08 October 2008

"surfin' bird" || the trashmen || 1964

Family Guy finally forced me to include this song in my blog. No complaints, though, because it was indeed a very important tune for rock n' roll music.

A glorious gem from the glorious era of surf rock, "Surfin' Bird" is just one of many examples of the genius thought put into pop music in the early 1960s. "Pop" was still a fairly new idea at the time, and I don't really believe that it was swallowed by other genres until the British Invasion happened in the mid-'60s. Really, before the boys from Liverpool came along to do their thing, pop music in the states was influenced by black jazz and r&b singers from the '40s. I once heard a record store clerk (who specializes in 45s from the 1950s) say that rock & roll was invented by black jazz musicians, and I agree with him.

Surf rock was a not-so-clear progression of that sound. I'm not just saying that because this song is the result of combining two '50s songs by The Rivingtons (a black r&b group from the '50s). Take a surf rock 45 and play it on the 33 rpm speed. You'll hear doo-wop music, the sound of which has a very clear correlation with early r&b music.

OK, enough of a music history / theory lesson.

Seriously, surf rock is really cool stuff. I also love that Family Guy's cultural influence extends as far as it does; as of this post, this tune is #9 on the Top Sellers in Rock on iTunes.