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10 Best Surf Songs

Dude! These surf songs will make you want to grab your surf board and hit the waves ASAP. We're not talking about classic harmonic tunes by the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean, but instrumentals by the Surfaris and the other nine bands listed, who are credited with producing the surf tone -- the surf-rock guitar riffs and distinctive drum rolls -- that have sustained a place in music for over the last 40 years. So much, that some of these songs have even made it on the classic flicks 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Dirty Dancing.'
Based out of Long Beach, Calif., the band's surf hit 'Penetration' garnered them a cameo in indie film production company American International Pictures' 'Bikini Beach,' where they sported Beatle mops, later removing them to reveal their shaved heads. Sadly, the group's manager, John Hodge, made some poor investments, and the band fell apart shortly after recording their first album.
Pyramids Penetration
The Boulder, Colo.-based band released 'Baja' in 1963. They were one of the few bands that were not anywhere near a beach! (Minnesota's The Trashmen could identify). 'Baja' was their only hit to gain national attention.
Astronauts Baja
'Hawaii Five-O'
'Hawaii Five-O' dominated the charts for 14 straight weeks and made it to No. 4; but this surf song is most known as the popular theme song in the T.V. series 'Hawaii Five-O,' which ran for 12 seasons.
The Ventures Hawaii Five-O
'Save the Waves'
This surf song certainly hit a few waves in the music scene. The Canadian band's instrumental sound helped revive the classic surf rock of the '60s, but with an edge, alongside artist Dick Dale and others. Featured on the album 'Raincoast Rumble,' the song's chorus features twangy guitars by Rich Hagensen and jazzy saxophones.
The Surfdusters Save the Waves
Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann won the international spotlight with this surf song, 'Apache.' The instrumental recording was a favorite in the States, as well as the UK.
Jorgen Ingmann Apache
'Surf Rider'
This surf band frequently played in California and Arizona. 'Surf Rider' was a hit in 1963, but was later revived after it's inclusion in the movie, 'Pulp Fiction.' The song was written by our No. 2 song's band member, Nokie Edwards from quartet group The Ventures.
The Lively Ones Surf Rider
Dick Dale & His Del-Tones
'Misirlou' was also used in 'Pulp Fiction.' Dale's music generally features non-Western tunes, influenced by his uncle who played a fair share of belly dancing music. Michael Jackson might be the King of Pop, but Dick Dale is considered the King of the surf guitar genre(marked by his Fender amplifiers).
Dick Dale & His Del-Tones Misirlou
'Wipe Out'
Written by Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson, 'Wipe Out' is probably the most well-known instrumental surf rock tune. Released in 1962, the surf song was later featured in 'Dirty Dancing' and the animated flick 'Surf's Up.'
The Surfaris Wipe Out
'Walk, Don't Run '64'
'Walk, Don't Run '64' is an updated version of the Ventures 1960 original tune, but with a 'Misirlou'-sounding guitar riff. The original reached No. 2 on the charts in 1960, before the surf rock genre was officially defined. It was the band's first hit and marked the path for other guitarists to use only instrumentals in surf rock. The 1964 version made it on the charts as well, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard 100.
The Ventures Walk, Don't Run '64
Our No. 1 best surf song -- by a group of five brothers -- was first called 'Liberty's Whip.' We like the new name much better, used to describe the perfect position a surfer should be when riding a wave. Dominant bass and rhythm guitar, as well as suppressed lead guitar and drums in this song define surf rock.
The Chantays Pipeline

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