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Music

Chris Montez, who once headlined over The Beatles, is San Diego-bound

Chris Montez scored his breakthrough hit in 1962 with “Let’s Dance.” He and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys were high school classmates.
Chris Montez scored his breakthrough hit in 1962 with “Let’s Dance.” He and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys were high school classmates.
(Photo courtesy of Chris Montez)

The Los Angeles-bred musician will perform free shows Saturday and Sunday at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, which is staging the world premiere of the musical “33⅓ — House of Dreams.”

How fast did Chris Montez become a star in 1962, after his breakthrough single, “Let’s Dance,” zoomed into the Top 10?

So fast that the Los Angeles native was performing alongside Smokey Robinson & The Miracles at New York’s Apollo Theater the same year, then touring with Sam Cooke.

Montez’s subsequent tour of England found a rising young band called The Beatles opening for him. The collarless jacket he wore on stage inspired The Beatles to follow suit.

By 1966, the singer born Ezequiel Christopher Montanez had been re-born as a middle-of-the-road pop singer who was especially successful in Latin America. Montez, now 76, was the subject of a 2014 film documentary.

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He and his band will do two free mini-concerts this weekend at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, which is currently hosting the world premiere of the rock musical “33⅓ — House of Dreams.”

Chris Montez — Live Mini-Concert: 7 p.m. Saturday and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Lower Lobby Stage, San Diego Repertory Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, Gaslamp Quarter. Free (paid tickets required to attend “33⅓ — House of Dreams”). (619) 544-1000. sdrep.org


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