Song Stories

“Wipe Out”

The Surfaris | 1963

An instantly memorable guitar riff that rose and fell like ocean waves, as well as a dynamic drum solo punctuated by urgent chords, made "Wipe Out" a massive surf instrumental hit. Losing control of his right drumstick, Ron Wilson resorted to hitting the crash cymbal with his bare hand as the track ended. As for the sound effects and signature cackle at the song's beginning, rhythm guitarist Bob Berryhill said, "I went out and got a cement-soaked board from somewhere outside and just cracked it over the mike and Dale Smallin, who was our original manager, let out a laugh."

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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