Chantays – Pipeline

The Chantays, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dick Dale, Anthrax, and Lawrence Welk. We will tie all of these artists together by the end of the post. 

I thought I might as well continue the surf music theme that was started Thursday and ride the wave into the weekend. 

This is one cool classic instrumental. Pipeline was originally the B side and the A side was a song called Move It. As with a few other singles through history…the B side took off and the A side became a trivial question.

Dick Dale also recorded this song with no other than Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1987. They really rocked up Pipeline for the movie Back to the Beach. You want variety? This song was covered by Lawrence Welk and Anthrax (video below). I would be willing to bet not many songs would be in that rare club.

I always wondered what “pipeline” meant…being a Tennessee guy I would not know that first hand. The title “Pipeline” refers to a term in surfing slang, in which a wave closes over your head while you ride it horizontally, so it looks like you’re in a rolling pipe made of water. This maneuver is also sometimes called “shooting the tube.”

Some odd trivia about the Chantays…they were the only rock and roll band to perform on The Lawrence Welk Show (something tells me Anthrax would not have been invited if they would have been around then). The Chantays were also honored on April 12, 1996, by Hollywood’s Rock Walk ,that was founded to honor individuals and bands that have made lasting and important contributions to music.

The song peaked at #4 in Billboard 100, #11 on the R&B Charts, and #16 in the UK in 1963.

From Songfacts

This was surf-rock group The Chantay’s only charting Billboard Top-40 hit. However, it is considered today one of the staples of the surf-rock genre. It was actually the B-side of a single; the A-side, “Move It,” never charted.

The unique sound of this track is partly due to its composition, which is inverted from standard practice. The bass and rhythm guitars are at the fore, while the lead guitar, keyboard, and drums are in the background. Also it was recorded in stereo even though it was going to be released in mono as the typical 45-RPM single record of the day.

Perhaps you’ve noticed that surf-rock tends to have a lot of instrumental work? That’s because it started out as strictly an instrumental form, where speed and precision playing was highly valued. In a way, it fathered the speed metal genre. We have The Beach Boys to thank for bringing vocal harmonies to surf music.

Dick Dale, who earned the title “King of the Surf Guitar,” recorded a new version of “Pipeline” with Stevie Ray Vaughan for the 1987 movie Back To The Beach. The movie reunited Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello 24 years after they starred in one of the first beach movies, Beach Party, which featured Dick Dale’s music.

Dick Dale with SRV

Dick Dale – Miserlou

I thought I would continue with the surfing theme of the Beach Boys song yesterday.

Love the beginning to this song…the twangy guitar that Dale plays like a rubber band.  When I heard this song in the beginning of Pulp Fiction I knew I was going to enjoy the movie. Miserlou being used in the movie helped revive his career all over the world.

The song is a traditional Mediterranean song dating to the 1920s and originating in Greece.  Dick Dale then reworked and beat the song over the head to his surf rock tone and sound…and it works perfectly.

In March 2005, Q magazine placed Dale’s version at number 89 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

This song was released in 1962.

Dick Dale: “The sound is a Stratocaster guitar. It’s the solidity of the wood – the thicker the wood, the bigger and purer the sound. It was a Strat. Not the Jaguar, not the Jazzmaster, all these things we created later, for different reasons. Even the reverb – reverb had nothing to do with the surfing sound, and here they got ’em on the cover going ‘That’s the wet, splashy sound of reverb.’ No! We created the reverb because Dick Dale did not have a natural vibrato on his voice. I wanted to sustain my notes while singing. So we copied the Hammond organ, which had a tank in it. We took the tank out, rewired it, and had an outboard reverb! It was for the vocal. Our first album, Surfer’s Choice, sold over 88,000 albums – locally! That’s like more than 4 million today. Dick Dale was already established as King of the Surf Guitar, and that album did not have reverb on it. It wasn’t even invented!”

From Songfacts

Variations of the song have appeared in numerous movies, but when Dick Dale’s version was used to open the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, it revived both Dale’s career and the Surf Music genre. Dale earned his first appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman a few weeks after the movie came out, and became a popular live act once again. His success in the ’60s was limited to America, but this time he was welcomed in the UK, as well as Australia and Japan, where his sound caught on and he made tour appearances for the first time. Dale’s “Miserlou” was also used in the movies Space Jam and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

Dale included a traditional version of the song on his 1993 album Tribal Thunder as a hidden track (you can thank Nirvana for the hidden track craze of the early ’90s). Dale was showing his producer how the song was done originally, and they decided to include it with the set.

Dick Dale got his start in the late ’50s playing with his band The Del-Tones for surfers at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa, California. With authorities concerned about the mix of young people and guitars, one of the requirements at the Ballroom was that every male patron wear a tie, so the audience was often made up of barefooted guys in surfer garb wearing ties that were handed out at the door.

This was used on Friends when Ross, Chandler, and Joey squared off against Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe in a game of touch football in the 1996 Thanksgiving episode “The One With The Football.”