The Case of the Strumming Surf…

Surf's up!

Surf’s up!

When I first started getting interested in music and, by “interested” I mean seeking out stuff I wasn’t hearing on the radio, the first place I went was to my dad’s stereo set. It was back in a day before the CD and even the casette. Vinyl and eight tracks ruled and my dad had a lot of vinyl.

Some of the earliest stuff I remember listening to was Herb Alpert and the Tiajuana Brass, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Ventures. I absolutely loved “Walk Don’t Run” and would listen to it over an over. When I first saw the t.v. show Hawaii Five O, I knew the theme was by The Ventures even before I read it.

The Ventures had a very unique sound, even for back then. I didn’t have a clue that they were pioneers in a musical genre called “Surf Music”, I just knew I liked their sound. To this day they’re still the most popular rock group in Japan.

With tunes like:

Walk Don’t Run


And, of course, the theme from Hawaii Five-O

It wasn’t very hard to see why The Ventures were so successful.

They weren’t the only pioneers of the Surf Sound, though. Legends like Dick Dale and The Bel-Airs really brought the instrumental surf sound to prominence. Other groups took the sound and added a vocal component. One of the most famous of these were the Beach Boys. Jan and DeanThe Rivieras and Ronny and the Daytonas also had vocal surf hits.



About five or six years ago, I rediscovered the surf sound and would fill my Rhapsody and Live 365 stations with those type of tunes. Great music to work out or mow the lawn to.

Once again, I’ve started listening to the “surf” music and see bands such as Los Straitjackets, The Mermen, and Man or Astroman?  popping up in my Pandora queue.

Personally, I can’t listen to this sort of music without picturing a sunny beach, tiki huts, and drinking out of a coconut shell.

Hang loose dudes and duettes and, until next time….

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