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The Birth of Surf Music

Who Wrote Surfin USA?

The Beach Boys are known for many hits, but this song is their most emblematic. It is credited with launching surf music into a national craze and remains one of their best recordings to date.

The opening lines of this hit suggest a Californian dream. It suggests that if everyone had access to an ocean, they would go surfing.

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson is one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. His songs are featured in countless movies, from surf films to baby boomer flicks. His masterpiece, Pet Sounds, has influenced many artists since its release. He is also known for his psychedelic production techniques.

He is an avid baseball fan and frequently mentions the sport in his music. He has even been spotted throwing the ceremonial first pitch at events. He also loves to attend Los Angeles Dodgers games with his family.

After breaking free from Eugene Landy, a psychotherapist who exerted a great deal of control over his life, Wilson experienced a creative resurgence. He released a self-titled solo album in 1988 and a collaboration with Van Dyke Parks called Orange Crate Art in 1995. In 1998, he released Imagination, an album that evoked the lush Beach Boys productions of the 1960s. He also released a sparse piano album in 2021, entitled At My Piano.

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry was one of the most important figures in the development of rock and roll. His songs vividly described consumer culture and teenage life, while his guitar playing was a benchmark for future guitarists.

He was a talented singer and musician who worked as a carpenter, freelance photographer, auto plant janitor, and hairdresser before making it big in music. He also had his share of legal trouble, including a stint in reform school for armed robbery and a prison sentence for violating the Mann Act.

The Beach Boys borrowed heavily from Berry’s style, including the 32-bar form of “Sweet Little Sixteen” for “Surfin’ U.S.A.” Carl Wilson’s opening guitar lick is almost identical to Berry’s classic intro to “Johnny B. Goode.” Berry’s publisher, Arc Music, received all the writer’s royalties from this song. This was a huge financial windfall for the former street hustler. He used the money to buy a St. Louis nightclub and continue to perform into his 80s.

Murray Wilson

Surfin’ USA is an iconic Beach Boys song, and a cultural touchstone of the 1960s. It was a top three hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and has become one of the most recognized songs in history. It is also an important part of the group’s live shows, usually playing at the end of their set.

Murry Wilson was the father of Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, and he encouraged his sons to play music. He taught them how to sing and play instruments, and he took an active role in the band’s business affairs. He also gave them musical advice, both solicited and unsolicited, until his death in 1973.

Murray Wilson had a blue-collar background, and worked for the Southern California Gas Company until the birth of his first son. He then became a foreman at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber factory, where he lost his eye in an accident. He later founded his own machining company, but kept an interest in music and helped his sons to pursue their careers as the Beach Boys.

Arc Music

Arc Music is a World Music and Folk Music label based in West Sussex, England. The company was acquired by Naxos in 2019. ARC’s music has been featured in the films Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Casino Royale, Burn After Reading, The Kingdom, and Skyfall.

The song’s catchy melody and upbeat lyrics celebrated the sun, surf, and beach lifestyle that became a defining feature of California’s youth culture in the 1960s. Its popularity helped establish The Beach Boys as one of the most popular bands of the era. While Berry’s lawyers threatened to sue The Beach Boys for copyright infringement, the band complied by paying Berry’s publisher, Arc Royalties, an additional cut on top of their own publishing royalty. They did this even though Berry’s song “Sweet Little Sixteen” was a parody, which is not subject to the same copyright laws as original songs.

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Hi, I’m Gary Clay

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