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Surf rock

From Academic Kids

In the early 1960s, one of the most popular forms of rock and roll was surf rock. It is characterized by being nearly entirely instrumental and by heavy use of reverb on the guitars. The spring reverb featured in Fender amplifiers of the day, cranked to its maximum volume, produced a guitar tone shimmering with sustain and evoking surf and ocean imagery.

Duane Eddy's "Movin' and Groovin" is thought by many to be the main contender for laying the groundwork as the first surf rock record, while others claim the genre was invented by Dick Dale on "Let's Go Trippin'", which became a hit throughout California.

Dale's influence on the surf genre was profound. He often drew on his Lebanese heritage, incorporating modal tonalities and instruments such as finger cymbals and reeds. Many surf bands that followed him incorporated Eastern influences, as well as Dale's generous use of reverb.

Instrumental rock band The Ventures also had a number of surf hits, their most widely known being "Walk Don't Run". The Chantays recorded a top single with "Pipeline".

During the mid- to late 1990s, surf rock experienced a revival in the works of such artists as The Blue Stingrays, Bomboras, Man... or Astro-Man?, and The Aqua Velvets.

Subgenres

Spy Rock is a subgenre of surf rock featuring similarly complex melodies, usually set in minor keys, evocative of film noir. Examples include the bands Double Naughty Spy Car and the Twenty-Twos.

Surfabilly is a subgenre often featuring traditional surf melodies played over rockabilly chord structures. Examples include the bands the Red Elvises and Southern Culture on the Skids.

See also: Surf pop

Example surf rock artists and groups

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