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Dick Dale, Destroyer of Amps

Dick Dale. Photo: John Severson
Surfers Stomp. Photo: Ron Church
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The Ventures

The post-Gidget surf boom had its own eponymous soundtrack: surf music. It came in two varieties. There was the heavy Dick Dale-invented instrumental form—songs you could drink and fight to. Surfers, most of them, loved it. Then there was the softer, brighter, Beach Boys-style vocal pop. Surfers, again, had strong feelings. “We hated that crap,” big-wave terror Greg Noll recalled. “These record company guys would come around to the surf shops handing out free Beach Boys records, and two secon...

Instrumental surf music may have been inspired by the beach, but really it was a product of the garage—here was a bottom-up rock movement the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again until the birth of punk.