Dick Dale and the Del-Tones - Misirlou, surf rock history




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Published on Apr 25, 2010

Dick Dale and the Del-Tones and Misrilou made the History of Surf Rock with a massive dose of reverb, although Misrilou (Μισιρλού in greek girl from Misri, where Misri is meaning Egypt coming from Arab via Turkey) was originally a Greek traditional rebetiko (a style that originated with the Greek refugees from Turkey) song composed around 1920, it can be considered one of the mile stones of surf rock together with Wipeout, Pipeline Surfin Bird and some proto-surf by Link Wray, partly also cuz of the revival lounched by Quentin Trantino's movie Pulp Fiction. Southern California ca. 1960 was a melting-pot of many strains of musical thought. Rock and Roll music was popular, with instrumental rockers such as Duane Eddy, Link Wray, and Santo and Johnny proving that strong vocal ability was unnecessary to achieve a level of stardom. Los Angeles was a hub of Jazz activity, and the biggest acts typically played there. Unlike much of the US at the time, large numbers of Mexicans lived in this part of California, and their music was no doubt heard by many aspiring musicians of the era. Rock instrumentation, with an aggressive jazz-influenced drummer and some Latin influences equals Surf music. It merely required a few local talents to achieve a level of popularity before a trend was born.

Most Early surf bands were formed in Southern California area, with groups such as Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, the Challengers, Eddie & the Showmen and the Surfaris. Orange County in particular had a strong surf culture, and the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa hosted many surf-styled acts. A typical night's entertainment featured not only Surf music, but cover versions of popular hits of the day.

The popularity of the genre led groups from other areas to try their hand as well. Both the Astronauts (Boulder, Colorado) and The Trashmen (Minneapolis, Minnesota) played surf music and their Billboard hits "Baja" (Astronauts, #94, 1963) and "Surfin Bird" (#4, 1964) showed that the popularity of the genre was spreading widely. The Rivieras from South Bend, Indiana, hit #5 in 1964 with "California Sun".

The Atlantics, from Sydney, Australia, were not exclusively surf musicians, but made significant contributions to the genre, the most famous example with being their hit "Bombora" (1963). Another Australian surf band who were known outside their own country's surf scene was the Joy Boys, whose hit "Murphy the Surfie" (1963) was later covered by the Surfaris.

European bands around this time generally focused more on the style played by the Shadows. A notable example of European surf instrumental is Spanish band Los Relampagos' rendition of "Misirlou". The Dakotas, who were the British backing band for mersey-beat singer Billy J. Kramer gained some attention as surf musicians with "Cruel Sea" (1963), which was later covered by the Ventures and eventually other instrumental surf bands, including the Challengers and the Revelairs.

While known as a genre that developed on the West Coast of the United States in the 1960s, a 1990s revival has sparked a resurgence worldwide. Man or Astro-man?, Los Straitjackets, Pollo Del Mar and many others perform on a regular basis. Other groups such as Simon and the Bar Sinisters and Southern Culture on the Skids also dabble in this genre. Some more about the history of Surf rock under the Atlantics song / video Bombora http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caDKxg... here on this channel

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • Dick Dale & His Del-Tones
  • Album

    • Singles Collection '61-'65
  • Writers

    • Nicholas Roubanis
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • WMG, [Merlin] Redeye Distribution (on behalf of Sundazed Music, Inc.); CMRRA, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutor, PEDL, BMG Rights Management, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, LatinAutor - PeerMusic, EMI Music Publishing, and 24 Music Rights Societies


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