Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Oldies - King Of The Surf by The Trashmen

Here's a New Oldie to take your mind off the winter storms in the midwest and northeast.  This is another "flip side" by The Trashmen.  If you own a copy of Surfin' Bird on Garrett 4002 from November 1963, just flip it over and you'll find this little gem on the back side!  Alright you gremmies and ho-dads, grab your longboards and hit the beach. Surf's up!



I'm sure you're familiar with the top side of this platter. Even Peter Griffin went nuts singing this song on the Family Guy episode called I Dream Of Jesus. The song is essentially a medley of two different songs by an R&B group called The Rivingtons from Los Angeles, Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow and The Bird's The Word. I was only nine years old when "bird" became the "word" back in 1962, but I remember it very well! It created a serious buzz across the country, but was especially popular in Cleveland where it was used by a TV movie host named Ghoulardi (voice-over legend Ernie Anderson). What you may not know is that The Trashmen swear they'd never heard the Rivingtons version of The Bird Is The Word when they came up with the idea for Surfin' Bird. Instead, they heard a cover band called the Sorensen Brothers playing it. The Trashmen weren't even from the West Coast! They lived about as far as you can get from an Ocean, Minneapolis, Minnesota! The lineup included Tony Andreason (lead guitar, vocals), Dal Winslow (guitar, vocals), Steve Wahrer (drums, vocals), and Bob Reed (bass).

The Trashmen

The first pressings of Surfin' Bird list The Trashmen as composers, but this had to be corrected after treats of legal action by The Rivingtons! Minneapolis disc jockey, Bill Diehl, was at the concert where Surfin' Bird was born. He loved the song and convinced the guys to record it. It won a local Battle Of The Bands contest in Minneapolis, then won at another one in Chicago. Garrett Records picked up the song and quickly released it on a single. It was red hot, with over 30,000 sales in just the first few days! It hit the Billboard charts on December 7, 1963, stayed there for 13 weeks, and peaked at #4. It did exactly the same on the Cash Box charts. It went to #3 on WLS-AM's Silver Dollar Survey in Chicago, and #2 on 1050 CHUM in Toronto! The song even managed to reach #8 in February 1964 in Sydney Australia (where they also love surfing), and #25 in land-locked Germany in March 1964.

The Rivingtons

The Rivingtons didn't do as well with their versions. Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow peaked at #48 on Billboard in August 1962, and The Bird's The Word only made it up to #52 in March 1963. Between these two records, they took another run at the charts with a follow up tune called Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow (The Bird) which only went to #106 on Billboard's Bubbling Under chart in January 1963. The Rivingtons were Carl White (lead vocals), Al Frazier (tenor), Sonny Harris (baritone), and Turner "Rocky" Wilson, Jr. (bass). They sang together previously as The Sharps, and you can hear them in the background on some earlier hits, such as Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris. They even provided the rebel yells on Duane Eddy's 1958 hit, Rebel Rouser!

I guess I can't let this go without letting you hear the rest of these tunes...

Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow by The Rivingtons on Liberty 55427 from 1962:



Mama-Oom-Mow-Mow by The Rivingtons on Liberty 55528 from 1963:



The Bird's The Word by The Rivingtons on Liberty 55553 from 1963:



Surfin' Bird by The Trashmen on Garrett 4002 from 1963:



Now what's that word again?

But King Of The Surf is today's sample of New Oldies - The Greatest Hits You've Never Heard! This song is a musical dictionary of surfing terms. Here are the lyrics, I'll explain the terms below!

Well we're takin' my woodie and a-headin' on down,
Where the cool cool surfers all gather round.
Got a brand new board and I'm ready to fly,
I'll be shootin' the curl before the sun is high.
Show those hodads, gremmies, heroes too,
The kinda' high ridin' real surfers do.

Well I'm a high ridin' surfer and it takes three crunchers and a heavy to wipe me out;
I can do a double spinner before you count to three.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf that's me.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf that's me.

Well I'm a real hot-dogger so glad I'm alive;
When I'm ridin' the cruncher and a-hangin' five.
Listen to the roar of the shore break sound;
Keep on surfin' till the sun goes down.
Grab your honey and a'hold her tight,
We're gonna have a surfin' a-party tonight.

Well I'm a high ridin' surfer and it takes three crunchers and a heavy to wipe me out;
I can do a double spinner before you count to three.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf that's me.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf that's me.

Oop!

Surf City's callin' me and a-man oh man,
Gonna find a surf baby grab her by the hand.
Gonna build a fire, gonna build it right,
We're gonna dance on the beach, gonna dance all night;
Dance and sing the whole night away,
And be ridin' our surfboards well the very next day.

Well I'm a high ridin' surfer and it takes three crunchers and a heavy to wipe me out;
I can do a double spinner before you count to three.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf, that's me.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf, that's me.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf, that's me.
Whoa-oh, king of the surf, that's me.

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

A "Woodie" is not what you're thinking, guys. It's a station wagon with wooden panels on the side. Pontiac made some really cool ones in the 1940's. Great car for loading up surfboards and heading down to the ocean to catch some waves!



"Shootin' The Curl" is, well, surfing! It's riding on, in, or through that hollow curl of water that's formed when waves break near the shore.

A "Hodad" or a "Gremmie" is anyone who doesn't surf, but just hangs around the beach for some strange reason. You'll see me down at Tourmaline Surf Park wearing my Hodad T-shirt! If you're a little kid who is either not surfing, or just learning to surf, you're a "Gremlin" or a "Grommet!"

"Heroes" are just good guys, classy surfers.

"High-riding" is just riding as close to the top of a wave as you can. (Not me, you!)

A "Cruncher" is a tough wave to ride. It folds over and breaks really hard.

"Heavies" are really huge waves, usually 12 or more feet tall.

"Wipe Out" is falling off your board, or getting knocked off. Also called "Eating It!"

A "Spinner" is a 360 degree turn which is done by the surfer, not the board, and is only done correctly if you remain standing. A "Double-Spinner" is, of course, turning around twice. It is amazing to watch the professional surfers do this stuff!

"Hot-Dogging" is what those pro surfers are doing, all the fancy tricks!

Hey gang, Surf's Up! I'll see you at the beach! Last one in is a Goofy-Foot Dweeb! Cowabunga, Dude!

2 comments:

  1. Goofy Foot refers to those who surf with the left foot forward on the surfboard when they stand up to ride, not being a dweeb. Many great surfers surf 'goofy foot' as opposed to right footed. Just wanted to clear the air.

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    1. Absolutely correct! The weird thing is that I knew that. I guess I'm both a goofy foot and a dweeb.

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