Sounds of Summer ~ "Dead Man's Curve" ~ Jan & Dean #RETV62 #JanandDean #SurfCity




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Published on May 22, 2015

"Dead Man's Curve" is a 1964 hit song by Jan and Dean detailing a teen street race gone awry. It reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
According to the song, the race starts at Sunset and Vine between a Corvette Sting Ray and a Jaguar XKE, traveling on West Sunset Blvd. going west, passing North La Brea Ave., North Crescent Heights Blvd., and North Doheny Dr. The original Schwab's Drug Store was located just east of Crescent Heights on Sunset. The North Whittier Drive curve, a nearly 90° right turn traveling west on Sunset Boulevard just past North Whittier Drive, is dead man's curve. Jan Berry, of Jan & Dean, would later have a near-fatal incident in 1966 when he crashed his own Sting Ray into a parked truck on North Whittier Drive outside a house once owned by Roman Polanski near dead man's curve.
'Dead Man's Curve' was so dangerous because it bows to the outside, and centrifugal force draws cars coming down the hill into the oncoming lane if they're moving too fast. Mel Blanc, who was the voice of Bugs Bunny and many other Looney Tunes characters, was seriously injured in a crash there on January 24, 1961. Roger Christian was a huge fan of Blanc, and his injury gave him the initial idea for the song.
The song was written by Brian Wilson, Artie Kornfeld, Roger Christian and Jan Berry at Brian Wilson's mother's house in Santa Monica. It's regarded as a teenage tragedy song, one of the most popular of all time. The song ends with the driver of the Sting Ray relating his last memories of the ill-fated race to a doctor. Crash-like sounds as well as screeching brakes are heard in the song. 'Deadman's Curve' was used as the title for the 1978 biographical nationally televised movie about Jan and Dean.T
Berry suffered permanent brain damage in the crash, but did recover well enough to resume performing with Dean Torrence starting in 1978. He died of a seizure on March 26, 2004.
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  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Jan & Dean
  • Album

    • From Surf City to Drag City
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • UMG (on behalf of CM ANGEL (A91)); EMI Music Publishing, and 5 Music Rights Societies


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