Friend, Jan & Thank You for Coming Back from "Dead Mans Curve" You will never be forgotten........

2dean2

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 03:23:31 PM »
You know no one has bought up Dean's legacy . Lets give that thought for a moment . All that happened in 66 after the accident was pretty much Can Jan When Jan How Jan ...... But what if that question didnt have to be raised ? What would Dean have done professionally ? He was still a star Media attention would have been on him. "Your partners gone Dean , Do you now continue" ? He didnt have to be a "Jan" Most all those singers had far less than Jan"s musical ability's . And Dean had a wide range vocally speaking . If he did continue would he become a huge solo act ? One of those long haired drug infested hippie types Dying himself of an OD of "Smack" in a couple of years ?  Or you could be possibly going to see him this weekend the big headline attraction !  Would he have been asked to join the BB's ? Or would we only see Dean on those "Old time Rock and Roll remember these guy's " Specials ? And would he be "Pumping Gas " Or talking about his Album design co ? And would he still sing Jan & Dean stuff or would he be an "Artist" And only want to do his songs ? Not wanting to rehash the past keep things fresh . After all he is Dean Torrence ! A serious crooner . Not some "Surf Act"  ;)

owen

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 03:54:26 AM »
I feel that the question of what Dean would have done professionally has already been answered to a large extent - because he already did it.

It isn't the case that all that happened after the accident was that Dean started Kittyhawk and then later rejoined Jan on the nostalgia circuit.

He wrote several songs for SFARD, then apparently never wrote again. He recorded the Lumpy Gravy single. He recorded vocals for, and released, two Legendary Masked Surfer singles in the early seventies. He joined Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnson in the first incarnation of California, which may or may not have recorded tracks for an album intended for Equinox. He recorded the Mike & Dean stuff.

He kept the Legendary Masked Surfers name going for at least one release of the later rerecorded J&D material: Jan & Dean's Golden Summer on Varese Sarabande.

Personally I think that the LMS version of Gonna Hustle You is fantastic (and the best version) but the reality is that none of these projects bothered the charts very much. I see no reason to presume that the outcome would have been much different if Jan had died in the crash, or disappeared completely from public view afterwards.

owen

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2011, 03:57:58 AM »
Oops, I meant to say "Laughing Gravy" .  I wasn't meaning to imply that Dean was secretly Frank Zappa although, come to think of it, I don't think the two were ever seen in the same place at the same time.

Hmmm...

jdman

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2011, 05:32:11 AM »
I agree Owen. I think Dean did what he could do. Music was so different by then. I think Dean's music career had run its course.


2dean2

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2011, 09:02:37 PM »
I believe things were different for Dean with the waiting to find out what would become of Jan . IF Jan had been killed I'm not sure if Dean would've even recorded SFARD.  Or would it have been easier for him to release as a solo and not have to have Jan's Dad on board ? Didnt that kill it ? Or he may have been  out of the music biz. I do believe it would have been different though. More OR Less fame who knows. Heck he could still be designing "album" covers. Or he could be a checker at your local  store. Met a black guy down at the Petro truck stop in Joplin Mo a few years ago . Claimed he was in one of the DOO WOOP Groups of the late 50's . Big deal then cleaning the showers now . Yeah he coulda been full of it . But who knows ! I just think people would've looked at Dean differently . Better or Worse  .  Would it have come out he was'nt on some of the stuff and it wasnt his falsetto we were hearing on some of the stuff ?  Death is a very final thing for all involved and it changes many things for better or worse . Another thing Dean wasnt much compaired to Jan musically I mean But who else then was ? We seem to compete them against each other. But Jan was one of 5 of the best in the 60's John , Paul , Brian and Phil . And as long as there was a chance Jan was going to be in the picture the money people were going to hold off on Dean . Dead they would've Dropped him like a Rock! OR  Rolled him into high gear. 

Mark A. Moore

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2011, 12:54:39 AM »
IF Jan had been killed I'm not sure if Dean would've even recorded SFARD.  Or would it have been easier for him to release as a solo and not have to have Jan's Dad on board ? Didnt that kill it ?

Screen Gems — Jan's parent company as a songwriter and record producer — killed Save For A Rainy Day . . . and "Yellow Balloon." Screen Gems squashed Dean's Columbia dealings on legal grounds.

2dean2

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2011, 06:53:45 PM »
Mark thanks for clearing that up. What I'm trying to say is the ATTITUDE would be different . For everyone involved , Dean , The "Suits" the Public.... It couldve been Hey I cant continue, or He shouldnt sing without his dead partner . Dean you werent the real talent so we wont be funding any of your projects.....
To I have to continue , I hope Dean continues he owes it to Jan , Hey kid your a star and were gonna back you ...... Rather anything would 've come from it is another story .  Sorry it took me so long to say that. But ATTITUDE is everything . And Jan' death would have changed that . One way or the other.

owen

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 12:50:36 AM »
I think we will just have to agree to disagree about this  :)

I think more or less everything that might have happened did actually happen.  To my mind, the idea that Dean was boxed in by Jan's condition is a revisionist myth.

True, Dean recorded SFARD while waiting to see if Jan would recover and then caught a lot of flak about it. After that, though, he led several projects, any one of which could (with a bit of luck) have resulted in a top twenty hit and a new career.

He was present at some of the Smile sessions and, whether or not he actually participated, he was close enough  to have recorded and released a version of Vegetables (with Brian Wilson on piano) before the Beach Boys did.

A few years later he started the Legendary Masked Surfers (which also included Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston and Terry Melcher) with the idea of having some fun and seeing if there was any potential for a bigger long-term project.

LMS released two singles and then (deciding that the potential was indeed there) morphed into California with the intention of becoming some kind of post-surf supergroup for the seventies.

These projects show Dean involved on his own with A-List Californian musicians and immersed in aspects of what would become the seventies west coast sound. These could have resulted in hits and a new musical career. They didn't-  but that is not because Dean didn't try or was somehow constrained by Jan's condition.

California, in particular, started out as a serious enterprise although, as far as I know, nothing came out of it and it eventually morphed again in California Music which released a single or two (and had a CD compilation released on a small label a few years ago). If they had seen it through and produced an album that shone they we might all think of Bruce, Terry and Dean somewhat differently now.

By the way, does anyone know if the original participants in California actually got anything down on tape? Is there any unreleased material that is more or less finished, or was California just a daydream? (I will make this a new topic to avoid confusion!)

Whether it was a daydream or not, the record clearly shows that Dean was an active participant in a rapidly changing and evolving music scene *before* he decided / agreed to continue working with Jan.  I am not sure how this would have been different if Jan had been dead or permanently retired.

Cheers
Owen

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 09:30:30 AM »
Both Jan and Dean toured/performed separately after the accident. In Jan's case, he toured the country. But they reunited for the oldies nostalgia circuit because they couldn't get the better money and bigger crowds without both of them being onstage together at the same time — as Jan & Dean.

Salzburg Surf Scene

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Re: what if Jan Berry had died in 66
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 10:25:29 AM »
I think this question came up a while back, but its worth talking about again.

I do think the situation woud have been very different if Jan had died. I see the logic behind Owen's point that Dean wasn't constrained by Jan - but I think the difference is not so much what Dean was doing, but how other people responded. Would Screen Gems have killed SFARD? Or would they have seen it as a way to market the J&D legacy?

The point that people make comparing Jan to Valens or Buddy Holly is a valid one. In the Rock and Roll imagination, living fast and dying young is "cool"; but being disabled is not. Young people aren't so keen to read about someone struggling against such injuries, and while the story of Jan's road to recovery is a touching and inspiring one, it doesn't sell records to the casual fan.

In the end, it comes down to the question as to whether the record companies would have seen marketing opportunities. The legend of the fast living rock star, who sang about fast cars and then lived the life he described (unlike some bands, who sang about surf and cars, but stayed at home ;D) is an easy one to sell. Where Dean would have come in is anybody's guess.

But while the likes of Holly and Hendrix were immortalised by their deaths, there were stars like Bobby Fuller who weren't.

Incidently, I was reading a while back about Bobby Fuller's very suspicious death, and a theory that he was murdered at the instigation of the Sinatra related mob. This made me think of a suggestion I read somewhere that Jan's accident could have been caused by the same mob tampering with his car in the belief it was Dean's. These are both just crazy conspiracy theories, of course (!), but the fact that the two happened within 3 months of one another does feed the imagination...