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Greil Marcus

revised by Mickey Valley

Rock-and-roll male vocal duo. The singer, songwriter, and producer Jan Berry (b Los Angeles, CA, 3 April 1941; d Brentwood, CA, 26 March 2004) had his first success with the singer Arnie Ginsberg in the hit song, “Jennie Lee” (1958) which was recorded in Berry’s garage. He then formed a permanent partnership with the singer Dean Torrence (b Los Angeles, CA, 10 March 1941), and until 1966, when Berry was disabled in an automobile accident, Jan and Dean represented rock and roll as mindless fun, following and exploiting every new pop trend; their songs were based on doo-wop harmony and celebrated aspects of southern Californian hedonism such as surfing (“Surf City,” 1963, no.1) and fast cars (“Drag City,” 1963, no.10). Although Berry’s vocal abilities were not up to par and Torrence was little better, each managed to make at least one classic rock recording—Berry on Jan and Dean’s brilliantly orchestrated melodrama “Dead Man’s Curve” (...

Article

Colette Simonot

Songwriting team. Songwriter Barry Mann (b Brooklyn, NY, 9 Feb 1939) and lyricist Cynthia Weil (b New York, NY, 18 Oct 1940) became a prominent songwriting duo at Don Kirshner and Al Nevins’s Aldon Records in the 1960s. Mann was hired at Aldon in 1958 and his song “She Say (Oom Dooby Doom)” became a hit for the Diamonds in 1959. Weil was a lyricist for Frank Loesser before moving to Aldon, where she met Mann. In the five years following their marriage in 1961, they wrote over 50 hits, including “Uptown” (1963) for the Crystals and “Blame It on the Bossa Nova” (1963) with Eydie Gormé. Some of their material was controversial, such as the 1965 Animals hit, “We Gotta Get out of This Place,” which became an anthem for Vietnam protesters. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (1964), written with Phil Spector, was Mann and Weil’s biggest hit....

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Stephanie Vander Wel

Songwriters and country music duo. Known as “Mr. and Mrs. Country Music,” Joe [Otis Wilson] Maphis (b Suffolk, VA, 12 May 1921; d Nashville, TN, 27 June 1986) and Rose Lee [Doris née Schetrompf] Maphis (b Baltimore, MD, 29 Dec 1922) were a popular husband-and-wife duo that contributed to the development of honky-tonk music in California during the 1950s. Their respective careers began in barn dance radio in the late 1930s. Billed as “Rose of the Mountains,” Rose performed sentimental songs on local stations in Hagerstown, Maryland, before joining the Saddle Sweethearts, a cowgirl ensemble, on Richmond Virginia’s WVRA Old Dominion Barn Dance in the 1940s. On Cincinnati’s Boone Country Barn Dance and Chicago’s National Barn Dance, Joe developed a distinctive guitar style, finger-picking melodic lines at electrifying fast tempos over chordal accompaniments, and mastered several other string instruments. After serving in World War II, Joe met Rose while performing on WVRA’s ...