Dead Man's Curve

Album: Dead Man's Curve (1964)
Charted: 8
  • April 12, 1966 on Whittier Drive in Beverly Hills, Berry pulled out to pass a slow-moving vehicle and slammed full-speed into a truck that was unexpectedly parked at the curb. The Paramedics that arrived on the scene thought Berry was dead. Checking his vital signs, they found he was alive, and rushed him to the UCLA Hospital. There they found Jan's brain had been severely damaged and even numerous major brain surgeries could not completely repair the damage. Not expected to live, Berry was in a coma for months and awoke unable walk or speak, and was paralyzed on the right side. The name Jan & Dean remained only in the memories and record collections of their many fans for 10 years.

    With a strong will, therapy, and the support of his partner, Dean Torrence, Jan & Dean toured with the Beach Boys in 1978 and 1979.

    In 1994 Jan & Dean played Three Rivers Stadium with James Brown to 45,000 fans and after 15 years, reunited with the Beach Boys at Mile High Stadium rocking 55,000 fans.
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Comments: 17

  • Julian from LondonFurther to that last (my) comment- I have just watched a Dean Torrence interview and he says that the actual 'Deadman's Curve' was taken by driving East from the beach along Sunset and not West as per the song.

    The curve is actually on Sunset Bld, just northeast of where De Neve Drive joins to Charles E Young Drive north. Go to Google maps and take the ride east.

    Dean advises that, contrary to the song (where heading west would take you uphill) the 'badge of honour' was to speed downhill around the bends and when you reached this left hand downward curve there was a crown on the road forcing you right, into the UCLA playing field. He continues by saying that they have now 'banked' the curve as per a raceway so you are not forced right (or more accurately straight on) and you 'can' easily take the curve.

    So, from the song's perspective I believe the curve is at Sunset and Cory Avenue heading west (which fits the streets and chronology mentioned) but the actual curve is coming the other way down hill alongside De Neve Drive and you can look at both and see the banking on the bend as it turns left, just as Dean states..
  • Julian from LondonI realise that a number of people have looked for Deadman's Curve along Sunset Blvd and most suggest that it is a 90 degree turn just past Whittler heading west but taking the lyrics and the distance between Doheney and that location don't make sense.
    Have a look at the map and the bend where I believe the song is referencing is at Sunset and Cory Ave. No, I realise that this may not be where locals called Deadman's curve and yes, of course, the 90 deg bend to the right is more dangerous but ' He passed me at Doheney and I started to swerve, but I pulled her and there we were at Deadman's curve.'

    He doesn't say, he passed me at Doheney and I started to swerve but I pulled her out and drove another mile and a half to Deadman's curve.
    If he started to swerve at Doheney and just manages to recover then he is at the bend at Cory immediately.

    Yep- I know I probably don't know what I am talking about but find street map and ride Sunset and pass Doheney with a swerve and see where you would be!!

    And though we dive on the opposite side I have enough US Road miles under my belt (over the last 15 years) to know which side of the road they were on heading west!

    Just a thought, but DO have a look!.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaDarrell, now you know why I won't set foot in a Corvette either. They are nice looking but I saw one that hit a stop sign going 5 miles an hour and it looked like a crumpled up cardboard box and elephant sat on. Nope not this child.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaThat story is interesting but what sounds so CRAZY is that they are bleeding like mad from an accident, but still are ok to just sit down and write a song. HUUM OK?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 16th 1964, Jan & Dean performed "Dead Man's Curve" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was in its second week at #8 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, and that was also its peak position on the chart, it stayed on the chart for 14 weeks...
    Between 1959 and 1966 the duo had twenty-four songs on the Top 100 chart; six made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Surf City" for two weeks in 1963...
    They just missed having a seventh Top 10 record when "Honolulu Lulu" peaked at #11 in 1963.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 30th 1953, the first Corvette was produced at the Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan...
    Sticker price was $3,250!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 3rd 1978, the made-for-TV movie "Dead Man's Curve" aired on the CBS-TV network...
    The song entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart fourteen years earlier on March 1st, 1964; and on May 3rd, 1964 it peaked at #8 (for 2 weeks) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    The record's B-side, "The New Girl In School", also chart, it reached #37 (for 1 week) on April 5th, 1964 and stayed on the Top 100 for 8 weeks...
    R.I.P. William 'Jan' Berry (1941 – 2004) and 'Dean' Ormsby Torrence will celebrated his 74th birthday next month on March 10th (2014).
  • Elmer from Westville, OkDead Man's Curve is still a cool Jan & Dean hit. Back in the early Sixties, I became a Jan & Dean fan with such hits as Surf City, Linda, Baby Talk, Honolulu Lulu, Drag City, Popsicle, etc. And don't forget that Jan Berry was a multi-talented rock star. There was even a TV bio-pic in the late Seventies titled "Dead Man's Curve" that chronicled Jan & Dean's stardom & the aftermath of Berry's auto crash. The duo had a wild sense of humor too. The picture-sleeve that "Dead Man's Curve" came in had a zany photo of the duo clothed in ill-fitting clothes (tight jeans too)! And I too believe that Jan & Dean deverse to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With the RRHOF widening their nomination process this year, that may happen some day.
  • Jon Scott from Mountain Home, ArI don't know that much about the origination of this song. But I do know that no stock Corvette ever had "six tail lights" ! I have been wondering about that gaffe since first hearing the tune, what 50 years ago. Any ideas anybody?
  • Coy from Palestine, TxThe song is almost a paean but ends up a tragedy. It's a shame that Jan and Dean aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jan Berry was the only artist I know of who: wrote, arranged, produced and sang on his own records.
  • Chomper2011 from Honesdale,, PaThis song , like "Leader of The Pack" ( by The Shangri - Las ), "Last Kiss" ( by Duane Cochran ), and "Tell Laura I Love Her" ( by Dickie Lee ), are what was called in the 50s and 60s era as a "Death Song.. It was and still is one of the most popular songs of the 60s.
  • Andrew from London, United KingdomSorry, but Artie's recollection just isn't accurate.

    1 - although The Beach Boys did record a commercial for Honda, "Little Honda" wasn't it. The song was recorded April 10th, 1964, released September 21st.

    2 - Brian & Marilyn weren't even married by summer (December 7th was the date).

    3 - her parents house is about ten miles from Santa Monica, not three.

    4 - summer 1964 Brian didn't weigh anywhere near 200 lbs.

    5 - the album version (the one Brian's on - he had nothing to do with the re-recorded single version) was recorded November 11th 1963, released January 6th 1964, so according to Kornfeld's story, he, Brian & Jan Berry managed to write and record it some months after it was released !
  • Thomas B. Buckley from Lacey, WaDead man's curve is a real place in West Los Angeles, located less than a mile east of I-405 (San Diego Fwy) on Sunset Blvd. What makes this a dangerous curve is, that it has a negative camber going both ways E&W bound. East bound traffic deals with a right turn with the road leaning to the left, and west bound traffic with a left turn having the road lean to the right. Add to the fact the roadway is made of concrete and has been polished after 40 years of traffic it's also very slippery, add rain grooves and it's real bad.
  • Steven from Los Angeles, CaJan was alone in his Corvette, and it struck a parked, unoccupied gardener's truck. Jan was the only injured party in the crash.
  • Reed from New Ulm, MnI always thought it was cool how they mentioned the street names in this:"Sunset and Vine"...& the phrase- "i flew past LaBrea, Schwabs and Crescent Heights".."he passed me at Doheney".
    It just made you feel as if you were really there even more so. What a great, great song!
  • Darrell from EugeneI am an expert on old sports cars, and because the XKE Jaguar had a very fragile body that rusted easily (I once saw a 1964 XKE coupe that someone had put a Chevy small-block V-8 in, and the owner proceeded to drive the car until the frame was destroyed by vibrations and too much power), and when the fuel tank (which is under the trunk floor) is hit from any angle, especially by a very powerful car like a Corvette Stingray (I assume that the Jag was rear-ended), the Jag will almost certainly crumple, and anyone inside will almost certainly die a fiery and painful death, just like the song.
  • Ben from Fairfield, CaThis song was mentioned in the movie High Fidelity. Jack Black's character names it for a 'Top 5 songs about death' list
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