Dean Armstrong is the founder of the band. He formed the Arizona Dance Hands in 1948, when he first moved to Tucson. He was inducted into the Tucson Area Music Association (TAMA) Hall of Fame, and is listed in "Who's Who in the West", "Who's Who in Entertainment", and "Who's Who in the World". He received the Jefferson Award" for community service in 1992.
Dean has led the band continuously since the very beginning.