Various Artists

Surfin' USA [AMC]

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The story of "Surfin' USA" is a long and confusing one, rife with copyright infringements and lawsuits. Written by Chuck Berry as "Sweet Little Sixteen" in 1958, the melody and chord changes were hijacked by Brian Wilson five years later to create the Beach Boys' big hit. Berry and his then publisher, Arc Music, sued and won, with Chuck getting full writer's credit restored to a tune he ostensibly didn't write -- well, sort of. This 19-track sampler sports three distinct versions of the title track, one each from the Beach Boys, Henry Kaiser (in his incarnation as French, Frith, Kaiser and Thompson) and a typically odd (and very odd to this package) version from the Jesus and Mary Chain. The rest of the disc features Arc publishing catalog holdings from early-'60s surf groups the Chantays ("Pipeline," "Continental Missile," "Monsson," "Blunderbus," "El Conquistador," "Tragic Wind," "Move It," "Banzai," "Beyond" and "Retaliation") and the Rumblers ("Boss," "Boss Drums," "It's a Gas" and "Rumbler's Wild Weekend"), with a stray Dale Hawkins instrumental ("Crossties") rounding out the package.

blue highlight denotes track pick