The Songs of Summer #52: ‘Pipeline’ by The Chantays
There are so many surf tunes I want to include on my Songs of Summer list, but I’m running out of days! I’m thinking I may have to make this an annual thing…Not for any screaming demand, I’m obviously doing this mostly for my own amusement. But there’s so many great summer songs.
As far as the surf songs go, I’m going with a tried and true classic here, because it would be a crime to not include such an iconic tune. ‘Pipeline‘ is as close to a standard in the surf genre as you can get, and there’s no better version than this one, the original. Recorded way back in December 1962, the song’s distinctive and ghostly keyboard and guitar sounds made it a hit in the summer of ’63, where it reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The song’s been covered a million times, but none have captured the unique sound of the Chantays’ original version.
The Chantays were a group of high school buddies from Orange County, California that formed in 1961. ‘Pipeline‘ was their biggest hit. OK, it was their only hit. But with a song as gnarly as ‘Pipeline,’ sometimes one hit is all you need to achieve immortality.
FUN FACT: ‘Pipeline‘ was originally called ‘Liberty’s Whip.’ Good call on the name change, whoever made it. The group got the idea for the song after seeing the Banzai Pipeline in a surf film (Surfing Hollow Days.) The Banzai Pipeline is a surf reef break on Oahu’s North Shore. The Banzai Pipeline is famous (infamous?) for the massive waves that break over a shallow, sharp reef, creating huge tubes (or pipes) that surfers can tube ride. If you’ve seen a picture of a surfer shooting through a massive wave tube, like the two photos on this post, it was probably the Banzai Pipeline you’re looking at.