Surfing Music Bands
Surfing goes far beyond paddling out. Whether you're in the water, kicking back eating a carne asada burrito at your favorite local spot, or cruising down the coast in your VW bus, having the right surf music to accompany you throughout life is key.
Come with us as we explore some of the best surf music of all time.
The Best Surf Music Bands
From Fender guitars to electric keyboards to sweet pop vocal harmonies, here are some of the artists that crafted our favorite surf anthems.
The Beach Boys
You have to give credit where credit is due. Without Californian surfers, we wouldn't have the surf genre. These surfers also inspired the first generation of surf-style rock and roll, which came from The Beach Boys.
There is no doubt that The Beach Boys is one of the greatest surf bands of all time. You could almost give The Beach Boys credit for popularizing surf culture in the early 60s.
Not only did The Beach Boys have a hand in bringing surf culture to the masses, but they also inspired surf rock groups for many years to come.
There's nothing quite like throwing on the band's most famous song, "Surfin' U.S.A," and hearing the Beach Boys pay homage to some of the best surf spots in the nation. But, of course, we also recommend checking out "Pet Sounds," one of the band's most iconic collections of surf tunes.
FUN FACT: Drummer Dennis Wilson was the only surfer in the group.
Jan and Dean
Jan and Dean is another California Surf group that started up in the 50s.
Along with a few others, this rock duo pioneered the sound of surf music.
In addition, they were one of the few groups at the time known for their unique blend of vocal harmonies and guitar-based music.
One of the band's most well-known songs was "Surf City," released back in 1963.
Dick Dale & his Del-Tones
Dick Dale is another major player in the world of surf music.
He and his Del-Tones became a significant success in the early 60s, defining the sound of surf rock.
"Miserlou" is arguably one of his most famous songs, which sprang to worldwide popularity after making the soundtrack for "Pulp Fiction."
To this day, many people still refer to Dick Dale as the "King of Guitar."
The Ventures is another staple of surf culture.
The band started in 1958 and maintained success throughout the 60s.
"Wipe Out" and "Walk Don't Run" are two of the band's most well-known songs.
James Bond fans will recognize "Wipe Out" as the theme for the 007 soundtracks.
Listen to a few songs from The Ventures, and you'll instantly hear how they influenced other bands in the surf music realm for generations to come.
While Jack Johnson isn't part of the original surf music clan, this folk-rock surfer and songwriter makes some of the most beach-friendly music in the modern industry.
Jack Johnson sprung to success with the release of Brushfire Fairytales back in 2001.
His mellow style is excellent for a surfing road trip!
With a name like Surfaris, it's petty clear that this band was all about surf culture and music.
The band rose to fame back in 1962 with a few surf songs, including "Wipe Out" and "Surfer Joe."
Throughout the decade, the Surfaris could be heard as just about any beach throughout California.
Sublime is a staple of modern surf music.
This group of rockers hailed from Long Beach, California, mixing the sounds of reggae, hip-hop, and punk.
In a way, the band redefined the surf genre. Though Bradley Nowell, the vocalist for Sublime, died in 1996, the band's songs continue to thrive today.
Songs like "Badfish" and "Santeria" are excellent for relaxing after a good day of surfing.
Of course, there are so many great surf bands out there that'd we'd have to write a book to capture them all. If our top choices weren't enough to tickle your surfer fancy, here are some other great surf bands and artists to check out:
To learn more about the history of surf tunes, check out the "Sound of the Surf," an electric documentary about the sounds that influenced the culture throughout the 50s and 60s.