Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Surfer Dan”: Vintage Surf’s Last Gasp?

Zero to 180 has been working tirelessly to determine who recorded the final surf song of the original era and when.  Two previous posts (A and B) featured a pair of surf tunes from 1967 that seemed to spell the end of surf’s first wave.   But then I was recently startled to recall a 45 by The Turtles I had acquired a couple years ago – “Surfer Dan,” B-side of “Eleanor” from their under-celebrated concept album, The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands:

Surfer Dan

The Turtles (1968)

This is undoubtedly the first surf song whose lyrics include the word “Maharishi.”


Movin’ so fast you can’t see him go by
Everybody’s talkin’ ’bout Surfer Dan
Doheny to Nirvana in a Chevy sedan
Movin’ so fast you can’t see him go by
He’s a gremmie maharishi in his baggies and beads
Super stock surfer jock down to his nees
He’s so ripped he can’t see you go by
Surfer Dan someone that everyone knows
(He’s so cool you know his cool is cool)
Twenty-seven girls follow wherever he goes – whoa whoa
Well, everybody’s lookin’ for Surfer Dan
Skinny Minnie, mom and dad and Uncle Sam
He’s so cool they can’t see him go by

Surfer Dan 45 picture sleeve

LP Musician & Production Credits

Howard Kaylan – Vocals
Mark Volman – Vocals & Effects
Jim Pons – Bass Guitar & Vocals
Johnny Barbata – Percussion & Vocals
Al Nichol – Guitar & Keyboard & Vocals
Engineer – Jim Hilton
Arranged By – Chip Douglas & The Turtles
Producer – Chip Douglas


“Surfer Dan” – forever a B-side

EP – Israel

Is it possible that, in “Surfer Dan,” The Turtles have to come to bury surf music, not praise it?


LINK to Surf on Zero to 180

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