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America’s Newest Musical Craze: Surf Music

Aug. 9, 1963 - America’s newest musical craze, which has drowned traditional rock ’n’ roll, has set up 23-year-old Dick Dale (pictured) as the king of surfing music. It began last winter in California, where surf boards have replaced cars as the teenage status symbol, and this summer it has surged to the East Coast. Dick Dale’s surfing albums have sold more than 200,000 copies. The Surfaris, a musical group of five teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, recorded “Wipe Out,” a single disk, which has sold almost 1 million copies. Other successful surfing groups are known as The Beach Boys, The Chantays, The Dartells, and The Astronauts. Industry experts noted today that surfing was the first sport to emerge with its own music. Murry Wilson, a composer and music publisher as well as manager of The Beach Boys, said: “Surfing music has to sound untrained with a certain rough flavor to appeal to teenagers. When the music gets too good, it isn’t considered the real thing.” Terry Melcher, a producer at Columbia Records, said: “Surfing bands are beginning to entertain at private parties and in nightclubs. The market is booming. Even Chubby Checker is making surf records.”


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