Bands/Musicians The Best Surf Bands of All Time  

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1.4k votes 365 voters 50.8k views 64 items

During the early years of rock music, surf bands provided the soundtrack to people's perception of what California was like through bright driving riffs. The best surf bands, at their peak, topped the charts and their catchy tunes remain popular today. The sound remains highly influential on genres like punk, rock and even rockabilly. Surfer music may have seemed light and fun when it came out, but the surf bands' influence can't be understated.

So, what are the best surf bands? Any list of surf bands has to include the likes of the Beach Boys, Dick Dale, Jan and Dean, Waaves and even Brian Wilson's solo material. Many people associate surf music with the Beach Boys and with good reason. Not only were they among the most popular rock bands, they brought quick-hitting, fun-loving surf music to the charts that spawned a huge number of top hits. As for the other surf bands, Dick Dale's influence on experimental rock and instrumental rock is still heard in music today. 

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best surf bands. If you notice that a band is missing, feel free to add them. Vote thumbs up for a band you think should be at the top of this poll, and vice versa if you don't think they should achieve a lofty status. This list answers the questions "who are the best surf music bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest surf music musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular surf music bands that you might've heard of. (64 items)
list ordered by

1
91 30
Dick Dale is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Instrumental rock, Heavy metal, Pop rock

2
95 36
The Beach Boys is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Psychedelic pop

3
57 14
The Surfaris is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Surf music

4
35 5
The Ventures is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
darin-green added Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

5
34 11
The Bel-Airs is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Surf rock, Surf music

6
44 19
Jan and Dean is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Sunshine pop, Rock music, Folk rock

7
29 10
The Astronauts is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rock and roll

8
38 18
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

9
7 0
The Torquays is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
GregerNordstrom added

10
29 13
The Mermen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Surf music

11
17 3
The Telestons is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Lino Herakles Tesco added

12
18 5
Agent Orange is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
sjw674 added Skate punk, Surf rock, Punk rock

13
20 7
The Atlantics is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Garage rock, Instrumental rock

14
17 5
The Sandals is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Surf music

15
14 4
Eddie & the Showmen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music

16
16 6
The Tornados is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Instrumental rock

17
15 6
The Centurions is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time

18
15 6
Ronny & The Daytonas is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Rock and roll, Surf rock

19
18 9
The Growlers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Garage rock, Psychedelic rock

20
23 14
The Bambi Molesters is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Instrumental rock, Surf music

21
21 13
Surf Punks is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop punk, Rock music, Surf rock

22
8 1
The Chantays is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
GregerNordstrom added

23
13 6
The Livelyones is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
RobGriffith added

Lead guitar: Jim MasonerRhythm guitar: Ed ChiaveriniBass guitar: Ron GriffithSaxophone: Joel WillenbringDrums: Tim Fitzpatrick

The greatest surf band off alltime.

24
13 6
The Rip-Chords is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time

25
14 7
Original Surfaris is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Surf rock, Surf music

26
10 4
The Livelyones is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
RobGriffith added

27
14 8
The Surf Coasters is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Surf rock, Psychedelic rock, Surf music

28
15 9
The Surf Trio is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Surf rock, Surf music

29
16 10
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Plane... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Instrumental rock, Surf rock

30
13 8
The Honeys is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop music, Rock and roll, Surf music

31
5 0
The Aqua Velvets is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
GregerNordstrom added

32
7 2
FIDLAR is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time

33
14 9
Wavves is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop punk, Noise rock, Garage rock

34
9 4
Davie Allan and the Arrows is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
RobertJamesMcArthur added

35
9 4
The Raybeats is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Surf rock, Surf music

36
10 5
The Hondells is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music

37
11 7
The Blue Hawaiians is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Surf music

38
10 6
The Phantom Surfers is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Surf rock, Surf music

39
10 6
Red Elvises is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Lounge music, Ska, Rock music

40
11 8
Jack Johnson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
gamedemon24 added Indie pop, Tropical rock, Pop music

41
11 8
Best Coast is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Indie pop, Garage rock, Indie rock

42
6 3
Al Casey is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time

43
10 8
The 5.6.7.8's is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music, Rockabilly, Garage punk

44
9 7
The Barracudas is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Jangle pop, Pop punk, Garage rock

45
7 6
Surfer Blood is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Pop punk, Shoegazing, Alternative rock

46
5 4
The Rebels is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time

47
2 1
Cafe Del Mar is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
GregerNordstrom added

48
2 1
The Moon-Rays is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
ScottMensching added The Moon-Rays mixture of 60's surf, exotica,and Mancini-esq jazz got their first album the JPF Indie award for best surf album, and since recorded four other albums for the SVI label as well as being featured in four feature films including the title track for Paul Bunnell's The ghastly Love of Johnny X

49
2 2
Royale Monarchs is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time
Rock music

50
5 6
Surf City is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Surf Bands of All Time