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Let’s Go Surfin’ Now. Everybody’s Learning How

Pointers and background Courtesy of South Beach Magazine

 The Belairs – MR MOTO.

Although their official output at the time was very limited, The Belairs were one of the key bands in the birth of surf music and in their short life span (1960-1963) they spawned an influential musical legacy, paved the way for many other surf bands and their members later on went to play with other famous outfits such as The Standells, Eddie & The Showmen and The Challengers.

 Surf City Jan & Dean  (1963)  

Recognize the high voice in the background?  It’s Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys singing along with friends Jan Berry and Dean Torrance on surf music’s national anthem of cars, girls and the eternal summer of youth.

Pipeline “ The Chantays  (1963)

In the mid-sixties, every kid above the age of zero could play Pipeline’s haunting four-note backdrop. Pipeline, along with The Ventures’ Walk Don’t Run and Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Good, probably inspired more budding guitar players over the next thirty years than any other songs in the history of rock.

OR perhaps you prefer the more athletic version:

And for every Pipeline, there were one hundred Wipeouts

Wipe Out  The Surfaris (1962) 

Conceived on the spot as a flip-side filler tune for the groups freshly recorded Surfer Joe, Wipe Out is surf music’s most recognizable song. Wipe Out / Surfer Joe went on to become a double-sided national hit –”not bad for a group of 15-year olds from Glendora, California. (The cracking sound during the opening was supposed to represent the sound of a surf board smashing into a thousand pieces)

Surfer Girl “ The Beach Boys  (1963)

because Man does not live by surf alone.

Miserlou Dick Dale & The Del-Tones  (1962)

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to drive a nail through your own head, this tune will give you a general idea. Dick Dale got his start at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Newport Beach, California and the ripping guitar riffs coming out of his Fender amp soon filled the Southern California airwaves with a frenzied new sound that came to be known as surf music. Known for the last forty years as the King of the Surf Guitars, Dick Dale’s hammering Miserlou was most recently used as the title tune for Quentin Tarantinos warped masterpiece, Pulp Fiction.  (Leo Fender designed the world famous Fender Dual Showman amp especially for Dick Dale’s live performances at the Rendezvous Ballroom)

In the end, Surf Music’s lasting contribution to America was to wish they all could be  California Girls – 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jwm July 9, 2019, 9:30 AM

    1963 was the year my parents moved us out of Trenton Michigan and into La Habra, California- sorta’ near Disneyland, and sorta’ near the beach. Highway 39, Beach Blvd. was the road to Surf City, Huntington Beach. I’ve made that 20 mile drive thousands and thousands of times. Got my first wave in 1974. Surfing was more like a religion than a sport. Greatest fun, and the deepest terror that I’ve ever known. September of 1975 would bring the juice monster from New Zealand. I got caught inside. Alone in the fog in Mexico, I barely escaped getting sucked over the falls, on the three biggest waves I had ever seen, and spent a long lonely time out there before I could work up the courage to try to paddle back in. That wasn’t my day to die.
    My younger brother is still at it, surfing ex-pat waves in Thailand. I haven’t been in the water since the 80’s. Still, surfing defines my life in so many ways. Surfing a good wave is the most fun it is possible to have. Even sex comes in second.


  • Casey Klahn July 9, 2019, 10:06 AM


    I loved surf music in the Sixties, even though I’m afraid of waxed boards and surf, personally.

    Watch a video titled Surf Church, by Gavin McInnes.

    Anyhow, we were hanging out on the LA coast and my hosts in Hermosa Beach took me out to a restaurant, and remarked that the upstairs loft was where the Beach Boys stayed during their formative years. I guess I bought a sweatshirt there that said Endless Summer.

    When I was a rock climber, I tried to convince my friends the culture was like the old surfing culture. Nobody bought that. The news from LA now is that the surfers have turf wars over certain beaches. I could just picture Eric von Zipper on his board with his leather jacket. When I wasn’t picturing Annette Funicello in her bullet Bikini…

    Carry on.

  • DAN July 9, 2019, 1:24 PM

    YEP remember it well, SHUT DOWN, kinda hard to match a 413 in your buddys moms 48 chevy, stovebolt 6 with 3 on the tree, weren’t for lack of tryin tho. not much surf in chico or the ridge but what the hell.2nd on daydreaming about ANNETTE.

  • Chuck July 9, 2019, 2:11 PM

    I loved that sound, still do, but there wasn’t much surfing opportunity here in the Midwest.

  • jwm July 9, 2019, 3:57 PM

    In 1963 my parents moved us from Trenton, Michigan to La Habra California– sort of near Disneyland, and sorta’ near the beach. I liked the beach better. Michigan was “The Four Seasons”; California was “The Beach Boys”. No contest. Caught my first wave in 1974. The first real wave is the hook, and surfing became an addiction, a religion, and a lifestyle. I learned fast. In September of ’75 the Juice Monster from New Zealand rolled into the Southland. I got caught inside on a paddle out, and had to pitch my board and dive into the face of the biggest swell I had ever seen. I popped my face out, felt myself moving backwards, and had to dig for my life. Came a hair’s breadth from getting sucked over the falls, and I had to get mounted up and repeat that performance scratching for my life on the two even larger waves that followed. That left me alone, a long long ways from shore, and too haired out at this point to take a wave. This was Fear with a capital F. But that was not mt my die, or to ride waves. Just by the grace of God I got out of there OK. Learned a lot that day.
    It’s easy to romanticize the game, and forget the down side of it. Crowds, mostly. When you see films of dozens of guys surfing at a wave break, know that any one of them would gladly send everyone else straight to hell just to get them out of the way. There’s nothing mellow about it.
    Still, catching a good wave is incomparable joy. Sex runs a fair distant second. I haven’t been in the water since the 80’s. Sometimes I still regret letting myself get away from it.


  • jwm July 9, 2019, 4:00 PM

    Odd. I posted this morning and it disappeared. Tried again just now, and lost a second long reply.


  • Steve in Greensboro July 9, 2019, 4:53 PM

    Great stuff Mr. Van Der Leun. I’m a California native of that vintage and The Beach Boys were the best pop of the day.

  • Tom Sherry July 9, 2019, 9:51 PM

    Junior Brown’s Surf Medley is pretty worthy, too.


  • MMinLamesa July 9, 2019, 10:19 PM

    That short video of The Belairs sounds like they are on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

  • bob sykes July 10, 2019, 3:50 AM

    Every once in a while, I find myself watching American Bandstand on YouTube. 1968. How many of the boys dancing on that show would be dead in a few years in Nam?

  • Vanderleun July 10, 2019, 7:12 AM

    jwm– For reasons still obscure to me the spam filter will, on occassion, filter out a comment that shoujld not be filtered. Then I have to go in an manually approve it when I can get to the back end of the page. But I do value your comments.

  • Gordon Scott July 10, 2019, 7:16 AM

    It is a funny old web. I tried doing a search on “juice monster 1975” and did not have success, although one can find information on Oahu waves that apparently originate in New Zealand.

    What you can find is information on Monster brand stimulant drinks, particularly “Pipeline Punch.” Although I have never tasted it, I was aware of the existence of the flavor. Now I know from where the name comes.

  • Montefrío July 10, 2019, 9:42 AM

    Surfin’ Bird, man! The Trashmen. “A-poppa-poppa-poppa…”

  • Larry Geiger July 10, 2019, 9:43 AM

    Last Saturday I was at the beach with the grandkids. I haven’t been in the water since the stem cell bone marrow transplant three years ago. So I waded in up to my armpits. Just out past the breakers. There were about 5 or 6 nice swells on a period of about 6 minutes. The kids had boogie boards (ages 7, 9 and 12). We pushed them when nice waves came along. “Paddle, paddle hard!”. I love to just let the elevator swells lift me up 3 or 4 feet and then gently slide down the back side. I tried to body surf a couple of the larger ones but didn’t get going too well. Too old to paddle well. But riding the swells was great fun. I’ll be back out at least once more this summer.

    When I was 12 I spent the summer in Satellite Beach and Patrick AFB. Body surfing everyday. One day I drifted too far and got rolled up over the coquina shelf. Went home bleeding all over. Mom was not happy. Went back the next day. Salt water is good for cuts and scratches 🙂 Never owned a surf board. Too cheap. Oh well.