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The Ultimate Surf and Hot Rod Showdown

An oldies playlist for surf and hot rod music fiends



Playlist: Surf N' Turf

There's not much difference between classic surf and hot rod instrumentals, except that there are a lot more of the former and, often, the sounds of engines revving on the latter. Here's a mixtape of the big hits and classic tracks in both genres, one that'll get you through the summer even if you're not hangin' ten or shuttin' them down. (Click the song title to hear a sample clip and download the songs here at About.com.)


  1. The Ventures, "Walk Don't Run"
    The all-important bridge between reverb-drenched guitar gods like Link Wray and Duane Eddy and the surf craze about to envelop the country.
  2. The Bel-Airs, "Mr. Moto"
    The first regional surf hit, even if it contains more piano than surf fans are used to.
  3. Dick Dale, "Let's Go Trippin'"
    Set the standard for surf instrumentals, although Dale's signature style is still in development here.
  4. The Frogmen, "Underwater"
    Bends those guitar notes and utilizes those tribal drums to great effect.
  5. The Chantays, "Pipeline"
    The first national surf smash, appropriately dark, tremeloed, and shredded.
  6. The Revels, "Church Key"
    A real party favorite and a sax man's dream.
  7. The Tornadoes, "Bustin' Surfboards"
    Slower than many... but that fantastic guitar slapback and the foley make up for it.
  8. Dick Dale and His Del-Tones, "Misirlou"
    One of the more recognizable surf classics thanks to its inclusion in the movie Pulp Fiction. Surf at its most riotous.
  9. The Astronauts, "Baja"
    Features one of the wettest of the "wet" guitar reverb sounds.
  10. The Surfaris, "Wipe Out"
    That manic laugh (provided by the band's manager) makes this b-side throwaway an instant classic.
  11. The Centurions, "Bullwinkle, Pt. 2"
    Doomy and gloomy, almost backing into secret agent territory.
  12. The Lively Ones, "Surf Rider"
    Almost reflective, which is good if you're out there getting in touch with nature and not hotdogging.
  13. The Pyramids, "Penetration"
    Somehow manages to be propulsive and quiet at the same time.
  14. Jack Nitzsche, "The Lonely Surfer"
    A strange, orchestral take on the genre that remains a cult fave. Sounds just like its title.
  15. The Marketts, "Out Of Limits"
    They went on to hit with "Batman," but this take on the theme of the Sixties sci-fi series is appropriately spooky.
  16. The Atlantics, "Bombora"
    Sydney, Australia's surf scene popped up around the same time as California's, and that goes for the music, too!
  17. The Surfmen, "Paradise Cove"
    As ethereal as its title suggests, a quality not often found in surf.
  18. The Ready Men, "Disintegration"
    A real smoker from these Minneapolis (!) teens.
  19. The Sentinals, "Latin'ia"
    Surf should have been this exotic -- and this tropical -- more often.
  20. The Surfaris, "Burnin' Rubber"
    One of the many bands to have it both ways.
  21. The Darts, "Top Eliminator"
    Forests of wobbly guitar and a stop-and-start rhythm.
  22. The Deuce Coupes, "Dawn Patrol"
    A beautiful melody helps this one stand out from the pack.
  23. The Roadsters, "Mag Rims"
    Some amazing drum work and a real yakety sax.
  24. The De-Fenders, "Road Runner"
    Another of the big Del-Fi hot rod groups.
  25. Eddie and the Showmen, "Squad Car"
    A real barn-burner that captures the feel of having the cops tailing your rod.
  26. Davie Allen and the Arrows, "Blue's Theme"
    More of a biker song, but it's beloved by hotrodders regardless.
  27. The Ventures, "Hawaii Five-O"
    The last big surf hit has more to do with the TV show than any real revival, but what a dramatic way to go out!
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