To celebrate over 50,000 views of my top ten surf and hot rod vocals compilation, I have added this blog to let you know why I chose these songs and what makes them so great.
There have been many comments on these songs, and to date 46 likes and 6 dislikes. The one reason for dislikes seems to be because there is no Dick Dale, or to put it more specifically, no Miserlou. That’s because it’s a vocal collection and not an instrumental collection. Also, people mention that there is no Jan & Dean or Beach Boys, yes, that is correct, and that is because I wanted to show something different… If Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys were included, you’d miss out on half of these great songs in this top 10!
So, this is the top ten, and this is why I like them…
10: Bruce & Terry – Custom Machine
Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys and Terry Melcher cover this Beach Boys song and make it something very special, that muggy sound of Bruce & Terry really is haunting and gives the song a really unique feel.
09: Ronny & The Daytona’s – Beach Boy
These guys were landlocked surfers and a lot of their music was drenched in a Country & Western vibe, but Beach Boy is a stunning song with a catchy melody that has summer written all over it.
08: The Rip Chords – Hot Rod USA
Featuring our favourite Bruce Johnston again, and written by none other than Bobby Darin, Hot Rod USA is to cars, what Surfin’ USA was to the Surf. Amazing!
07: The Astronauts – My Little Beach Bunny
Another landlocked American band, The Astronauts recorded some truly inspiring instrumentals. Although Baja was probably their strongest recording, and one of the greatest instrumentals ever, My Little Beach Bunny is fun and far superior to the Gary Usher recording of the same name.
06: The Surfaris – Boss Barracuda
Boss Barracuda by The Surfaris is simply awesome. No other word can describe this song, and Ron Wilson’s vocal along with Gary Ushers production make this song candidate for one of the best car songs ever.
05: The Fantastic Baggys – Surfer’s Rule
Jan & Dean’s one-time backing duo are none other than Phil Sloan and Steve Barri. Surfer’s Rule shows you what a powerful team these two young lads were, and the song belts along at a fantastic pace telling the story of every young American during that era. I wish Surfer’s still ruled.
04: The Super Stocks – Hot Rod High
Gary Ushers gang of deviants take up the next four positions, and for good reason. These records could have been The Beach Boys, or Jan & Dean. These records were raw, full of fun and passion, and Hot Rod High by The Super Stocks rocks!
03: The Devons – Honda Bike
Honda Bike has one of the best melodies ever put to record. The Devons were basically The Super Stocks/The Hondells, but we don’t care, this record is as good as Little Honda, and as much fun.
02: The Hondells – My Buddy Seat
Next to The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean, The Hondells were popular at a certain time and place. They had a US chart hit with a cover of Little Honda, but it is My Buddy Seat that really shines through as one of the greatest hot rod recordings of all time.
01: The Wheel Men – School Is A Gas
We all agree, and I think you’ll see that… school is A/Gas. Gary Usher and gangs finest piece of work is this fantastic short song. It can be found by other artists as School Is A Drag, but this recording has all the right pieces in all the right places. “A/Gas” refers to the type of fuel that hot rod racers preferred, and the “A” to me represents the pinnacle of surf and hot rod music. This song is a sonic journey like you’ve never heard before, it’s mono, it’s raw, it’s rough and its damn right mind-blowing.
There we have it. A review of the top ten surf and hot rod songs of the 1960’s. Once this video reaches 75,000 I will add a top 10 Surf/Hot Rod instrumentals, and once it gets to 100,000 views I will add videos 11-20 for both vocal and instrumental. Until then, keep surfin’.