The Magical History and Truth About Surf Rock
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Surf rock: what does one imagine when we think of it? Perhaps the Beach Boys, who are kings of this genre is one. We could also think of artists such as Frankie Avalon getting tan and watching girls playing beach volleyball from across. But surf rock is much more than spending some time under the sun, most especially how its beginnings came about. Below, we’ll look at the facts that made surf rock an integral part of the music.
- Dick Dale, the God of surf guitar, got a gig performing at the Rendezvous together with his friends. But during a live rendition of Marty Robbins’s “Don’t Worry,” the bass was distorted because the channel it was going through had a problem resulting in its fuzzy sound. Fortunately, the audience loved it.
- Surf tunes as we know it was born out of the youth culture of beach towns in Southern California. Power and volume blew out the amps of the bands. There seemed to be a race to get as loud as possible before the police arrive due to noise complaints.
- Surfing originated in Polynesia and had a marvelous upbringing in Hawaii. As for the music, Dick Dale’s grandparents were Lebanese people and helped the young guitarist to be familiar with Arab influences. “Misirlou,” Dale’s best-known song, is originally an Eastern Mediterranean one with Greek lyrics.
- The Beach Boys weren’t exactly the pioneers of surf rock, but they did help the genre catapult to mainstream media.
- As surf music began to establish, unfortunate circumstances made it so hard to find stability in charts. One factor was the height of the British Invasion that became so massive in the US; another one was Beach Boys’ style form that made surf music purists loathe the genre so much. It didn’t have any means to be popularized like most subgenres of rock do.
- The second wave of surf rock emerged in the 1970s, kudos to the burgeoning punk rock subculture, notwithstanding the surf rock’s brief mainstream success. Also, who could ever forget the blistering rendition of “Surfin’ Bird” by The Ramones?
- After a long absence from the public eye, Dick Dale made a triumphant return in 1994 with the gritty, violent film Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino, which begins with a robbery in progress in a coffee shop and the song “Misirlou” playing over the opening credits. The world has never been the same ever since.
- Surf rock is still a credible and popular genre today.