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Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Song "Wipe-Out" by the Surfaris

As Baby Houseman practices to dance at the Sheldrake Hotel with Johnny Castle, she fears that she will ruin the dance and be embarrassed before a large audience. Her practicing is full of anxiety.

The song is "Wipe-Out", performed by the Surfaris in a record released in January 1963. During that year, the song reached Number 2 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Wikipedia article about the song includes these passages:
"Wipe Out" is an instrumental composed by Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, and Ron Wilson. It is a twelve-bar blues first performed and recorded by the Surfaris, who were elevated to international status with the release of the "Surfer Joe" and "Wipe Out" single in 1963. ....

The term "wipe out" refers to a fall from a surfboard, especially one that looks painful.

Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson wrote the tune almost on the spot, as a suitable B-side was needed for the intended "Surfer Joe" single. In late 1962, while the band was in Cucamonga's Pal Recording Studio recording the single, one of the band members suggested that during the introduction before the music starts, a cracking sound, imitating a breaking surfboard, should be made. This followed by a manic voice babbling, "ha ha ha ha ha, wipe out." The spoken voice at the beginning of the song is the voice of the band's manager at the time, Dale Smallin.

The afterthought track spent four months on the national Billboard chart in the autumn of 1963, reaching #2 and kept out of the top slot only by Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips". ...
The Wikipedia article about The Surfaris includes these passages:
The Surfaris were an American surf rock band formed in Glendora, California in 1962. They are best known for two songs that hit the charts in the Los Angeles area, and nationally by May 1963: "Surfer Joe" and "Wipe Out", which were the A-side and B-side of the same 45 rpm single.

The original band members were Ron Wilson (drums, vocals), Jim Fuller (lead guitar), Bob Berryhill (rhythm guitar) and Pat Connolly (bass).

In the fall of 1962, Southern California high school students Jim Fuller and Pat Connolly called friend and guitarist Berryhill for a practice session at Berryhill's house. The trio practiced for about 4 hours and met drummer Wilson at a high school dance later that evening, whereupon the band was born. "Wipe Out" was written and recorded by the quartet later that winter, with the song reaching #2 nationally in 1963 before becoming an international hit. ...

The band released a series of records, with two other singles, "Surfer Joe" (written and sung by Wilson) and "Point Panic" (another group-composed instrumental), having an impact on the charts. Point Panic is a renowned surfing venue in Hawaii after which the song was named.

The original 1963 membership remained intact until August 1965 when Connolly departed before their Japanese tour. Ken Forssi replaced him on bass for the tour. Fuller resigned after the tour and the band folded in early 1966.
Four of the top 30 songs of 1963 were about surfing:
#2 Surfing USA by the Beachboys,

#20 Wipe-Out by the Surfaris

#27 Pipeline by the Chantays

#28 Surf City by Jan and Dean
Below is a video of the Surfaris performing "Wipe-Out".

I could not find a video of the Surfaris performing the song in the 1960s. However, below is a video of the Surfaris on a 1965 television show, performing another song, "Hot Rod High". At that time there was a connection between surfing and hot-rod cars in the minds of American teenagers.

From 1963 to 1968, there was a popular movie genre about beach parties. The first movie in the genre is considered to be Beach Party, which was released on August 7, 1963 -- three days before the Houseman family traveled to the Kellerman resort hotel.

Below is a compilation of dance scenes from various beach-party movies, accompanied by the song "Wipe-Out".

Below is a video showing surfing wipe-outs.

Baby was afraid that her dance at the Sheldrake Hotel would be such a horrendous wipe-out.

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