77 Instrumental Surf

Which bands do we find?

Among the bands, Johnny & The Hurricanes stood out, which created a personal sound, thanks to the sax of Johnny Paris and the electric organ of Paul Tesluk, which was a great novelty. They triumphed with songs like Red River Rock.

The Ventures, the most famous instrumental band, also appeared. Founded by guitarists Bob Bogle and Don Wilson, they composed very little and preferred to make versions, but they had a refined technique.

The Ventures – Walk don´t Run (1960)

The adaptation of a jazz song composed by Jonny Smith, in 1955. This version was one of the first surf music songs that entered the charts.

The Ventures formed in 1958 in Tacoma, Washington. The two founding members were Don Wilson and Bob Bogle. Their style was based on the perfect coordination of the guitars, custom-made, the cleanliness of the sound and the mastery of the tremolo. They left songs like: Ran-Bunk-Shush, Lullaby of the Leaves, Journey to the Stara or Walk, Don´t Run, the first success of the instrumental band that has had the most sales in history. It has reached one hundred million copies.

What is surf sound?

At the end of 1961, in California, the surf sound appeared, which sought to recreate the sensations of that sport. Instrumental pioneers like Dick Dale, drove the creation of a multitude of bands like The Del-Tones or The Bel-Airs.

The instrumental surf fever continued between 1962 and 1964, spreading to remote places where bands like The Surfaris appeared. With the arrival of the Beach Boys and other vocal groups, these bands disappeared.

Dick Dale and the Del-Tones – Miserlou (1962)

The surf-rock version of a traditional Greek song called Egyptian Woman. It was adapted by Dick Dale and credited to Nick Roubanis, Fred Wise, Milton Leeds, and Bob Russell.

Richard Anthony Monsour was born in the Lebanese community in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1937. As a child, he was encouraged by his father, Jim Monsour, to take an interest in music. In 1954, his family moves to California, where a teenager Dick becomes a passionate about the world of surfing. From there on, he uses exotic scales and influences from Lebanese music to give his fast-paced guitar playing a personal touch. With the reverberation of the amplifier at full, he gives it a peculiar sound that becomes his hallmark.

Did it happen in Europe?

In Europe, the british band The Shadows appears. It is the rocker Cliff Richard’s baking band and thanks to its song Apache, they end up surpassing him in popularity. Hank Mavin is the guitarist who stands out among its members.

Other British bands were The Dakotas, who accompanied the singer Billy J. Kramer, or The Tornados, Billy Fury’s baking band. The latter imposed a spatial sound that, in turn, would influence other bands such as the Swedish Spotnicks.

The Shadows – Apache (1960)

Instrumental track composed by the British Jerry Lordan. Worthy of note is the technique of the guitarist Hank Marvin, the musician that all young Europeans dream of becoming.

Although it has gone unnoticed by the general public for many years, instrumental rock has adapted to the times, giving rise to various trends and sub-genres. One of the clearest examples can be found in today’s post-rock, in which traditional rock music instruments are used but incorporating elements (rhythms, harmonies, timbres and harmonic progressions) from other musical genres. In recent decades the popularity of bands such as Mogwai or Sigur Rós has increased.

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