June 18, 2008

In Defence Of Surf Music

Thai_Shadow.jpgAs "The Web's Longest Running Strange-Music Blog", Music For Maniacs deserves our enduring admiration and affection but, beyond that, they should be applauded for championing a genre that is consistently overlooked in definitions of the rock canon - instrumental surf music.

To quote MfM: "If you subscribe to the Rolling Stone/Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame/Baby Boomer critics world view, there was Elvis, Chuck Berry, etc, then rock died in 1960. Then, in the mid-'60s, Dylan and the Beatles "saved" it. Uh, yeah. Right. Actually, if anything, surf music saved rock. When The Bel-Aires and Dick Dale made their 1961 debuts, reinvigorating rock 'n 'roll with a fresh, exciting new sound and instantly inspiring countless musicians, the charts and airwaves had gotten fairly rock-free."

I'd add to this that surf music also helped kick-start the globalisation of rock music thanks to The Shadows, who revelled in the surf guitar sound and embarked on world tours that visited places like Turkey and Thailand that had never been venues for rock music before. As a result, the first rock acts to appear in these countries were often Shadows-style "surf guitar" bands. (As an example of such bands, check out Shadow Music Of Thailand which was recently released on Sublime Frequencies.)

Posted by Warren at 01:35 AM