On the surface, it doesn't appear that there's any difference between hot rod music and surf music, except that surf music enjoyed far more popularity in the heyday of both styles - the early to mid-Sixties. Surf music actually enjoys more popularity even today, although that has a lot to do with the fact that the Beach Boys gew out of the genre to become one of the most influential and enduring bands in American rock and roll history.
Still, there are slight differences, even though many surf and hot-rod bands shared the same audiences and played to the demands of both. Hot rod songs tended to be a little more manic, and - surprise - their subject matter was about tearing up the pavement rather than catching a wave. Fairly or not, all of hot rod culture was often tagged as the domain of flunkies, dropouts, and juvenile delinquents, whereas surfing (especially in the Sixties) was enjoyed by a more conservative and "wholesome" group. This as much as anything accounts for hot-rod music's descent into near-oblivion, but no genre of music ever really dies. Especially since a number of recent bands are helping to keep the torch lit for an entire new generation of enthusiasts.
- Gary Usher Talks About Hot Rod Music This is the forward from the excellent book "The Illustrated Discography of Hot Rod Music 1961-1965," and it may very well chronicle the very night hot rod music was born!
- Rhino: Hot Rods and Custom Classics These liner notes to one of Rhino's excellent comp CDs detail how the music and the hot-rod obsession dovetailed in the good old days.
- Radio Rumpus Room RealAudio Launch Pad This site for the popular hotrod/surf/rockabilly radio show has an archive of an entire hot-rod themed show. Listen to it now in streaming RealAudio!
- DragList.com: Drag, Hot Rod, and Surf Music! An excellent guide to hot rod music compilations, both recent CDs and revived classics!
- The History of Rock and Roll: The Hot Rod Groups Solid biographies of the top three hot-rod groups.
- Ronny and the Daytonas The official site for the first band to score a hot-rod hit ("Little GTO"). Wonderful design!
- The Rip Chords The second-most popular hot-rod hipsters ("Hey Little Cobra"). This is the official site.
- Davie Allen and the Arrows This instrumental group sort of split the difference between hot-rod music and biker rock, but is still beloved by hot-rod music enthusiasts.