JAN BERRY — A SELECTED TIMELINE
By Mark A. Moore
Author of Dead Man’s Curve: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Life of Jan Berry
JAN & ARNIE
• 1957-1958 — Jan Berry formed a vocal group called the Barons with high school classmates Arnie Ginsburg, Dean Torrence, John Seligman, Wally Yagi, and Chuck Steele. Named after their University High School Hi-Y club, the group rehearsed atJan’s garage studio in Bel Air. They sang hits of the day with multi-part vocal harmonies and falsetto. Jan played piano and began writing original songs, including “There In the Night” (recorded by the group) and “Jennie Lee” with Arnie Ginsburg. Neighborhood musicians who jammed in the garage studio with Jan and the Barons included drummer Sandy Nelson, (of future “Teen Beat” fame) and pianist Bruce Johnston, a future member of the Beach Boys.
• February 1958 — The height of Jan’s wildly successful KJAN Radio scam to collect the latest promo records of the biggest Rock ‘n Roll and R&B artists of the era.
• March 1958 — Dean Torrence went on active duty with the U.S. Army Reserve, stationed at Fort Ord.
Jan Connects with Joe Lubin
• March 1958 — Jan signed an artist contract with Arwin Records A&R executive Joe Lubin.
• April 1958 — Arwin released “Jennie Lee” by Jan & Arnie, an original composition penned by Jan Berry and Arnie Ginsburg. Distributed by Dot Records . . . In 1965, Jan Berry told KRLA Beat that the song “Jennie Lee” was inspired by the famous Burlesque performer of the 1950s and ’60s. To this day, however, Arnie Ginsburg disagrees.
• May 1958 — Jan & Arnie made their national television debut on The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show.
“Jennie Lee” by Billy Ward & His Dominoes — Jan’s First “Outside” Chart Record as a Songwriter — (Cover)
• May-June 1958 — A cover of Jan & Arnie’s “Jennie Lee” by Billy Ward & His Dominoes peaked on the national charts: #46 Cash Box and #55 Billboard.
• June 1958 — “Jennie Lee” by Jan & Arnie peaked on the national charts: #3 Cash Box, #4 R&B, and # 8 Billboard.
• June 1958 — Jan & Arnie performed for The Friday Club at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
• June 1958 — Jan & Arnie performed at the Long Beach Drive-In in Long Beach.
• July 1958 — Arwin released “Gas Money” by Jan & Arnie.
• July 1958 —Jan & Arnie performed on The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show.
• July 1958 — Summer Dance Party. Jan & Arnie joined an East Coast tour with Frankie Avalon, Link Wray, and the Kalin Twins.
• August 1958 —Jan & Arnie performed at the first Rock ‘n Roll show ever held at the Hollywood Bowl.
• August 1958 —Jan & Arnie joined a tour with Sam Cooke in Northern California
• August 1958 — “Gas Money” by Jan & Arnie peaked on the national charts: #81 Billboard.
• September 1958 —Jan & Arnie appeared on the cover of Cash Box magazine.
• September 1958 — Arwin released “The Beat that Can’t Be Beat” by Jan & Arnie.
• September 1958 — Dean Torrence was discharged from the military and returned to L.A. to prepare for college.
• October 1958 — Jan & Arnie performed on The Jack Benny Program.
• December 1958 — Jan & Arnie appeared on the cover of DIG magazine. A feature article promoted a contest for two girls to spend New Year’s Eve with the guys. (January 1959 issue).
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