There is a tendency to think of surf music as something from the early 1960s, when Dick Dale and the Beach Boys turned it into a national craze. But this compilation, keyed to the 40th anniversary of the founding of Surfer Magazine and tied into a concurrently published book of the periodical's articles and photographs of the same name edited by Sam George, necessarily attempts to expand that assumption to include rhythmic, mostly guitar-based music made from then to the start of the new millennium. In some cases, casual listeners may wonder at the inclusions, but the compilers are at pains to point out the surf connection, usually that the recording was featured in a surfing movie. Thus, Pablo Cruise's "0 to 60 in Five," the Moody Blues' "Ride My See Saw," the Chambers Brothers' "Love, Peace and Happiness," the Steve Miller Band's "Wild Mountain Honey," and Robin Trower's "Day of the Eagle" are all recruited as surf anthems because they were used in the obscure films Sunshine Sea, Cosmic Children, Tubular Swells, and Fluid Drive. Those who had a more landlocked definition of the term new wave may be surprised to find music by the B-52's and Devo included, but the former, "Rock Lobster," certainly has an aquatic theme, while the Ohio spudboys actually began life as a surf band called the Wipeouters. Finally, there are a group of classic surf performances from the '60s -- Dick Dale's "Misirlou," the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA," Jan & Dean's "Ride the Wild Surf," the Ventures' "Hawaii Five-O," the Sandals' "Theme From 'Endless Summer,'" etc. -- along with some new surf punk recordings. It all makes for a varied collection that works on its own terms and would be a good soundtrack for any surfing documentary.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann