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Dean Brothers' blazing harmonies honored

The Dean Brothers Band enter Syracuse Area Music Award's Hall of Fame

Before Guitar Hero and Apple's Garage Band -- American teenagers would take actual working musical instruments and nuts around in their realgarages or basements. Basically, the best music studio was the most stripped down area in a house where one could get as far away from parental units as possible.

Forty years ago a group of neighborhood youths in Skaneateles did just that. These kids eventually became known around New York and beyond as The Dean Brothers Band.

Last night, Thursday June 4 The Dean Brothers were inducted into the Sammy Hall of Fame upstairs at the Dinosaur Barbecue on Franklin Street in Syracuse.

The original band was comprised of John, Robert "Berto" and Peter Dean and their neighbor, Holland "Holly" Gregg III.

"The sixties was a seminal decade for rock and roll and popular culture in general," Gregg said. "We were part of an explosion of new, creative and electrifying ideas."

Essentially they were jazzed about rock & roll. This was the era of the British Invasion, with bands from England dominating the airwaves. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Zombies and countless others were all the rage. Vocals were an essential ingredient for these bands, as well as for the Deans.

If Tim Robbins' character Griffin Mills in the 1992 Altman Film The Player had to describe the Deans, he would have said, "James Taylor and family meets the Eagles."

Nature or nurture or location, plus talent

It sort of began in 1956 when Rosemary and Bill Dean moved to East Lake Road in Skaneateles. A year later Holland and Josephine Gregg built a house across the street. Meanwhile, the Whitings were raising a family just down a piece on a lane off of East Lake Road. And to make matters a bit more musical -- Little Georgie Rossi hadn't been conceived yet just around the corner from the Gregg's on Gayle Road.

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