Saturday, April 30, 2022

Surf Music

Aloha and welcome to this LEGENDARY SURFERS chapter on SURF MUSIC, originally written in the late 1990’s.

The focus of this chapter is primarily surf music of the 1960’s. An excellent source for Hawaiian surf music preceding the Sixties is Emile Marine Bogrand's M.A. thesis for the Annenberg School of Communication, published on July 29, 2011. "The Sound of Surf" covers the roots of surf music in Polynesia and Hawaii through the 20th Century. She also writes about surf music that came later.

Bogrand refers to the thesis as "a chronological examination of music surrounding and associated with American surf culture over the course of the twentieth century. I also explore the roots of surf music starting where surfing first began: Hawaii. I examine ancient Polynesian cultures and surf-related music from a social standpoint as well as a more technically musical standpoint. I discuss key figures and events that are responsible for the popularization of Hawaiian culture on the American mainland and investigate what fell and falls under the categorization of surf music over the consequent decades. I have organized my research so as to simulate a historical journey through the places where surfing and music intersected."

Emile Marine Bogrand's thesis is 27 pages, with an additional 12 reference pages, and is available in digital format via the University of Southern California Digital Library (with a link also at the Digital Public Library of America): If you have difficulty locating it, just search on the author’s name:




Roots of Surf Music

The South Bay Sound

Dick Dale & the Orange County Sound

Posers & Wannabees

The Beach Boys

Early ‘60s Youth Culture

Surf Music Industry

Surf Music’s Demise

“You’ll Never Hear Surf Music Again”



Surf Revival of the 1980s

Surf Music of the 1990's

Seeking Out Surf Music



"Surf's Up!"

Eulogy to the Classic Surf Music Era





Surf Music -- n.  1) A sound representational of the ocean landscape, associated with the late 1950s and early 1960s and created by two main branches of musicians:  The Orange County Sound (Dick Dale, etc.), who generally used more reverb, and The South Bay Sound of musicians (The Belairs, etc.) who used less reverb;  2) Rock ‘n Roll music from California in the early 1960s, characterized by close treble harmonies and with lyrics that celebrated the exhilaration of surfing and the beach life (Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, etc.);  3)  Any music you can surf to (Jimi Hendrix, etc.).[1]


“Surf music is a definite style of heavy staccato picking with the flowing sound of a reverb unit to take away the flat tones on the guitar and make the notes seem endless.  Very heavy guitar strings are used to elongate the sound from the vibration of the strings, not the feedback qualities of an amplifier.  It becomes a very in-depth combination of things that, when put together, spells out true surf music.” -- Dick Dale[2]



Roots of Surf Music


Surf Music emerged on the scene around 1961. Almost without exception, it was introduced by musicians who had no physical contact with the ocean, themselves. Although this would change quickly in the early 1960s, as Southern California surfers, as a group, were quick to adopt the musical sound as their own. The adoption would spread throughout the surfing world, but mostly on the U.S. Mainland. The musical genre was an extension of Rockabilly and 1950s Rhythm and Blues compositions.[3]  Beginning with instrumental compositions, surf music later incorporated vocal harmonies. As the definition of surf music illustrates, surf music, today, is known as much for its vocals as its instrumentation. Purists, however, who well remember how the genre began, will disagree strongly with any emphasis on vocal harmonies as defining the surf sound.

During rock ‘n roll music’s infancy in the 1950s, “a basic song was a two-to-three minute AABA number, with a saxophone carrying the B part,” wrote Phil Dirt, a surf music DJ who was around in the golden days of surf music and broadcast a weekly program of surf music for many years. Despite such artists as Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry‘s accent on the guitar, most rock ‘n roll tunes were sax based, including instrumentals. Texas swing musician Bill Haley defined the mainstream sound. The only exceptions to the basic sound, besides Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry’s work, were those of the early Rockabilly artists who substituted guitar in the B parts.[4]

Link Wray, an early Rockabilly musician, used Bo Diddley’s trick of slitting speaker cones with a knife to get a ragged-edge distortion. He wrote for the guitar and developed a sound with a distinctive growl. His compositions “were simple and relied on minor changes to hold interest,” Phil Dirt told me, “like the gradual increase in vibrato toward the end of his piece ‘Jack The Ripper’.”[5] Wray’s “Rumble” could be considered the first surf song and has been covered by every surf band even to present day.

Duane Eddy‘s basic string-of-single-notes melodies focused on the guitar in a voice developed mostly by Al Casey,” wrote Dirt. “Duane reversed the standard AABA (GGSG) arrangement, using his lead guitar in the A parts, with Steve Douglas‘ sax lines relegated to the B parts.”[6]

Early guitarists who provided inspiration to surf music’s beginnings included Link Wray, Duane Eddy, Derry Weaver, Nokie Edwards, Chet Atkins, Les Paul and Fireball George Tomsco.[7]  Bill Dogget was also influential.[8]  Early groups that influenced the initial surf music strain include:

The Fireballs.  They were a two guitar-bass-drums unit recorded by Norman Petty, in Clovis, New Mexico. Their carefully balanced lead-rhythm interplay particularly influenced Paul Johnson of the surf band The Belairs.

The Gamblers were “a studio amalgam” of Derry Weaver, Sandy Nelson, Leon Russell and other Los Angeles studio musicians. The Gamblers issued an influential single called “Moondawg” (c/w “LSD 25”).  “Moondawg” was re-recorded by many artists, including Paul Revere & The Raiders.

Johnny & The Hurricanes. They used cheap organ or sax leads for the most part. Johnny Paris was the saxophone player and leader. Occasionally, the group let dominate guitarist Dave Yorko‘s rifts like those illustrated in “Sheba” and “Sandstorm”. The sense of melody rather than simple progressions were further developed by Johnny & The Hurricanes.

The Storms were heavily oriented around guitarist Jody Reynolds. Their piece “Thunder” was an Al Casey/Duane Eddy styled instrumental that was a direct inspiration to early surf bands.

The Ventures had a two guitar-bass-drums lineup and were the most mainstream of all the bands that influenced the early surf sound. The Ventures versions of other people’s songs became a staple in the surf band diet, not as a part of the genre, but more like a foundation. Their popularity amongst surf musicians was despite the fact that during their ‘surf’ period, the Ventures didn’t even play the right instruments for an authentic surf sound. They preferred to use Mosrite guitars and reverbs. The lack of depth in their surf stuff is due in part to their equipment, but also to a generally laid back playing style. The Ventures contributed a surf music classic, “Sputnik”, after Nokie Edwards joined the group. “Sputnik” later became “Surf Rider” when the surf band The Lively Ones covered it. The Ventures’ “Diamond Head” became another famous surf tune.[9]

The rockabilly and garage band music between 1956 and 1960 generated thousands of independent 45rpm singles. Most of them are best forgotten by time. However, there were also some great exceptions like “Ghost Train” by The Millionaires, “Underwater” by The Frogmen, and Typhoid by The Northern Lights. “Typhoid” was recorded in 1960; a “staccato double picked rant” that was later reissued as “Bust Out” by The Busters. This tune is arguably the first surf style tune recorded. It’s main shortfall is a lack of reverb and a surf title, but then again, some of surf music’s most notable early tunes both lacked reverb and surf titles (i.e. “Let’s Go Trippin’” by Dick Dale and “Mr. Moto” by The Belairs).[10]

Surf Music “was greatly influenced by the then quickly changing moods of rockabilly and rhythm and blues,” wrote Leonard Lueras in Surfing, The Ultimate Pleasure. “Transition artists such as Chuck Berry, Duane Eddy and the inventive old timer, Les Paul, had long been experimenting with tremolos, echolettes and other such techno music toys, but these gimmicks were usually utilized for the odd temporary effect. Not until [Dick] Dale began promoting himself as a surf guitarist and calling such sustained electro riffs ‘surf music,’ was this peculiar sound given a popular or proper generic name.”[11]



The South Bay Sound


“Surf Music, as it was eventually called,” wrote Randy Nauert, bass player of The Challengers, “was mostly simple instrumentals copied from the early Ventures, Fireballs, Duane Eddy and Johnny and the Hurricanes and originals composed by the guitar players in the groups. It was danceable and provided a centerpiece for evening social activities on weekends for a lot of us who had spent the day riding waves and generally hanging around at the beach. The surfer’s stomp was pounding each foot twice hard on the floor. You’d be wearing heavy Mexican sandals, huaraches, soled with tire treads and maybe taps. The effect of 2000 people doing this in time to the music was cataclysmic. I loved calling the sets and building the intensity... the dance halls would literally bounce. You could hear it from several blocks away... and the surfer girls looked great.

“The music became more of a ‘genre’ as the individual groups had hits with original compositions. There were a lot of songs and bands that came up… As we became better singers, we did more vocals... some originals, some of the hits of the day and standards by Chuck Berry and Little Richard.

“I would say that the classic surf music period begins about 1958 and ends about 1966 with the emergence of the San Francisco psychedelic incarnations of surf, the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Big Brother... message bands. In general, the introduction of Marijuana and LSD into the culture was a beginning of the end of innocence... the beginning of a colorful new change in culture and values that spread from California around the world with its language, costume, music and lifestyle.

“Surf music changed the face of popular music in two major ways. We introduced the electric bass guitar on hit records. Previously all hits were recorded with the stand up bass (Elvis’ Bill Black Combo). The physical limitations of the stand-up dictated the bass style. With the electric bass came a harder and more driving bass. We drew the world’s attention to California and paved the way for the ‘San Francisco sound’ which followed. The simplicity and directness of surf endures.”[12]


The first true surf bands were The Belairs in 1960-61 and The Challengers in 1962. Paul Johnson and Eddie Bertrand met in 1960 and formed the nucleus of The Belairs. They idolized The Storms, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, The Fireballs, The Ventures, and Johnny & The Hurricanes. The Belairs formed with Richard Delvy on drums, Chas Stuart on sax and Jim Roberts on piano (sometimes) joined with Johnson and Bertrand.[13]

In May of 1961, The Belairs recorded Mr. Moto, a mutual composition by Paul Johnson and Richard Delvy, along with several other tunes. Arvee Records released the single that summer, making “Mr. Moto” the first surf tune recorded by a surf band. Paul Johnson went on to write a number of classic surf tunes, including “Squad Car”, “Scouse” and “Chifflado.” Johnson’s distinctive style became known as the “South Bay Sound,” spawning and inspiring many other bands in the region including The Challengers and Thom Starr & The Galaxies.[14]

According to bassist Randy Nauert, “the first album of Surf Music ever released was ‘Surfbeat’ by the Challengers. The Challengers also worked as the Belairs because it was formed by 3 members of the Belairs, Richard Delvy, Jimmy Roberts and Chas Stewart... along with [myself, having]... played with the Belairs, and Glen Gray formerly of Johnny & The Hurricanes, and Don Landis. Mr. Moto is on that first album.

“Surfbeat sold 200,000 units in 2 months... released before Dick Dale’s album, by the way... and set the stage for other record companies and bands to release their version of what became known as ‘surf music’. The success of Surfbeat paved the way for many other groups.”[15] Surfbeat became the biggest-selling surf album of all time.



Dick Dale & the Orange County Sound


Playing at this time, also, was Richard Anthony Monsour, who took the stage name of Dick Dale. More than any one person, Dick Dale was the man most responsible for the explosion of surf music on the scene in the Summer of 1961.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Dale started his musical career by collecting empty soda bottles to come up with the five bucks for a plastic ukulele. It didn’t take long for the uke to break and Dale progressed on to a beat-up guitar that he scored from a high school classmate for 50 cents down and 25 cents a week.[16]

Dale idolized country musician Hank Williams. He was a left-handed musician with a right-handed guitar that he played upside down without re-stringing. “The guitar is designed to be played with the right hand plucking the string while the left hand depresses the proper notes,” explained disc jockey Jim Pewter. “The strings of the guitar are designed to allow easy fingering positions for all chords and progressions. If a young guitarist wishes to pluck with the left hand instead, he is told to take the strings off and replace them in reverse order. To play the hands reversed position without reversing the strings should exceed the limits of mortal dexterity, but that is how Dale plays it.”[17]

Dick Dale played at local country bars where he met 400-pound disc jockey T. Texas Tiny, who gave him what he thought was a good name for a country singer: Dick Dale. Famed LA disc jockey Art Laboe booked Dale with Johnny Otis and Sonny Knight at the El Monte Legion Stadium. His first singles were recorded on his father’s Deltone label and all tunes were of the vocal pop type. In early 1961, Dale and his cousin and future Del-Tones Ray Samra and Billy Barber jammed with Nick O’Malley, who played folk songs at The Rinky Dink coffee house in Balboa. Dale’s style was still very country. Nick showed him how to set his tone switch in between positions, which gave him an important element of his trademark sound.[18]

Dick Dale and the Del-Tones “were the house band at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa from late 1959 until late 1961,” wrote John Blair in his authoritative Illustrated Discography of Surf Music. “His popularity grew immensely during this time until hundreds of teenagers were regularly converging on the Rendezvous every weekend by the fall of 1961. During 1961, and into 1962, he was probably the most popular performer in Southern California.”[19]

“The 23 year old sensation,” touted a Capitol Records promotional piece in early 1963, “first appeared in the famed Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa in 1960. Until his arrival, the ballroom could look forward to only two or three hundred patrons on a weekend night. Dick Dale came in, and something amazing began. Crowds of teen-agers filled the huge ballroom. In only a few weeks, it hit capacity... 3500 to 4000 every weekend night... Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And in the winter months, normally a heavy dropoff period, attendance actually increased. This fantastic box office pull continued for the entire two year period of Dick Dale’s booking at the Rendezvous. Then, in January of 1962, he moved to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. There he broke every existing record by drawing capacity crowds of over three thousand every weekend night for the entire month of January! (And in Balboa, box office at the Rendezvous plummeted from 4000 to 200.) The overflow crowds in Pasadena refused to be turned away, insisting upon dancing in the outer lobbies, on the steps, and in the streets outside the Pasadena Civic. At times, there were 3000 inside the house, and 4000 waiting outside! In staid, conservative Pasadena, the phenomenon was unbelievable.”[20]

Dale’s Rendezvous Ballroom gig began a near half-decade run of -- for those times -- massive dance gatherings.  “For a time,” wrote Jim Pewter, “The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Duane Eddy, and The Riteous Brothers all had turns as second and third on bills which headlined Dick Dale... He... had the number one song in such faraway lands as New Zealand, Australia, England and Japan.  At one time, he owned five of the top ten records in California, including all of the top four.  The Los Angeles Sports Arena holds 15,000.  For his 1961 concert there, 21,000 screaming fans showed up.”[21]

“The title ‘King Of The Surf Guitar,’” wrote Dale, “was first given to me by friends who surfed with me and came to dance to the music that I was trying to create.  The picking style I created was a heavy, fast machine gun staccato attack.  This provided a fat, full non-stop sound and was  achieved with the help of a heavy duty sideman plastic pick.  A precise perfection of meter  is a must all the way through to the end of the song.  The guitar, the gauge of strings, the placement of the pickups, the amps and speakers, and the style of playing all together made up the Dick Dale sound.”[22]

It was in the Summer of 1961 that Dick Dale first used the term “surfing sound” to describe both the sound and style of his guitar playing.  By the end of the summer, he had cut four records -- all of them vocal.  He lived near the beach and surfed a little.  With his music, he “attempted to musically reproduce the feeling he had while surfing,” wrote Blair, “and the result of this somewhat nebulous and certainly subjective approach was the surfing music genre.  The feeling was one of vibration and pulsification, which he produced by a heavy staccato sound on the low-key strings of his guitar accompanied by a heavy thunder-like beat.”[23]

Guitar maker Leo Fender, owner of Fender Musical Instruments in Santa Ana, used Dale as a tester of his guitars.  Dale would “road test“ equipment modifications for Fender, who preferred Dale because of his “harsh playing style,” wrote Phil Dirt.

“I first met Leo Fender in the Mid-Fifties,” recalled Dale, “and he gave me my first sunburst right-handed Stratocaster guitar which I held and played upside down and backwards.  Leo told me to beat it to death and to give him my thoughts on the instrument which I did with glee.  Together, we made some improvements such as a five-position switch and adjustments like repositioning pickups.

“Leo finally made a jig especially for me that he could use to reposition my controls at the bottom of my Strat to more easily accomodate my left-handed playing.  The pattern head of the Strat was then changed to allow left-handed tuning.  This caused the 60 guage E-string to extend 6 inches past the nut.”[24]

Freddie Tavares was Fender’s research and development laboratory assistant from 1953 to 1964.  He told Dick Dale, “the thicker the wood, the purer the sound and the bigger the strings, the bigger the sound.  So, I continued to use the Strat,” wrote Dale, “and 14, 18, 28, 38, 48 and 60 gauge regular wound Fender strings.  To obtain the most powerful, fattest, thickest, percussive, penetrating, and driving sounds, the tick wood design of the Stratocaster, together with its pickups, has not been matched by any other guitar that I know of to this date.”[25]

Dale blew up 40 Showman amplifiers before all the bugs were worked out on his combination of style and Fender guitar.  Fender also developed the JBL Speaker because of Dick’s playing 60 gauge E strings in staccato style.[26]

“Leo and Freddie,” wrote Dick Dale, “... never gave up as I blew up and destroyed countless amplifiers and speakers which ultimately led to the creation of the 100 watt Dual Showman with two D-130F 15-inch JBL Lansing  speakers.  Leo would always say to Freddie, ‘If it can withstand Dick Dale’s barrage of punishment, it is ready for human consumption.’  It was fun.  Leo made me feel like I was his number one son and test pilot or, as his plant manager Forrest White would say, his number one guinea pig.”[27]

During this time, Dick Dale wrote his famous surf song Let’s Go Trippin’ because some kid goaded him by asking Dale if all he did was do vocals as opposed to instrumentals.  Dale’s offerings, at this time, were mostly Rhythm and Blues standards ala Buster Brown and Bo Diddley.  “Let’s Go Trippin’” went unnamed for a number of weeks until, at one point, he told his audience he didn’t know what to call it.  Someone yelled back “Let’s go trippin’” or, in other words, “shut up and play; we wanna dance.”  Dale recorded the instrumental “Let’s Go Trippin’” in August 1961 and then recut it for release in September 1961.  “Let’s Go Trippin’ (c/w “Deltone Rock” - both primarily Rockabilly instrumentals) were released on Deltone 5017, followed by “Jungle Fever” (c/w “Shake & Stomp”), on Deltone 5018, March 1962.  In April 1962, Dale released “Surfers Choice” from live tapes made by his father at the Rendezvous.  Dale’s sound soon became known as the Orange County Sound.  “Jungle Fever” was the music bed for Bo Diddley‘s “Hush Your Mouth”.  Dale “even left some of the lyrics in on the album when he called it ‘Surfin’ Drums’,” pointed out Phil Dirt.  “It is unfortunate that Dick still takes writing credit for this song.”[28]

The two separate developments that catalyzed the guitar-oriented new sound were the new ways of playing the guitar and the new guitar technology.  The first, most obvious, development was the simultaneous and unconnected evolution of two very different guitar instrumental styles:  Paul Johnson and Eddie Bertrand‘s delicate lead/rhythm interplay with the Bel Airs, and Dick Dale‘s staccato double picked onslaught with The Del-Tones.  Both were heavily melodic, and both were adopted by the burgeoning surf culture.  The other development was technological.  Two new pieces of gear:  Leo Fender‘s Showman amplifier, and the defining first outboard effect, the Outboard Reverb helped to create the characteristic sounds of instrumental surf.[29]

When the reverb unit came out in 1961, it did not take “The King of the Surf Guitar“ long to adopt it to his use beyond the vocals it was originally intended for.  “His amplified sound was augmented by an electronic device called a reverberation unit, commonly known as a ‘reverb,’ wrote Blair.  “This was his surfing sound, and he allowed it to take an instrumental form.”[30]

In 1962, the archetypal surf instrumental Pipeline by The Chantays hit the airwaves and continues to be the standard for surf reverb.[31]

“Contrary to some accounts,” Dick Dale clarified, “the Fender Reverb had nothing to do with the Dick Dale surf sound.  My first album, Surfer’s Choice, was the first surf album in music history.  The Fender Reverb had not been invented at the time the record was made.  The reverb was actually created to enhance my singing voice and its use with the guitar was secondary.  By the time the Fender Reverb and guitar were combined, Surfer’s Choice had already sold over 80,000 copies.”[32]

“With the introduction of the ‘reverb’ unit by guitar maker Leo Fender in 1962,”[33] wrote Paul Johnson, “lots of lead guitars took on the big, hollow, tubular tone of the reverb.  The Fender reverb gave the guitar a slippery, ‘wet’ sort of tone, which naturally served to solidify the music’s identification as ‘the sound of surfing.’  Some of the most memorable surf sounds (such as the Chantays‘ ‘Pipeline’, the Surfaris’ ‘Wipe Out’, the Pyramids‘ ‘Penetration’, and Dick Dale’s ‘Miserlou’) were literally drenched in reverb.”[34]

At the beginning of surf music’s emergence, it was not at all about surfing, per se.  It was more about the adoption of instrumentals that were extensions of late 1950s Rockabilly and R & B.  In a general way of looking at it, anything instrumental was surf music.  “That may or may not give surfers the right to redefine it at their convenience,” underscored Phil Dirt.  However, the definition quickly narrowed at the same time it incorporated the Orange County Sound (ala Dick Dale) and the South Bay Sound (ala The Bel Airs), with the Orange County Sound having the upper hand.[35]

The new musical sound that emerged from Southern California in the Summer of 1961 did not take long to be connected with “going to the beach, surfing, girls and cars,” wrote John Blair.  “It was white, danceable, and non-threatening.  Kids all over America picked up on it very quickly despite the lack of beaches and surfboards in areas outside of California.  It was a musical phenomenon...”[36]



Posers & Wannabees


It did not take long for it to be apparent that the best surf music writers and players were not even surfers; many of them living nowhere near a coast.  Although Dick Dale proudly refers to his surfing, Thom Starr‘s remembrance is that Dale had a hell of a time getting up on the board for the photo shoot for the cover of “Surfer’s Choice”.  Worse, the cover shot for “King Of The Surf Guitar” is rumored to be a photo taken in a pool.[37]  He did surf, however, as testified by his friend Gary Martel:

“For what it’s worth,” wrote Martel in an email message in 1996, “I used to surf occasionally with Dick Dale in the ‘60s (Dana Cove before the harbor).  Yes, Dick could really surf (although, as I recall, his real talent was in the parking lot, hustling girls and cigarettes).”[38]

“Dick Dale,” wrote Leonard Lueras, “who since early 1961 had been the reigning ‘King of the Surf Guitar,’ pranced and posed as a surfer, but his swarthy, jelly roll looks were, ironically, more pomade than peroxide.  Dale, a native of Boston, was a mutation showcast somewhere between Frank Zappa, Fabian and the glitter-shirted regulars who frequented car club dances at the El Monte Legion Stadium (where cats and chicks were invited to ‘meet old friends and make new friends, but no jeans or capris, please’).  His was a strange evolution, but whatever his anthropomorphic or social bent, Dale and his Del Tones packed Southern California ballrooms and armories weekend after weekend during more than three years of exciting surf music nights.  Throughout those early Sixties times, when the now nearly institutionalized Beach Boys were still lip-synching to 45 rpm records at summer YMCA ‘sock hops,’ King Dale was playing to audiences of at least 3,000 to 4,000-plus, three and four nights a week.”[39]

Interestingly, also, surf music became a sound that appealed more to non-surfer musicians than to surfer musicians.  The only exception to this was Southern California (i.e. Ron Wilson of The Surfaris) and Hawai’i, where, even so, much of the stuff was made by musicians who didn’t surf.  Noted early surf bands comprised of non-surfers include:  The Ventures (Seattle), Eddie & The Showmen, The Trashmen (Minneapolis, Minnesota), The Surfaris, The Original Surfaris, The Bel Airs, The Sentinals, The Astronauts (Boulder, Colorado), and The Royal Flairs (Council Bluffs, Iowa).[40]

The Titans and The Treasures were also from Minneapolis.  Jim Waller and The Deltas were from Fresno, California.  The Clashmen were from Tucson, Arizona.  The Fender Four came from Berkeley, California.  The Venturas hailed from Chicago.  The Citations were from Milwaukee and The Royal Flairs from Council Bluffs, Iowa.”[41]

“Dale’s sound and popularity,” wrote Blair, “formed an example for aspiring teenage musicians; it was a shot in the arm for rudimentary rock and roll on a local level.  Almost overnight there was a demand for surf bands who could, rather easily and with a minimum of musical invention, play in the style.  Huncreds of bands emerged in Southern California, and for several years nearly every suburban area had a large number of garage bands, usually centered around the high schools.”[42]

“Most of the great tracks from the golden years of Surf Beat were recorded by bands of teenagers.  The people (kids in this case) had taken the music back.  Band names were mostly innocent period handles like Dave & The Customs, The Pyramids, The Gladtones, The Blue Boys, The Lively Ones, and Dave Myers & The Surftones.”[43]

Themes of sex and social deviance were also prevalent, along with the beach and surf themes.  Songs like The Blazers‘ “Beaver Patrol” were actually banned from their local airwaves due to their “indecent“ titles.  There were also ominous songs in the tradition of “Rumble” like “Rumble On The Docks” and “Ray Bay”.[44]

The bands often could not play in clubs because the band members were under age and were not signed by any labels.  Instead, they rented halls and released their own records to sell at their own shows/dances.[45]

“Outside, in the parking lot,” wrote Leonard Lueras in Surfing: The Ultimate Pleasure, “woodies and Nomads were stuffed full of surfboards and sleeping bags; inside, seminal surf groups -- such as the Chantays, Surfaris and Dick Dale and the Del Tones -- let their tremolos and reverbs run wild.  Pendleton wools, bleeding Madras cottons, white Levis, surf shop T-shirts... huarache sandals and black Converse All-Star tennis shoes rose and stomped through anthems such as ‘Pipeline’, ‘Wipeout’, ‘Miserlou’ and ‘Let’s Go Trippin’.”[46]



The Beach Boys


Where Dick Dale and other primarily-instrumental surf bands tried to recreate the feel of surfing through the music, there arose vocal bands whose forte was to sing about the surfing lifestyle of Southern California.[47]  Foremost of this group was the Beach Boys.

The Beach Boys, a harmonious quintet from the South Bay town of Hawthorne, and a loosely-related second duet named Jan and Dean combined vocals with music to add yet another element into surf music.  “Their contribution was mixed harmonies and documentary (some say poetic) lyrical treatments,” wrote Lueras.  “Unlike Dale and guitar-slashing others who initiated the sounds and feelings of surfing instrumentally, the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean communicated what they felt about surfing -- and Southern California’s youth culture -- by singing about it in lilting two, three or four part harmony.  Their choral stuff was simple, a la the Four Freshmen, but pretty, catchy and, most important, relevant to the times.  Cars, waves, and girls were ‘happening’ in Southern California then, and these two groups interpreted that adolescent era perfectly.”[48]  An example is found in the Beach Boys’ first surfing hit:


I got up this morning, turned on the radio,

I was checkin’ out the surfin’ scene to see if I would go.

And when the deejay tells me that the surfin’ is fine,

That’s when I know my baby and I will have a good time.

I’m goin’ surfin’...[49]


“Indeed,” Lueras continued, “when the Beach Boys advised us that everybody was ‘goin’ surfin’, surfin’ U.S.A.,’ and Jan (Berry) and Dean (Torrance) assured us that in Surf City there would be ‘two girls for every boy,’ we believed their every word.  We ‘War Babies‘ were more than ready.  We waxed down our surfboards, couldn’t wait till June, and from San Onofre to Sunset we prepared to cruise Colorado Boulevard in little deuce coupes and 409s.  Fast cars -- and tasty waves -- were there for the taking -- if we stayed away from ‘Dead Man’s Curve’.”[50]

The Beach Boys introduced mass market pop vocals to surf music.  The “Doo-Wop styled syrupy harmonized songs with sappy lyrics about surfing” bore little to no instrumental resemblance to actual surf music.  Even though it became nationally synonymous with surf music, the type of music the Beach Boys performed can more correctly be labelled Beach Music or Surf Pop.  Not a small number of surf music officiados consider the Beach Boys an embarrassment to the genre.[51]

Reclusive Beach Boy Brian Wilson wrote many of the most memorable lyrics for both the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean.  As such, he became very influential in surf music in the mid-1960s.  From his room in the Wilson home on the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and 119th Street, Brian Wilson composed some of surfing’s most successful songs.[52]

A story is told of Wilson and his composition, “Surfin’ U.S.A.”  “It was about 1960 that Brian... then a student at Hawthorne High School, began composing the tunes that were to make the group famous... Then, however, his music was not universally popular.  Fred Morgan, the high school band director, recalled flunking Brian in music composition for writing ‘a song with a bunch of chords in it’ rather than the sonata he’d requested.  ‘I gave him an F on a composition that later became known as “Surfin’ U.S.A.”‘ Morgan said.”[53]



Early ‘60s Youth Culture


“The lifestyle,” wrote Blair, “that formed the basis of, and a casual relationship with, surf music had been developing since the 1950s and was, in retrospect, a sociological and cultural phenomenon somewhat exclusive to Southern California.  The combination of mobility and recreation played a large role in this cultural lifestyle.  There was, and still is, a psychological necessity for a car in the mind of the teenager (in some cases, an economical necessity as well).  It was through the use of his car that the teenager sought his identity.  If the car was the means, then recreation was the end of that means.”[54]

Surf music not only emphasized the teenage beach lifestyle, but represented it as well -- including attire and language.  “The surf vernacular was extensive,” noted Blair, “using cute little slang words as a private language to further support the identity of the youth culture.  A number of these words or phrases were often used as titles for recordings or as part of the liner notes on some record albums in a ‘surfing dictionary‘ section of the back cover.”[55]

“Since there wasn’t any real nightclub activity in Hollywood or Los Angeles at the time,” continued Blair, “the early surf bands performed at high schools, civic auditoriums, National Guard Armories, and practically any large meeting hall sanctioned for dances by the controlling organization.  Many of these often-used locales were in Orange County (such as the Retail Clerk’s Union Hall and the Harmony Park Ballroom).”[56]

Vocal groups like the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean attempted to capture the essence of being a teenager and living in Southern California with its surf and culture that emphasized mobility.  Their recordings achieved national and international exposure.  In this way, surfing was able to be vicariously shared with people in other parts of the country and oversees who neither lived near a beach or ever touched a surfboard.  As the music became popular, so did surfing, itself, become even more so.[57]

In this spreading out of the genre, of special note is Australia.  Slightly behind developments in the U.S., surf music hit the Land Down Under in 1962.  The genre took hold in Australia in the form of The Stomp.[58]  Although there were uniquely Australian elements to the surf music movement within that country, the developments, themselves, wrote Blair, “paralleled the California scene in nearly every way.”[59]



Surf Music Industry


The typical composition of the average surf band involved five instruments:  two guitars, a bass, saxophone and drums.  Most bands used a reverb on the lead guitar and Fender amplifiers (particularly the Showman and Bandmaster models) and reverb units were standard accessories.  The Fender Jaguar, Jazzmaster and Stratocaster guitar models became the “accepted” choice for surf music officiados.[60]

“Scores of small, independent record labels sprang up,” wrote John Blair, the foremost authority on surf music pressings during the golden age of Surf Beat.  “Some of them issued several different recordings concerned with surfing.  The majority, however, were single release efforts.  All that was needed was a little money to pay for a recording studio (in those days, an inexpensive two or three-track studio might have cost $10 to $15 per hour!), print some labels, and press a couple of hundred copies of the record.  Although there were a number of bands across the country who released surfing records, the majority of recordings were issued by local Southern California groups.  The movement, for the most part, was restricted to this relatively small geographic area.”[61]

“Virtually no one made any money from the sale of records,” continued Blair.  “The intention was to keep the fans and audiences supplied with recordings by their favorite bands, to build that audience for personal appearances, or to generate interest in the group by a major record company.  Most surf records were issued in very limited quantities (500 to 1000 copies in many cases) and saw only regional distribution.  If the record drew the attention of a major label, it was likely to be re-released on that label for national distribution.”[62]

There was some crossover mixing between surf music and hot rod and car songs.  This cross-pollination can be heard in some of the songs put out by the likes of Dick Dale, the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean.[63]



Surf Music’s Demise


The year 1963 was the nadir of surf music.  “America’s seemingly invincible youth were swept up in an exciting ‘free’ era punctuated by drugs, sex, rock ‘n roll and politics,” wrote Leonard Lueras.  “Socially, most young people were sitting on a strange cusp -- somewhere between a frat-rat/jock alcohol-based consciousness and the first stirrings of psychedelia, hippie-ness and what law enforcement officials liked to call ‘a false sense of euphoria.’  All the above predated an unpopular war in Vietnam... In 1963, petrol cost 19 to 29 cents a gallon at the neighborhood U-Save, so for five dollars split four ways you could check out every surf spot along a good 100 mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway.”[64]

“Surf music reached its peak during the summer of 1963,” wrote surf discographer John Blair, “as evidenced by release dates, chart action, and media attention.  Local Los Angeles television dance shows hosted by Sam Riddle and Lloyd Thaxton featured surf bands weekly throughout that summer, and surf music was inescapable on the radio stations.  The greatest percentage of surf-styled record releases, most of them instrumental, were issued between June and September that year.”[65]

Some Surf Music authorities, like Phil Dirt, claim that the reason why Surf Music was so easily killed-off, following the influx of British music by groups like the Beatles and Rolling Stones (the second “British Invasion”), in 1964, was because it had degraded to the Beach Boys style rather than continuing to rely on instrumentals with reverb.

“Had the Beach Boys not softened the genre with the vocal thing,” wrote Dirt, “or had they provided the raw midwest vocal approach, the raw power of surf music would have been able to hold its own against the roughness of the British R & B of the formative Rolling Stones, Animals & Pretty Things, and even against the pop sensibilities of The Beatles and their ilk.  Among the reasons I believe this to be true is the number of surf guitarists that evolved intro really gutsy garage punk and psychedelic players later, like the incredible Randy Holden and Dave Myers, and the fact that the only band The Rolling Stones ever had to be subservient to on the bill in the U.S. was Minneapolis surf legends The Trashmen!”[66]

The average 8-to-10 year pattern for a musical genre has been outlined as follows:  two to be born, two to coalesce, another two for adolescence and to break out of the narrowness it was initially defined under, and then four or five to bust out onto the scene.  If this is the case, then surf music was surely struck down in its infancy, possibly “by its own childish sappy vocals and the raw edge of the British Invasion.”[67]

“The effects of this stoney ‘British Invasion’ were so profound that once glamorous [musical] surfers soon found themselves floating quietly in a cultural backwater.”[68]

“The surf sound,” repeated Trevor Cralle in his surf speak dictionary, “peaked in 1963; the advent of the Beatles in early 1964 and the ‘British Invasion’ marked what is generally regarded as the end of the surf music era.  Yet original surf music still has the energy, simplicity, and rawness of the setting that inspired it.”[69]

John Blair maintains that surf music’s decline was due to a complex combination of factors working before its ultimate demise in 1965.  “In the summer of 1963, between the peak of the popularity of surf music and its fadeout by 1965, political, cultural, and musical events happened that certainly contributed to its decline.  Aside from the musical shift from surfing to hot rods, the genre had an ironic handicap going against it.  A strong national acceptance of the form was difficult, since it was tied in so strongly with a lifestyle and geography indigenous to Southern Califiornia.  Whatever momentum it had at the time was suddenly retarded by the assasination of President Kennedy and the ensuing changes that event caused in those of us who enjoyed, and participated in, the music.  The war in Vietnam grew into more of a social and political issue and, closer to home, the Watts riots in 1965 helped to erode more of the idealism.  After all, idealism was a very important part of the local image projected in the music.”[70]

Blair conceeded to some degree with Dirt’s perspective on the British Invasion and the Motown onslaught that preceded it, admitting, “the Beatles and Motown music probably did more to change musical tastes than anything else.  Southern California’s garage bands reacted by either throwing away the reverb and adding a fuzz-tone to the guitar or by trading in their Stratocaster for a Rickenbacker 12-string.  They began to play mod-influenced rock with certain protest overtones or folk-rock inspired by the Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, or Bob Dylan.  The music turned away from the beaches.”[71]



“You’ll Never Hear Surf Music Again”


Even so, some surf bands hung in there on into 1967.  By then, most bands playing surf beat or surf music had disbanded by the end of 1965.  Some merely changed their name and transitioned their style, like Dave Myers & The Surftones became Dave Myers & The Disciples, then The Dave Myers Effect, then Arthur Lee & The L.A.G.s (L.A. Group), and eventually the psychedelic era classic band called Love.[72]





            And you’ll never hear surf music again...[73]


            So my darling and I

            make love in the sand,

            to salute the last moment

            ever on dry land...[74]


Jimi Hendrix was a guitarist who, like Dick Dale, played his Fender Stratocaster left-handed and upside down.[75]  Even in his first album in 1967, he referenced surfing as being dead.  A few years later, Hendrix started getting into his own style of surf music shortly before he died.  In his first album “Are You Experienced?” (1967), the song “Third Stone From The Sun” contained the lyrics “... and you’ll never hear surf music again.”  By 1970, Hendrix tunes like “Drifting” and “Pali Gap” were outright tributes to the surfing lifestyle.[76]





Dick Dale had become “tired of the rigors of the road” and disallusioned with the music industry by the end of 1965.  He subsequently “retired.”[77]

Late in 1966, he was told by his doctors that he had 3 months to live.  After removal of six cancerous tumors and four cysts, a long period of recovery and a good deal of soul searching, Dick Dale re-emerged to play surf music from 1970 on.[78]  This second round was highlighted in August 26, 1973, when he headlined “The First International Surfer’s Stomp (Ten Years Later)”, which was showcased at the Hollywood Palladium.[79]  Dick Dale kept playing on.



Surf Revival of the 1980s


The Surf Revival of the 1980s began in 1979.  It was primarily a nostalgia thing, but with 80s energy.[80]  It was lead by groups like Jon and The Nightriders, The Surf Raiders, The Halibuts, and Agent Orange.[81]



Surf Music of the 1990's


Today, there are surf bands all over the world, including Germany and Japan.  Although its popularity as a genre is and most likely never will be of the magnitude it was during the glory years of 1961-65, as a musical form, it is stronger, today, than at any other time over the past quarter century.

The Mermen are an example of a contemporary surf band doing very well for itself.  The Mermen have evolved steadily over 5 or 6 years, beginning with “raging covers of surf classics and obscuros to a heady blend of surf and Hawkwind influenced space to incredibly artful image evoking works.”[82]  Other contemporary surf bands include:


            The Elliminators

            Dick Dale

            The Insect Surfers

            The Woodies

            The Surfaris

            The Challengers

            The Ultras

            The Chantays

            The Aqua Velvets

            Pollo Del Mar


            The Surf Raiders



Seeking Out Surf Music in the 1990s


Speaking as someone who did it, getting back into surf music, these days, is not as straight forward as you might think.  At one point, responding to an ad in a reputable surf mag, I bought 4 surf music CDs for the price of three.  I mentioned this deal to Phil Dirt and he let me have it:

“GNP Crescendo is a funny label,” Dirt wrote.  “Their catalog is not generally authentic, surfologically speaking.  That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but if you look at the Dick Dale issue, it’s about 50% from Jim Pewter‘s 1975 GNP sessions, which both DD and fans don’t like much, combined with generally lesser sixties material.  The new Challengers CD ‘New Wave’ sux, and the vintage CD is from their post-surf lowest common denominator we-wanna-be-the-Ventures pop period originally produced for GNP.  The Surfaris ‘Surf Party’ is from an early 80’s Santa Ana show.  Very good performance.  ‘Bustin’ Boards’ contains some dogs, some not surf, a few GREAT things like Bobby Fuller & Jim Messina, and a killer modern original from GNP mogul Neil Norman.  If you can’t find the Bel Airs, let me know.  It’s available from Ruckas records in LA, home of the Iloki label on which it is released.  Tower usually has it as well.”[83]

There’s a lot of junk out there and you have to know what to look for.  Surf musicologist Phil Dirt suggests the following bands to start out with:





            The Bel Airs

            Dick Dale & The Del-Tones

            The Lively Ones

            The Surfaris

            The Challengers

            The Chantays

            Dave Myers & The Surftones

            The Centurions

            The Revels

            The Cornells

            The Blazers





            The Mermen

            Dick Dale

            The Insect Surfers

            The Woodies

            The Surfaris

            The Challengers

            The Elliminators

            The Ultras

            The Chantays

            The Aqua Velvets

            Pollo Del Mar


            The Surf Raiders



“The Bel Airs ‘Origins...’ CD is a good historical starting place,” the Dirtman told me, “especially since some of their recordings predate Dick Dale.  Another good cross section is Rhino Records ‘Legends of Guitar - Surf’ which includes some pretty cool stuff like Jim Messina and The Fender Four.”[84]

A key problem in finding authentic surf music is the lack of experienced help.  Music store managers, for the most part, can not be counted on.  As Billy Miller of KICKS magazine put it, “I feel plenty sorry for those who equate real surf music with The Ventures,” whose music after 1965 is a vast wasteland, “or incidental background sounds for Annette to shake her pineapples by, and ain’t never had their heads ground to mush by a Fender reverb sweetly cranked to 10!”[85]

Exploration into surf music can be relatively painless, however, as there are many very fine CDs being issued that cover the genre, which one person called “A ritual twang and reverb mating call.”[86]



"Surf's Up!"


Rumor has it that he drives a black 1940 Ford Woody, “within eye shot of the curl,” upon the roads of the Santa Cruz mountains.  Phil Dirt is one of the leading surf music historians in the country and he’s got the longest running instrumental surf music show in the world.  Significantly, Dirt was the catalyst for the Bay Area surf music scene.

“Surf’s Up!” is the name of Dirt’s radio show that aired every Saturday night, over the airwaves of Foothill College‘s KFJC.  The program featured cuts from the heyday of surf music -- surf beat -- from 1961 to 1965, when approximately 1200 singles were produced by hundreds of surf bands.  “These historic singles plus the work of more than 100 bands currently playing and recording surf music around the world,” reads a promo for Dirt’s show, “provide the foundation for Surf’s Up.  Add to this foundation music from numerous live radio concerts Phil produces, and you have an explosive gnarly reverb swirl of totally tubular radio.”[87]

Phil Dirt was a veteran surf music historian that played what he listened to.  He first heard surf beat on KFWB-AM in Los Angeles, in 1961, the year surf music began.  In the Fall of 1964, he briefly joined the on-air staff at KFJC, but really did not get underway until nearly 20 years later, when he rejoined KFJC and produced a radio series on the evolution of rock ‘n roll, which also aired on KALX, in Berkeley.  This series, entitled “Waves”, lead to his long-running “Surf’s Up!” program.  In the “real world,” Phil Dirt is Frank Luft, a computer programmer who worked in Silicon Valley.

Phil later on left the control room and became a performer, himself.



Eulogy to the Classic Surf Music Era


“There are several historically interesting components of surf music,” concluded John Blair in the preface to his book The Illustrated Discography of Surf Music, 1961-1965, “that not only helped define the style, but also made it a very unique event both musically and culturally; it was the first time a musical style grew up around a sport; it was a geographically isolated form of pop music for the most part; and it reflected the lifestyle of a select group of young people.  Through the close association of Dick Dale and Leo Fender, the portable reverb unit became a standard band accessory.  The numerous alterations and improvements that were made to guitar amplifiers had an effect on the industry that lasted far beyond the obsolescence of surf music.

“Surf music opened the door for many promising musicians to obtain studio experience, both in front of and behind the microphone.  Many of these individuals continued on to become successful recording artists and/or producers (Glen Campbell [not the country music singer], Leon Russell, Jim Messina, Hal Blaine, Brian Wilson, and Bruce Johnson, to name a few).

“For such a short-lived and faddish musical phenomenon, the number of recordings the surf music era left behind is astonishing.  Documenting the movement and the music would be much easier if the recorded output had not been so vast.  Making the task doubly difficult for the discographer is the fact that so many of the bands were represented by only one record that was pressed in a very limited quantity.  After nearly 30 years, trying to locate these records and finding information about the artists is a continuing task.”[88]


[1]  Cralle, Trevor.  Surfin’ary, pp. 131-132.  See also Blair, “Guidelines for Identifying Surf Records, 1961-1965,” pp. vii--ix

[2]  Blair, John.  The Illustrated Discography of Surf Music, 1961-1965, ©1978, 1983, 1985, 1995.  Popular Culture, Ink, P.O. Box 1839, Ann Arbor, MI  48106, Third Edition, introduction by Dick Dale, p. iii.

[3]  Priore, Domenic.  “The Essential Surf Discography,” Longboard Magazine, Volume 3, Number 3, August/September 1995, p. 75.

[4]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... Historical Perspective,” homepage, ©1995.

[5]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[6]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[7]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[8]  Priore, 1995. p. 75.

[9]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[10]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[11]  Lueras, 1984, p. 134.

[12] Nauert, Randy, bass guitar, The Challengers Band, November 18, 1993

[13]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[14]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[15] Nauert, Randy. Email to Malcolm, May 2001.

[16]  Pewter, Jim.  Liner notes for the Crescendo CD release of  “Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, Greatest Hits, 1961-1976.”

[17]  Pewter, Jim.  Liner notes for the Crescendo CD release of  “Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, Greatest Hits, 1961-1976.”

[18]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[19]  Blair, 1995, preface, p. iii.

[20]  Capitol Records, ©1963, reproduced in Blair, p. 167.

[21]  Pewter, Jim.  Liner notes for the Crescendo CD release of  “Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, Greatest Hits, 1961-1976.”

[22]  Blair, 1995.  Into by Dick Dale, p. i.

[23]  Blair, 1995, preface, p. iii.

[24]  Blair, 1995.  Third Edition, introduction by Dick Dale, p. i.

[25]  Blair, 1995.  Introduction by Dick Dale, written September 10, 1994, p. i.

[26]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[27]  Blair, 1995.  Into by Dick Dale, p. i.

[28]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[29]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[30]  Blair, 1995, preface, p. iii.

[31]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[32]  Blair, 1995.  Into by Dick Dale, p. i.

[33]  The Fender Reverb was actually introduced to the consumer market in 1961, with production continuing through the late 1960s.  Reverb circuitry was added to some amplifier models in 1963.  See Blair, 1995, p. iii.

[34]  Cralle, 1991, p. 132.

[35]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[36]  Blair, 1995, preface, p. iii.

[37]  Dirt, 1995.

[38]  Martel, Gary.  Email message ( to alt.surfing, March 6, 1996.

[39]  Lueras, 1984, p. 134.

[40]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.  See also Lueras, 1984, p. 134.

[41]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[42]  Blair, 1995, pp. iii-iv.

[43]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[44]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[45]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[46]  Lueras, Leonard.  Surfing, The Ultimate Pleasure, 1984, p. 134.

[47]  Blair, 1995, p. iv.

[48]  Lueras, 1984, p. 136.

[49]  The Beach Boys, “Surfin’” ©1961 by Guild Music.  See Blair, 1995, p. iv.

[50]  Lueras, 1984, p. 136.

[51]  Dirt, 1995.

[52]  Lueras, 1984, p. 136.

[53]  Feldman, Paul.  Los Angeles Times, Summer 1983, on the occasion of the Beach Boys being invited to sing at the White House by then-president Ronald Reagan.

[54]  Blair, 1995, p. iv.

[55]  Blair, 1995, pp. iv-v.

[56]  Blair, 1995, p. v.  It wasn’t until 1964 that teenage nightclubs began to proliferate in Southern California, due mainly to the social and musical explosion brought about by the British Invasion.

[57]  Blair, 1995, p. v.

[58]  See Chapter 11, “1962.”

[59]  Blair, 1995, p. v.

[60]  Blair, 1995, pp. v-vi.

[61]  Blair, 1995, p. vi.

[62]  Blair, 1995, p. vi.

[63]  Blair, 1995, p. vi.

[64]  Lueras, 1984, p. 136.

[65]  Blair, 1995, p. vii.

[66]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[67]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[68]  Lueras, 1984, p. 137.

[69]  Cralle, 1991, p. 132.

[70]  Blair, 1995, preface, p. vi.

[71]  Blair, 1995, preface, p. vi.

[72]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “ 1995.

[73]  Hendrix, Jimi.  “Third Stone Form The Sun,” Are You Experienced? Reprise, ©1967.

[74]  Hendrix, Jimi.  “1983 A Merman I Shall Turn To Be,” Electric Ladyland, Reprise, ©1969.

[75]  Lueras, 1984, p. 137.

[76]  Hendrix, Jimi.  “Are You Experienced?” ©1967; “Rainbow Bridge,” ©1970.

[77]  Pewter, Jim.  Liner notes for the Crescendo CD release of  “Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, Greatest Hits, 1961-1976.”

[78]  Pewter, Jim.  Liner notes for the Crescendo CD release of  “Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, Greatest Hits, 1961-1976.”

[79]  Pewter, Jim.  Liner notes for the Crescendo CD release of  “Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, Greatest Hits, 1961-1976.”

[80]  Dirt, 1995.

[81]  Cralle, 1991, p. 132.

[82]  Dirt, Phil.  “What Is Surf Music?  Installment One... “

[83]  Dirt, Phil.  Correspondence, 9/13/95.

[84]  Dirt, Phil.  Correspondence, 9/6/95.

[85]  Priore, p. 75.  Billy Miller, from KICKS magazine, quoted.

[86]  Priore, p. 75.  Johnny Whiteside of LA WEEKLY quoted.

[87]  “About Phil Dirt,” on Phil Dirt’s homepage.  Originally written for the Eclectic Ear, a publication of the Coalition For Eclectic Radio, p. 1.

[88]  Blair, 1995, p. vi.