Dick Dale, Destroyer of Amps

Instrumental surf music may have been inspired by the beach, but really it was a product of the garage—here was a bottom-up rock movement the likes of which wouldn't be seen again until the birth of punk.

The post-Gidget surf boom had its own eponymous soundtrack: surf music. It came in two varieties. There was the heavy Dick Dale-invented instrumental form—songs you could drink and fight to. Surfers, most of them, loved it. Then there was the softer, brighter, Beach Boys-style vocal pop. Surfers, again, had strong feelings. “We hated that crap,” big-wave terror Greg Noll recalled. “These record co...

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