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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Best-Of SG101 »

Permalink 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF SURF MUSIC!!!

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The Ventures play instrumental music. Some (but not most) of it was and still is surf. Generally, it's mostly pop and rock, but also show tunes, movie & television themes, some jazz, country and anything else that strikes their fancy.

Like this recent release.

image

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Last edited: Oct 18, 2012 09:11:59

Joe Satriani plays instrumental music. His initial hit was called "Surfing with the Alien" but it is not surf guitar music and neither are his other recordings. It's rock and pop. I speculate his music is not popular with the readers here.

Lawrence Welk & his orchestra and Billy Vaughn & his orchestra played instrumental music, mostly pop but some rock, but also show tunes, movie & TV themes, polkas, and other music. They had several hits in the 1960s, rocking songs that scored high in the charts. But that was not surf guitar music and I speculate it is not popular with the readers here.

As you say, the Ventures played surf music and other things too. This doesn't change things. What percentage of the band members who are readers here play some music that is not surf? Probably the vast majority, considering Tequila, Christmas songs, Elvis, White Wedding, Mustang Sally, Green Onions, Walk Don't Run, Caravan, The Lonely Bull, and Stairway to Heaven.

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

I'm constantly amazed and impressed by the wide variety of music appreciated and played by members of SG101.

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

In answering your post, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, especially when it is the picture you posted. Here it is the Ventures' album cover prominently featuring a surf beach photo on the front (repeated below).

Just 5 days ago (9/21/15) the Wall St Journal had a feature on the Ventures as originators of surf guitar music. For this link to work you have to be logged into the WSJ website (and have a subscription):
http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-musicians-rode-the-surf-rock-wave-1442873186

The second sentence is "The first major surf-rock hit—the Ventures’ “Walk—Don’t Run”—peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s pop chart in September 1960, launching a genre that popularized surfing and beach culture while grooming teenage ears for the guitar-heavy British Invasion that followed."

I'm not endorsing the accuracy of the WSJ account, only noting that it is a common perception of the Ventures music as surf guitar.

Noel wrote:

The Ventures play instrumental music. Some (but not most) of it was and still is surf. Generally, it's mostly pop and rock, but also show tunes, movie & television themes, some jazz, country and anything else that strikes their fancy.

Like this recent release.

image

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

Last edited: Sep 26, 2015 19:06:49

You may have missed the WSJ article discussion here.

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"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

And the Ventures may have influenced many kids to pick up guitars and learn to play. Some of them starting surf bands.
But.... The Ventures did many styles of music over the years,not just surf. And the band themselves say they are not surf,but an instrumental rock band that did happen to play some surf songs.

Jeff(bigtikidude)

As a latecomer to this board, and born way too late to ever have heard surf on the charts, I LOVED reading this thread. Paul Johnson. Wow. I fantasize about DD showing up here too. It’s wonderful, no, it’s INSANELY COOL that we still have these giants and originators with us!

The difference of opinions about the origins is fascinating. I’ve always thought Walk, Don’t Run was a surf song, even though I heard that they stated they were not a surf band. I figured that’s where all those other, non-surfy songs came in that they did.

Vocals! I agree with the surfers that “real” surf is instro. I also think “surf rock” is a lot different than “surf,” because it can have vocals. These are my distinctions, since I just don’t know enough people who are actually into surf. It really is hard to define. L

I have a lot of thoughts about surf. Most recently that it’s a perfect “modern” format for Middle Eastern music. (Modern meaning rock.) That poppy / bluesy 1-4-5 surf is okay, but so vanilla. Compared to Miserlou, Bombora, or The Wedge, all that major key stuff feels lacking to me. I grew up (and still am!) a Jew, so I was a wee witness to those dramatic scales several times a year. I was exposed to those darkly emotional scales and song structures, so maybe that’s why regular rock and blues is just boring to me. You can hear that in many of my surf tunes. My stuff is either super dark and dramatic, or doo wop level poppy. But never the 1-4-5 blues progression thing. (Except for one song whose purpose is to mislead!)

Now I’m searching through “1st wave” surf and realizing how different my own style is. I’m trying to defeat my snobbiness and really hear what was going on. I realized immediately that I must broaden my personal definition of surf.

Btw regarding punk - I always thought it was a fact that Malcom McLauren saw The Ramones in 1974, then went back to England and formed the Sex Pistols in the same way boy bands are created. He just threw some dudes together and told them to learn instruments and play a certain style. He wanted to get rich by managing a controversial band. I think? And, Chuck Berry was punk as fuck.

Daniel Deathtide

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