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Surf Rock

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Surf music is actually just the sound of the waves played on a guitar: that wet, splashy sound.

Surf Rock is what California sounds like.

Or, to be more specific: surf rock is a genre of Rock & Roll associated with surf culture, which originated in The '60s in Southern California.

Surf rock comes in two flavours, instrumental and vocal. Both versions are centred around some common traits, such as electric guitars using "wet"-sounding spring reverb note 

Surf rock was incredibly popular between 1961-1965, the period from which originated its iconic songs such as "Misirlou", "Let's Go Trippin'", "Pipeline", "Wipe Out", "Surfin' USA", "Fun, Fun, Fun" and others. Another label applied to some of these bands, who played songs about fast cars rather than surfing, was "hot rod rock". The genre's popularity was effectively killed by The British Invasion starting in 1964, with the only group that survived being The Beach Boys, who despite their association weren't really a Surf Rock band.

However, the genre proved very influential on several other rock bands, such as The Who, Dead Kennedys and The Pixies. It underwent a revival thanks to the use of several of its songs in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (most famously, "Misirlou" and "Bullwinkle Part II"), and new surf bands have appeared lately such as Man or Astro-man?, The Mermen and Los Straitjackets.

A good argument can be made that what we know as "spy movie music" borrows a lot from surf rock and just uses a lot more minor keys (case in point; the James Bond electric guitar theme, or the Peter Gunn theme).

Instrumental surf rock bands:

Vocal surf rock bands:

Revivalist surf rock bands:

And, to top it all off, even the Muppets have once made an album with a lot of surf rock:


Skeet Surfin'

Shooting while surfing--what could go wrong?

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