Dewey Steven Terry, singer-songwriter who was one half of the pioneering rock ‘n’ roll duo Don & Dewey, died May 11 in his L.A. He was 65.
In 1949 Terry met Don “Sugarcane” Harris and in 1955 the duo and four others formed the doo-wop group the Squires, who released several 78s. In 1956, Harris and Terry formed Don & Dewey and signed to Specialty Records, which also boasted Little Richard, Lloyd Price and Larry Williams. They recorded a dozen primal rock ‘n’ roll 78s.
Singles included “Leavin’ It All Up To You” (later a big hit for Donny and Marie Osmond), “Jungle Hop,” “Farmer John,” “Kill Me” and “Big Boy Pete.” Their work was also covered by Freddy Fender, Sonny & Cher, Linda Ronstadt, the Righteous Brothers, the Grateful Dead and more. However, they, like many others, had signed away their rights early on.
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They toured the U.S. and backed Little Richard on his comeback single, “Bama Lama Bama Loo” in 1964; Jimi Hendrix also was in the band for a bit.
Duo reunited in 1975 and performed in clubs and the oldies circuit until Harris’ death in 1999. Terry continued to performed solo and with others.
He is survived by his partner and four children.