What Is Surf
Part VII: The Answer Is Behind Door Number 7


So, where is the line you can't cross? What is surf? The Answer is...

john blairSo, we've walked through all the classic & not-so-classic definitions, and identified examples of bona fide surf songs that don't fit. We've looked at classic surf songs and compared them to the standard definitions, and found some that would not be classified as surf today if it were not for their history.

dolly partonSo, where is the line you can't cross? What is surf? The answer is...it depends on where you stand. You'll find many classifications in my page  you may disagree with, both in and out of surf. It's not that you are right and I am wrong, or vice versa, it's that we have different perspectives. I classify based on my taste and sensibility, just like you do. I base a lot of that on my historical knowledge & perspective, but even with that, and it personally goes back to '61 with surf & '55 with rock, I get called on it from time to time by no less than the likes of ace surf-historians John Blair & Bob Dalley. John was disturbed that I don't consider "Let's Go Trippin'" to be a surf instro. I don't consider ANY vocal to have anything at all to do with surf, no matter what The subject of the lyrics, because I see surf as a strictly instrumental art form. Surf is surf, and pop is pop, and never the twain shall meet!

This series was not about teaching you my agenda. It was about raising questions in hopes of aiding both you & I in our quest for the reverb. If Dolly Parton  is surf to you 'cuz you see her obvious advantages of floatation while you're eating sand at Malibu, the for you she's surf. I'll defend you right to be wrong, 'cuz that's the American way!