Don & Dewey
Don & Dewey
In 1954, Dewey Terry was a founding member of a group called The Squires while still in high school. He was later joined by a friend, Don Bowman (who would later change his name to Harris). In 1955 the Squires released a record on the minor Los Angeles-based label Dig This Record. In 1957 the group broke up, but Don and Dewey remained together.
Later that year they were signed by Art Rupe's Specialty Records label and for the next two years produced rock and roll, Both Don and Dewey played guitar, with Dewey often doubling on keyboards. When not playing guitar or bass, Don occasionally played the electric violin, a skill for which he subsequently became well known under the name of "Sugarcane" Harris. Legendary drummer Earl Palmer played frequently on their sessions.
Although Don and Dewey did not have any hits of their own, several of the songs that they wrote and/or recorded would appear on the charts later, performed by other artists. "I'm Leaving It Up to You" became a #1 hit for Dale & Grace in 1963. "Farmer John" was a hit by The Premiers, reaching #19 in 1964 after having been covered The Searchers a year earlier. "Koko Joe" (written by the then Specialty Records producer Sonny Bono), "Justine" and "Big Boy Pete" were a staple for The Righteous Brothers for many years. (Indeed, it has frequently been noted that the early Righteous Brothers act was quite closely based on Don and Dewey's.) Finally, "Big Boy Pete" became a minor hit in 1960 for The Olympics, reaching #50 and a #4 hit for The Kingsmen when recorded with new lyrics as "The Jolly Green Giant" in 1965.