High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Sunday, July 8, 2018

CAUTION - FROGMEN UNDERWATER! Meet the Kings and Queens of Surf

Today I'm exploring surf rock.


Let's test the waters with the SoCal instrumental
surf band The Frogmen, the first act to make the
Billboard pop chart with what is now regarded as
a surf classic, a single that reached the top 50 in
the spring of 1961. Don't wait. Take the plunge
and go "Underwater" with The Frogmen!

 "Underwater" - The Frogmen  
 (Apr./May 1961, highest chart pos. #44) 


While The Frogmen are credited with the first surf rock
single to make the Hot 100, a Los Angeles band called
The Gamblers gave us "Moon Dawg!," the granddaddy
of all surf instrumentals. Recorded in late 1959 and
released at the beginning of 1960, "Moon Dawg!"
is considered the earliest recording of the genre.
The Gamblers were assembled by Beach Boys
producer Nick Venet and by Derry Weaver,
the primary songwriter for the band.

On "Moon Dawg!" Weaver is credited as lead
guitarist, but at least one source claims the lead
guitar work was done by session guitarist and
future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Burton.
Other members included, on piano, Bruce Johnston,
who went on join the Beach Boys, rhythm guitarist
Elliot Ingber who later joined Frank Zappa's band
 The Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart's
Magic Band, bass player Larry Taylor who joined
Canned Heat, and Sandy Nelson who became one
of the best known rock drummers of the early
60s. Listen now as The Gamblers shred on
"Moon Dawg! - the title inspired by DJ
Alan Freed's nickname "Moondog."

 "Moon Dawg!" - The Gamblers 
 (Feb. 1960, uncharted) 


Now meet The Surfer Girls, born in the Brill Building of Manhattan and bred for success as a California style girl group. The Surfer Girls were the Staten Island duo of Lorraine Bonica on lead vocals and Janice Bartolomeo on harmony. The girls were originally part of a trio called The Durettes. In 1964, after that act dissolved, song-
writer and arranger Steve Venet,
the brother of producer Nick Venet, christened Lorraine and Janice
"The Surfer Girls" hoping they'd become a female version of the Beach Boys. The Surfer Girls made cool records but didn't catch a wave.

Sung to the tune of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode"
(a melody also borrowed by the Beach Boys on their
hit "Fun Fun Fun"), The Surfer Girls' single "Draggin'
Wagon" sounds at times like a 3-way mash-up of
Chuck's record, "Don't Say Nothin' Bad" by the
Cookies and the Beach Boys' drag racing classic
"Shut Down." Burn rubber with The Surfer Girls!

 "Draggin' Wagon" - The Surfer Girls 
 (May 1964, highest chart pos. #134) 

The fab flip of "Draggin' Wagon is the boss, Hoss! 
It's the kiss and tell tale "One Boy Tells Another" 
(Before you know it you hear it from your brother!)

 "One Boy Tells Another" - The Surfer Girls 
 (May 1964, B side of "Draggin' Wagon") 


"The Lonely Surfer," a sun and surf instrumental 
recorded in 1963 by arranger, producer, songwriter 
and composer Jack Nitzsche, starts out like a ripple
on a pond and steadily builds to a towering 50-footer.
To me "The Lonely Surfer" is a powerful metaphor
for facing life's challenges and conquering them!

 "The Lonely Surfer" - Jack Nitzsche 
 (Sept. 1963, highest chart pos. #39) 


Let's take a brief Six Degrees style detour. In 1966,
folk rock singer/songwriter Bob Lind scored a top 5
hit with "Elusive Butterfly," a single produced by
Jack Nitzsche. That same year Nitszche produced
and arranged Spectorian wall-of-sound recordings
for his wife, blue-eyed soul singer Gracia Ann May.

Gracia, along with mystery backup singers
believed to be Phil Spector's Blossoms,
formed a girl group that husband Jack
named The Satisfactions. Bob Lind
wrote a song for Cher entitled "Bring
It All Down," but Bono's better half
passed on it. Nitzsche produced and
arranged a version of the song recorded
by the Satisfactions that was released
in the spring of 1966 on the B side of
the group's single "Daddy You Gotta
Let Him In." "Bring It" does just that.
Gracia Nitzsche and the Satisfactions
ooze Spectorian folk-rock splendor!

 "Bring It All Down" - The Satisfactions 
 (Apr. 1966, uncharted B side of  
 "Daddy,  You Gotta Let Him In") 

Now listen to the A side of this collector
coveted single, "Daddy, You Gotta Let Him In."
The melody will remind you of the Crystals hit
"Then He Kissed Me." The lyrics, which include
"One of Hell's Angels will be knocking at the
door tonight," tell another tale of a good girl
in love with a bad boy, and should bring to
mind "He's a Rebel, "Leader of the Pack"
and "Home of the Brave."

 "Daddy, You Just Gotta Let Him In" 
 The Satisfactions (Apr. 1966, uncharted) 


Now back to the surf scene. Not to be outdone by
The Surfer Girls, the act you met earlier, here are
The Surfmen to take us home with another great
 California surf rock instrumental, Waxed in the
early 60s, this one is called "The Ghost Hop." 

The Surfmen were Ray Hunt on lead guitar,
Nick Drury on rhythm guitar, Armon Frank
on Sax, Randall Anglin on Bass and Tim
Fitzpatrick on drums. Don't be scared.
Click to play "Ghost Hop" and
bop till you drop!

 "The Ghost Hop" - The Surfmen 
 (circa 1961/1962) 

I hope you enjoyed riding the wild surf

with these sun drenched surfin' tunes.

Sea me whenever you Hunt for fun!

Have a Shady day!


  1. Thanks for this selection of surf music. I had no idea it went on for so many years. The Surfer Girls were new to me. Interesting selection of more unusual tracks, thanks!

    1. Hi, Joey!

      It's great to see you again, my English friend! Thanks a lot for coming over to sample some surf tunes in the Shady.

      Over the years I have not posted surf rock very often, especially surf rock instrumentals. I wanted to fix that with this post. Reintroducing "The Lonely Surfer," the classic instrumental by arranger Jack Nitzsche that I posted years ago, enabled me to segue into the rare Spectorian sides recorded by Jack's wife, blue-eyed soul songstress Gracia Ann May, and her mystery group The Satisfactions.

      I'm pleased to know you enjoyed this set. Thanks again for coming, Joey, and have a great week in the UK!

  2. You always think of beach music as Beach Boys first. Not sure the title Surf Bunnies and Hot Honeys would go over so well now.

    1. Hi, Alex!

      You missed being the early bird this week, but you are still plenty early and I thank you for coming!

      You're right. When West Coast beach music is discussed around the water cooler, The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean are usually the first acts to be mentioned. Of course, if you're talking about East coast (Carolina) beach music, that's a completely different kettle of fish, and you'd be discussing groups like The Tams, The Tymes, Maurice Wms. & the Zodiacs, O'Kaysions, Swingin' Medallions and Bill Deal & the Rhondels.

      It's interesting that you mentioned that album compilation Surf Bunnies and Hot Honeys. Somewhere along the line the title was changed and the word "Rod" was inserted between "Hot and "Honeys" as seen below:

      I'm not sure it helped all that much, but at leas they tried to make it slightly more PC, right? :)

      Thanks again, Alex, and have a great week!

  3. Thanks for presenting something totally new to me, friend Shady. While listening to your selections, I also found my self reading in your Dell story sidebar again. Happy Sunday, eh? Love, cat.

    1. Hi, cat!

      How are you, dear feline friend? Thanks for coming down!

      Yessum, surf rock instrumentals have seldom appeared on SDMM over the years. I doubt any of these recordings were played at the Shady Dell where doo-wop, soul & R&B were the dominate genres of the early 60s. With summer here, I decided the time is right to post a few relics of the surf genre along with the West Coast folk-rock of The Satisfactions, exponents of the Spectorian wall-of-sound production technique that was popular in the early and mid 60s.

      Thanks for reading my sidebar. That was very nice of you. I wish you a happy day and a wonderful week, dear friend cat!

    2. Just returned from the Toad Rock, BC, Canada motorcycle meet up … and am still a bit riled up from driving long hours … saw my son Paul and daughter in law and cat Benny … looks like they wanna sty in the Kootenays, BC instead of returning to AB … guess life is all about embracing and letting go … PS: … while listening to your music selections I always get side swept by your side bar story … smiles and meouws … Love, cat.

    3. … precious daughter in law Leanne I meant to say … and spelling mistake correction is in order as I meant to spell it "stay" … ok, me will curl up and sleep now for a bit … Wishing you a very good week ahead, friend Shady … c.

    4. Hi again, kitty cat!

      I notice how you and your family members "bite into life." By that I mean that you are more actively involved than most people I know in adventure and rugged sports like skiing and biking. I admire you for that. I am also delighted that you enjoy reading my sidebar story. You are a wonderful friend, cat! :)

    5. We both posted at the same moment there, dear cat! Okay, I wish you a safe and happy week ahead. Now go curl up and get some well deserved sleep. I will chat with you again soon, dearie! :)

    6. LUBBINS LUBBINS LUBBINS, dear cat! :)

  4. Any Sunday that starts out with surf rock is bound to be a good Sunday. I enjoyed the Frogmen's instrumental (and I immediately thought of the WWII movie "The Frogmen" when I saw that name, which was a good flick!) but I really liked the Gamblers "Moon Dawg"! And that was a good video to go along with the song! I was also compelled to go do some digging after reading the list of the Gamblers musicians -- "Captain Beefheart" piqued my curiosity and I found an interesting Wiki read on that guy.

    Go Surfer Girls! They have some spunk, don't they? I liked their sound, that undeniable 60s girl-band sound. I liked both selections you chose here.

    Another fine instrumental is Jack Nitzsche's "The Lonely Surfer". I liked your description of how the song starts out as a pond ripple then builds to a "towering" wave.

    I enjoyed the 6 degree detour. Thanks for the introduction to the Satisfactions. I for sure preferred the A side, "Daddy, You Gotta Let Him In." That's a classic line: "One of Hell's Angels will be knocking at the door tonight"! It made me giggle.

    But what really made me giggle and captured my heart was the video that went along with your final song, the Surfmen's "Ghost Hop." That was so darn cute! I love the bone drumsticks and the wigs on the skeletons. This would be a good one to feature for a Halloween post. I may borrow it come October...

    Thanks for a surfin' Sunday kickoff. I have to head out to take the dogs for another "pet parade potty break" -- :)
    BTW, I probably won't see an email alerting me to your post here for a few days, just so you know.
    And I may end up doing a 4M post on Monday. I couldn't sleep last night and made some good headway on it. Still not sure because I don't know what the day is going to hit me with yet...but it's a possibility.

    Enjoy your Sunday,

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Thanks a bunch for hustling over on the first morning of the post's run, dear friend. I very much appreciate it!

      Instrumental surf rock is quite a departure from my usual fare, but I thought it was about time I paid tribute to this important genre in rock history. As you noticed some of the emerging stars of rock took part in these early studio sessions. I was motivated to do this post thanks in large part to the brilliantly remastered audio on the first two selections by the Frogmen and the Gamblers. They never sounded this good before. I had been saving those two rare sides by The Satisfactions thinking I might include them in an upcoming volume of my series Echoes of the Spectorian Era which features recordings inspired by Phil Spector's wall-of-sound. However, as this post started taking shape and it included the genre classic by Jack Nitzsche, I thought it made more sense to play Six Degrees and post them here given the fact that they were waxed by Jack's wife Gracia and her group of unknown session singers (possibly Spector's Blossoms feat. Darlene Love). I'm glad you agree that the lyrics "One of Hell's Angels will be knocking at the door tonight" are among the coolest ever - right up there with Debby Boone's "You light up my life." :)

      "Draggin' Wagon" by The Surfer Girls is shamelessly derivative of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and the Beach Boys' "Fun Fun Fun" and it's no secret the plan was to package the duo as a female version of the Beach Boys. However, that position had already been nailed down the previous year by a different girl group, The Honeys, led by Marilyn Rovell aka Mrs. Brian Wilson.

      I'm excited to know that the skeleton band in "Ghost Hop" tickled your funny bone. You're right, it would make a great Halloween tune and video. There again, I had planned to save that vid and post it in October, but decided to use it here in conjunction with the other genre tunes.

      Thank you again, very much, for showing up early, Michele. You are a great friend. I hope you, your mother and your bowwows are doing fine today. If you run a post tomorrow, I look forward to it and will be over first thing. Enjoy your Sunday and the week ahead, dear friend Michele!

    2. Thanks for your reply. Hey, I meant to mention in my earlier comment: The beginning of "Daddy, You Gotta Let Him In", I think it's called a 'riff' in music lingo, sounds exactly like another song that starts out that way. I was expecting it to be the other song. I can't figure out what song it is though. Do you know??

    3. Hello again, Michele!

      As I wrote there in the text intro to "Daddy," I think it sounds a lot like the Phil Spector produced Crystals hit "Then He Kissed Me." See if you agree:

    4. Yeah, that must be it...
      I guess I missed that in your intro. Thanks for clearing that up

    5. AOK, my friend. Thank you very much for participating in lively and "meaty" discussions here and at your place. Threads like these are what make blogging great! :)

  5. Yep, all new stuff to me and I'll admit... never my favorite genre of pop/rock. (though I'll certainly listen to it and do like some)

    That clip of Ghost Hop by The Surfmen is great! Totally worth the price of admission this week!!

    1. Hi, Kelly!

      Thank you very much for coming over on a weekend, dear friend. I am very happy to see you!

      Truth be told, I paid very little attention to surf instrumentals back in the 60s. I grew up on the East Coast where soul music was king. I don't remember "Underwater" being played on my local top 40 station, only the bigger hits of the genre like "Wipe Out."

      I'm happy to know the Surfmen got your toes tappin' with their goofy video for "Ghost Hop." (Halloween will be here before you know it and you may consider that a preview.) I'm happy to know you didn't consider the price of admission too steep. :)

      Thank you again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Kelly, and enjoy the week ahead!

  6. Gosh Shady, I had forgotten about some of the Surfer instrumentals during the surf period! I do remember Sandy Nelson...what a great drummer! And, I really liked the "Moon Dawg". I don't recognize it, but it was good, and the video was too!

    That one by the Frogmen,"Underwater" sounds familiar, but I couldn't swear that I've heard it. And, "The Lonely Surfer" is just as you said. Pretty powerful! And, again, this song sounded familiar. Wonder if I heard these back in the day, and they weren't as significant without lyrics! I still love "Wipeout" to this day.

    "Bring It All Down" is a good song. It is a different sound somehow. She has a beautiful voice, and it sounds so effortlessly done. But, how funny! I did think of "Then He Kissed Me" and "Leader of the Pack," as soon as "Daddy You Just gotta Let Him In" began! I did like the's one of those songs, you love to hate, and can sing right along with it, lol!

    Well, Shady...what do you think? Oh, did I leave out someone? The Surfer Girls? I don't know..."Draggin Wagon" was kind of corny, but the girls do have very good singing voices!

    So, wow! "The Ghost Hop"...gotta love it! I'm not kidding, Shady, that is a fun song! If you close your eyes and listen, it's a very good instrumental, and musically sound. Then, open your eyes, and you really get the picture! The video is so cute, and belongs with that song-just love it!

    You did it again, Shady! And, what a variety...all surprises!

    Thank you for a great post, my friend! Have a wonderful week, hope you are staying cool! Take care, dear friend! ♫

    1. Hi, Suzanne!

      Thanks so much for coming over on day one as I present a refreshing chance of pace, a sampling of surf and sun relics of the early and mid 60s with some dramatic Spectorian folk-rock thrown in for good measure.

      Yessum, I well remember the splash made by rock 'n' roll drummer Sandy Nelson in the late 50s and the early 60s, his biggest hits being "Teen Beat," a top 5 single in the fall of 1959, and "Let There Be Drums," a #7 hit in January 1962.

      The only recording in this batch that I remember hearing on my local radio station was Jack Nitzsche's top 40 instrumental "The Lonely Surfer." All the rest of these tunes are new to me in recent years, found as I compiled material for the blog. I discovered The Satisfactions when these two sides of theirs turned up on various artists compilations paying tribute to the Spector sound.

      I agree that if you close your eyes as you listen to any or all of these songs, they "pop" - they come to life and you appreciate them more. Of course, the wacky video of the skeleton band doing "Ghost Hop" is a riot and I can see it making the rounds during Halloween season.

      I'm thrilled that you enjoyed delving into a category of music that I left unexplored too long. I must admit that I enjoyed it, too.

      It is sizzling hot this week here in Central Florida. Sometimes the air conditioner in the house runs nonstop for an hour w/o shutting off for a short while. It's awful, but I know you guys have it even worse. Hang in there!

      Thank you again for your kind visit and cheery comments, dear friend Suzanne. Take care and have a wonderful week ahead!

  7. Tom,

    Thanks for stepping onto the dance floor with me on Monday's Mewsic Moves Me, my friend! I hope you and Mrs. Shady had a lovely weekend.

    I am not a great fan of surfer mewsic. Oh, I listen to it and enjoy it while in the moment but I liked the instrumental arrangements such as "Underwater", "The Lonely Surfer"(my favorite of the three) and "The Ghost Hop" that you shared with us. I liked both of your song features by The Satisfactions. Your mewsic selections in this post are all introductions to my ears which I really appreciate. I'm all for a bit of mewsical education whenever I visit SDMM!! Have a surftastic week!

    1. Hi, Cathy!

      Thank you very much for joining the fun as I cry "Cowabunga!" and serve up a heaping helping of SoCal surf tunes along with a dash of Spectorian wall-of-sound folk-rock.

      My intention here was to explore a mewsic category that I didn't know very much about most of my life. Like you I was born and raised in the Eastern U.S. where surf rock instrumentals were not nearly as popular as they were on the West Coast. Now that YouTubers are busy uploading nicely remastered versions of original oldies (to my delight) including those of the surf genre, I was inspired to take the plunge and run this type of post.

      The wild and wacky "Ghost Hop" is a big favorite among readers. I'm glad I included it here instead of waiting for H-ween.

      Thanks again for coming, Cathy. I'm glad you enjoyed listening and learning. I wish you a surftastic week as well, dear friend! :)

  8. Makes me want to grab a surf board and start surfing. Oh. But I should probably watch out for Meg from the new Jason Stanton movie.

    Surprisingly, I knew almost all of those songs.

    Thanks for sharing this beachy summer selection!

    1. Hi, Sherry!

      Thanks for dropping in, dear friend. I am very happy to see you!

      You turned out to be quite a surfer girl if you are familiar with most of these beachy keen songs.

      Holy smoke, I knew nothing about that new horror movie The Meg. You got me curious and I just watched the trailer. The 95 foot Megalodon makes Jaws look like a minnow. I definitely want to see that movie and I'm betting that Bubba is also psyched. Can you imagine a Megalodon Sharknado movie? :)

      Thanks again for taking a look and a listen, dear friend Sherry!

  9. Hi Shady,

    You just gave me a playlist for a mix that I can make for the beach in two weeks! I love what I heard of the Frogmen and I have to see what else I can find. :) This is making me excited for a few days on the beach.

    Have a great evening, dear friend!

    1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

      The tide is high, surf's up, and I'm happy to see your smiling face here this evening. Thank you for joining me!

      Yessum, if you are planning a trip to the beach, these tunes would make great additions to your play list along with the more obvious choices by the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. Don't forget "Beach Baby" by The First Class.

      Thank you again for coming by to sample some surfing songs. I hope your week is off to a great start and continues to get even better. See you soon, dear friend JM!

    2. Hi Shady,

      I think this weekend I will sit down and create this mix. I have some other Doo-Wop songs that I think will work as well. Let me look to see what I have.

      Come Go With Me by the Del-Vikings and Walk Don't Run by the Ventures. I think having a throwback mix for the beach will be fun.

      Have a great Thankful Thursday, dear friend!

    3. Hi again, Jessica Marie!

      Thanks for returning to my beach party, dear friend! That Del-Vikings hit is a moldy oldie from the mid 50s. I'll bet you learned about that one from your father. The Ventures recorded some great instrumentals and so did Dick Dale & the Deltones, the Challengers, the Chantays, the Surfaris and other bands. They all could have been included in this post, but it already has 8 songs and I didn't want to make it any longer.

      Thanks again for dropping in, dear friend JM, and have a super weekend!

  10. Oh my gosh I'm still laughing at the Ghost Hop...loved it! I was a bit young for the early 60's stuff but by the mid 60's I was wishing to be a California beach bunny with blond locks and a bikini. However, Dad refused to move us to California, allow me to wear a bikini, and my Greek ancestors made me a brunette! These tunes brought back those days...but music has that magic power..thanks for some Summer beach fun today! Have a good week Shady dude!

    1. Hi, YaYa!

      Cowabunga - I am very happy to see you, dear friend! Thanks for coming all the way from landlocked Ohio to enjoy my surfing party.

      It seems the skeletal musicians in "The Ghost Hop" have everybody laughing. It's amazing how close... how very very close you came to being a blonde, bikini clad California beach bunny. Only three minor details stood in your way - moving to California, having blonde hair and being allowed to wear that style of bathing suit. :) Although surf rock instrumentals were not wildly popular in PA, as I recall, the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean certainly were, and I imagined myself living a perfect life as a West Coast surfer dude riding waves all day and sleeping on the beach at night. Update: I never got around to living that dream. :)

      Thanks again for joining the fun, dear friend YaYa. Smooch Arnie for me and enjoy the rest of your week!

  11. So fun
    I used to body surf when I was young and lived in Huntington Beach many many many years ago.
    I remember watching Sea Hunt also !

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Hi, Gayle!

      Thanks so much for coming over, dear friend. I am very happy to see you!

      Like you I loved to body surf. On vacations at the beach I spent hours each day riding the waves. I enjoyed the challenge of catching the right wave at the right moment to get the longest, most exciting ride to shore. I got planted in the sand quite a few times, but always jumped back up and raced out to try again.

      I am delighted to learn that you lived in Huntington Beach. Dean Torrence revealed that Huntington Beach was the city he and Jan had in mind when they wrote their hit song "Surf City." After a court battle with Santa Cruz, another California city claiming to be the real "Surf City," Huntington Beach was officially declared "Surf City, U.S.A."

      Thanks again for your kind visit and comment, dear friend Gayle!

    2. Huntington Beach has always been Surf City !

    3. Were Jan & Dean telling the truth about the city's demographics - "two girls for every boy"? :)

  12. Well, I love the Beach Boys but also knew that surf music was well under way by the time they got their hands on it. They were just following a trend but ended up so dominating it that everyone now thinks they invented it. That's certainly no knock against them, but it's good of you to remind us what else was out there surfwise.

    By the way, I think I told you I'm from Cleveland. In 1978, a local band called The Euclid Beach Band came out with a surf music single titled "There's No Surf in Cleveland." It was a local hit (at a time when there were still such things as local hits), and I just looked it up now and found out that according to the now-defunct music magazine Cash Box, the song charted at #103 nationally. I'm relaying that fact partly out of hometown pride and partly to remind everyone that surf music is not necessarily confined to the 1960s or the West Coast.

    1. Hi, Kirk!

      Wow, thanks for this jumbo comment, good buddy! I'm happy to see you and pleased that you contributed this info about a local oldie "There's No Surf In Cleveland." I just listened to the record on YouTube and it's downright groovy. It has a Beach Boys sound that reminds me of "New York's A Lonely Town" by the Trade Winds. "No Surf In Cleveland" is an anachronism. It sounds like it was recorded in 1964 rather than 1978. I noticed that one of Cleveland's finest, Eric Carmen, is credited with the remix. I also like the printing on the record label that advises: "Please remain seated until record comes to a complete stop!" Here's a link to the song for the benefit of other interested readers:

      I have the Joel Whitburn Top Pop Singes record research book and it indicates that the Euclid Beach Band reached the Hot 100 the following year (April 1979) with the single "I Need You" composed and produced by Eric Carmen, b/w "Hard To Say Goodbye" written by band member Peter Hewlett and produced by Carmen.

      Way to go, Kirk! This was very interesting. I learned a lot from your comment and found a great new surf classic to add to my play list. Thanks again for your visit and comment, good buddy!


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