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Jan & Dean – Dead Man's Curve lyrics

I was cruisin' in my Sting Ray late one night
When an xke pulled up on the right
And rolled down the window of his shiny new Jag
And challenged me then and there to a drag
I said, "You're on, buddy, my mill's runnin' fine
Let's come off the line now, at Sunset and Vine
But I'll throw you one better if you've got the nerve
Let's race all the way
To Dead Man's Curve"

Dead Man's Curve, it's no place to play
Dead Man's Curve, you best keep away
Dead Man's Curve, I can hear 'em say
Won't come back from Dead Man's Curve

The street was deserted late Friday night
We were buggin' each other while we sat out the light
We both popped the clutch when the light turned green
You should of heard the whine from my screamin' machine
I flew past Labrea, Schwab's, and Crescent Heights
And all the Jag could see were my six tail lights
He passed me at Doheny then I started to swerve
But I pulled her out and there we were
At Dead Man's Curve

Dead Man's Curve, it's no place to play
Dead Man's Curve

Well, the last thing I remember, Doc, I started to swerve
And then I saw the Jag slide into the curve
I know I'll never forget that horrible sight
I guess I found out for myself that everyone was right
Won't come back from Dead Man's Curve

Dead Man's Curve, it's no place to play
Dead Man's Curve, you best keep away
Dead Man's Curve, I can hear 'em say
Won't come back from Dead Man's Curve

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Corrected byJeff O'Hara


  • u
    Its a curve that kills people that drive too fast thru it.
    Geez, its the 60\'.
    Song writers weren't that deep.
    Geez, it's now 2012. Dumbasses of your generation wouldn't understand the meaning of anything if it weren't predigested and filtered through your earphones.
    For the record, it was 1964, and southern california car culture reigned supreme. The song was written by brian wilson of the beach boys, among others, and performed by jan and dean. The route mentioned in the song begins at sunset and vine in hollywood, and continues along the sunset strip until it reaches beverly hills. The actual "dead man's curve" is located about four miles west on sunset boulevard, near the ucla campus.
    Ironically, a couple of years later, jan berry lost control of his stingray slightly south of sunset in beverly hills. The accident would leave him with permanent brain damage, though he recovered enough to participate in a tour during the summer of 1978 with his former partner dean torrence, as an opening act for the beach boys.
    The notorious stretch of pavement made famous by this jan and dean hit had been the scene of twenty-six accidents in two years, including three fatalities, according to testimony given by an la city engineer in 1961 subsequent to a crash involving another celebrity, cartoon voiceover talent mel blanc - who was known for being the voices behind warner brothers characters bugs bunny, foghorn leghorn, porky pig, and daffy duck (to name a few), as well as barney rubble of the flintstones and mr. Spacely of the jetsons.
    Now you know.
    Incidentally, there haven't been many songwriters of any generation who have created anything profound - especially lately. It's the nature of pop music to be mostly superficial, though if you take a look at the lyrics later in the decade (60s, that is) you might find some real meaning in the words of joni mitchell, steppenwolf (believe it or not), cream, led zeppelin, hendrix, judy collins, edwin starr ("war"), the jazz crusaders ("compared to what"). The list is endless.
    Perhaps "dead man's curve" wasn't the most metaphysical song of all time, but as you can see, there's a little more to it than is readily apparent. Next time, do your homework before you issue a throwaway comment like the one above.
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  • u
    For the record, the "Dead Man's Curve" mentioned in this song is not the same "Dead Man's Curve" that was the site of Mel Blanc's crash. There are two turns on Sunset that have historically been described as "Dead Man's Curve," and it seems clear from the context of the song that this song refers to the one closer to Beverly Hills, while the one by ucla's campus (which is only a mile or two down the road, making you wonder what would've happened if the street race had continued) only started to be recognized as "THE" Dead Man's Curve after the media circus following Mel Blanc's accident and the city's subsequent attempts to make it safer.
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  • u
    To unregistered on april 24th 2012; I've never heard any version but the one mentioning the six taillights. Yes, frenched taillights were a popular modification to cars in the 50s and 60s but the modification jan and dean are talking about is the changing a corvette sting ray from four taillights to six taillights, a mod which mimicked the taillights on the chevrolet impala. The same exact taillights that were used on the 1958 impala were used on all 1961-67 corvettes! Hope this helps!
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