December 06, 2012

The Bel-Airs - Mr. Moto (1961)

One of the world’s first surf bands, this group was among Dick Dale & the Del-Tones and The Ventures to influence the popular surf genre of the early 1960s. Coming out of Southern California, they are primarily remembered for their biggest hit, heard below. The group’s original guitarist, Eddie Bertrand, would later go on to form Eddie & the Showmen in 1964, while their other guitarist Paul Johnson went on to join Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys in 1970. Eddie Bertrand passed away from cancer in November 2012.

The group’s most successful hit, this song was originally released in 1961, a full six months before Dick Dale & the Del-Tones released “Let’s Go Trippin',” the widely accepted “first” surf rock song, which had been being played live since 1960. So although this song may have been the first surf rock song released on a single, I don’t believe it was the actual “first surf song.” I can’t find very much information regarding the subject.

album art

The Bel-Airs - Mr. Moto (1961)

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