“Surfin’ USA” Is No. 1

The Beach Boys, who over the course of one song named every surf spot in California. Photo: Getty Images
For the past month, Yahoo! ran a “Greatest Summer Song of All Time” voting battle, and the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA” somehow came out on top. Everybody’s favorite non-surfing surf rock band narrowly edged-out the legions of parrotheads who voted for Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” This is of course, a complete travesty. Everyone knows that Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride” is the best summer song ever, followed closely by Fogerty’s “Centerfield.”
Anyway, Yahoo! says that “tens of thousands” of people voted for the song that “sounds the best when barbecuing on the deck, sunbathing by the pool or surfing in the deep blue sea.” These people also voted for a song that pointed out all kinds of surf spots in California and Hawaii, blowing up secrets everywhere. Not cool, Beach Boys. Trestles, County Line, Pacific Palisades, Haggerty’s. Spot after spot called out by name. May as well have included directions, Mr. Wilson.
I suppose surfers could be proud of this little surf culture victory. That when people all over the world daydream of warm, carefree summers, they picture surfing, or at least, what pop culture thought of surfing in the 1960s. They think of bushy bushy blonde hairdos. Huarache sandals. Waxing up surfboards, going on a surfari.
When I think of summer, I think of throngs of people on softtops, boards facing the wrong way on roof racks, no parking, and no swell. And listening to “Let Me Ride,” of course. The real “Greatest Summer Song of All Time.”

Yahoo’s summer song competition breakdown is here.

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