Thursday, October 13, 2016

SHG: The Surfaris: "Wipe Out"

The Surfaris: “Wipe Out”
Entered the chart on: 7/6/63
Peaked on: 8/10/63
Weeks at #2: 1
Song at #1: “Fingertips—Pt. 2” by Little Stevie Wonder

All right! We’re really in the 60s now! Well, maybe it isn’t the “Summer of Love” 60s that people are getting their undies damp for (I’ll say it now: these are songs from the AM dial. Prepare to be disappointed.) but, hey! Folk-revival followed by surf-rock! The detritus of the 50s this ain’t!

Now, I’m sure people are going to point out that “we’ve already had surf-rock” with the Ventures. I’d argue that, like the “proto-folk-revival” of the Brothers Four, the Ventures were “proto-surf-rock.” This is the real deal. I mean, the title references surfing and they have “surf” in their name! How much more surf-y can you get?

Mind you, despite being born and raised in California, and even spending summer vacations on the beach at Santa Cruz, I was never part of the surf culture. I think the closest I come to it is owning the Beach Boys Pet Sounds, and there aren’t even any songs about surfing on that one!

That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy surf-rock. I mean, come on, I’m not Mexican, but I love me a good enchilada. So let’s dig into this enchilada:

We haven’t even started yet and I already have to laugh. This was released on Dot Records. Ah, they’ve come a long way since throwing hideous whitewashed remakes of R&B classics from the likes of Pat Boone and Gale Storm! Speaking of laughing, how about that iconic, yet creepy, spoken intro to this?

Wow, did they put everything through the spring reverb on this? The intro, the guitar, the bass, the drums, it sounds like they did! This won’t win any prizes for complexity, the up-down guitar melody seems to be playing in solid eighth notes. Really, the drummer is the star of the show here, getting some spotlight fills, though I think he’s at his most interesting when the rest of the band comes back in, getting all cymbal-splashy on us.

Though really, I think simplicity is this song’s strength. At a mere two minutes and fifteen seconds, this song would wear out its welcome if it were any longer. As it is, it sticks in the mind in an appealing way. Toe-tapping fun.

Rating: 5

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