When you bring up the topic of beach music, most people immediately think of The Beach Boys and perhaps lesser known bands such as Dick Dale, The Ventures, The Lively Ones, and The Tornadoes. However, there is a distinct difference between these styles. The Beach Boys had a much more profound “doo-wop” sound to their music. In fact, lead singer Brian Wilson even said that he disliked when people described the Beach Boys as “surfin’ music” just because they were from California. Is his mind, they were their own subset of beach rock.
The “surf music” that Brian Wilson was so ready to be detached from was pioneered by Dick Dale in the early 1960s. Around this time, Fender had just incorporated the reverb sound into their amps, allowing electric guitars to mimic the sound of a wave. This can be heard in almost every surf rock song. Dick Dale popularized this effect, while adding Mexican and Middle-Eastern influences to give us the surf rock sound we know today.
While this was all happening on the west coast, a much lesser-known style of beach music was taking hold on the east coast, particularly in North and South Carolina. This style of beach music found its influences through blues and rock R&B. While surf rock exhibits the use of electric guitar, Carolina beach music incorporated more brass instruments, such as the trumpet and the French horn. All of this music was closely associated with “the shag,” which was a popular dance at the time.
I was first introduced to this music by my parents, so some of my favorites that they used to play include “I Love Beach Music” by The Embers, “Give Me Just a Little More Time” by The Chairmen of the Board, “Ocean Boulevard” by Band of Oz, “Mrs. Grace” by Tymes, “Myrtle Beach Days” by The Fantastic Shakers, and “Summertime’s Calling Me” by the Catalinas.
Hope you guys enjoy the tunes,
-The DJ Formerly Known As Chippypants