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60’s Surf Music

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Surf music came out of Orange County California during the early 60s. What began as mostly instrumental dance music celebrating the surf culture that was popular in America at the time, surf music evolved into two distinct styles; the mostly instrumental fast paced sound made famous by Dick Dale and the harmonic vocal group music made famous by the Beach Boys.

Like most musical movements, surf music borrowed heavily from its predecessors; Mexican influences mixed with doo wop and early rock. One of the most famous surf music songs “Surfin USA” was a remake of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen”. Surf Music was short lived and all but disappeared by the mid-sixties as the British invasion took over.

The most notable thing to come out of the movement was Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s magnum opus Pet Sounds, regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Pet Sounds” 2nd in their list of the 500 greatest albums. Brian Wilson claims the Beatles album Rubber Soul as the influence for Pet Sounds. Paul McCartney later said of the album,

“It was Pet Sounds that blew me out of the water. I love the album so much. I’ve just bought my kids each a copy of it for their education in life … I figure no one is educated musically ’til they’ve heard that album …”


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Beach Boys – Surfin USA (1963)

Beach Boys – Surfin USA (1963) icon   icon

Jan and Dean – Surf City (1963)

Jan and Dean – Surf City (1963) icon   icon

The Surfaris – Wipe Out (1963)

The Surfaris – Wipe Out (1963) icon   icon

Dick Dale & His Del-Tones – Misirlou (1962)

Dick Dale & His Del-Tones – Misirlou (1962) icon   icon

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966) icon   icon


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