Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Waves of Surf and Electric Folk


As Dylan spearheaded the folk movement of the sixties, the Beach Boys were emerging with surf music. Even though their guitar riffs were somewhat of a fifties rock and roll revival, their lyrics opened the door to new subject matter in popular music. The songs were still about the high school experience, but they were different because of the setting. They took us to the ocean. There's something about the ocean that is overwhelmingly inspiring to the human mind - perhaps because it is a symbolic mirror of life, not to mention the origin of all life on this planet.

The Beach Boys were not really reaching for a deep focus, as most of their songs had a dance party flavor. Their impact had more to do with painting a musical picture of Southern California. It was because of them along with Jan & Dean and The Ventures that people still associate surf music with the sixties. Surf music was more of a transitional trend between early rock and experimental music. The liberation of drums as a foreground solo instrument in rock surfaced with "Wipe Out" by The Surfaris in 1963. Heavy sound effects came out in "Walk, Don't Run 1964" by The Ventures. Jan & Dean became one of the most haunting stories in pop history as their song "Deadman's Curve" foretold an actual accident that ended the duo's career.

Continue to "The Beatles and the British Invasion"