Guest Author - Lizz Shepherd
By now, you may have heard. That's right- the bird is the word. If those words send the song Surfin' Bird through your brain in an unending loop, you aren't alone. The catchy 1963 song by The Trashmen surfaces every few years when it is used in movies or TV shows. Recently it surfaced again and as of the last week of April, 2009, it is currently in the UK top 40. It's also a current iTunes and YouTube hit.
The song was originally credited to The Trashmen who performed the famous single when it was released by Garrett Records. After legal threats were made, it was revealed that the song was actually a compilation of two R & B songs that were written by the The Rivingtons.
Surfin' Bird arrived on the scene at the right time- surf rock was becoming a staple of early 60s rock. The Trashmen formed in 1962, one year after the formation of the Beach Boys. The year that Surfin' Bird debuted was the same year that Jan and Dean released Surf City and the Beach Boys released Surfin' USA and Surfer Girl.
After the Trashmen's surprise hit, the Mineapolis band continued to record and tour. They never again had a hit like Surfin' Bird, but their 1964 song Bird Dance Beat reached #30 on the U.S. charts. The Trashmen broke up in 1967 but came together again in the 80's. Drummer Steve Wahrer died in 1989, but The Trashmen continue to tour. Wahrer's brother now stands in as the group's drummer.
The Trashmen will play in their home state of Minnesota in May before embarking on a European tour this summer.