wipe out

Wipe Out (song)

"Wipe Out" is a song written by Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson. The song was first performed and recorded by The Surfaris, who were elevated to international status with the release of the "Surfer Joe" and "Wipe Out" single.

The term 'wipeout' is a fall from a surfboard, especially one that looks painful.

Recording and single release

Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson wrote the song almost on the spot as a suitable B-side was needed for the intended "Surfer Joe" single. In late 1962, while the band was in Cucamonga's Pal Recording Studio recording the single, one of the band members suggested that a gimmick sound indicating a wipe out off a surfboard be emulated. The suggestion was made that during the introduction before the music starts, a cracking sound, imitating a breaking surfboard, should be made.

Also in the introduction is a manic voice babbling, "ha ha ha ha ha wipe out". The spoken voice at the beginning of the song is the voice of the band's manager of the time, Dale Smallen.

Ron Wilson's energetic drum solo (a speeded up version of his high school marching band's drum cadence) was beaten out on malt-shop tables all over the country which also helped "Wipe Out" to become one of the best-remembered instrumental songs of the period. The afterthought track spent four months on the national Billboard chart in the autumn of 1963, reaching #2 and kept out of the top slot only by Stevie Wonder's Fingertips. The smash hit returned to the Hot 100 in 1966, reaching #16 in its second national chart run. Meanwhile, original A-side "Surfer Joe" only attracted airplay in the wake of Wipe Out's success, and peaked at #62 during its six-week run.

Another Southern Californian surf group calling themselves the Surfaris had formed around the same time. They renamed themselves the Original Surfaris following the popularity of "Wipe Out".

Following the death of television personality Morton Downey, Jr., news reports and obituaries incorrectly credited him as the composer of "Wipe Out". As of 2007, Downey's official website continues to make this claim.

Cover versions

The song has been covered by several artists including the American rap group The Fat Boys in which the song was released on their 1987 album Crushin' making guest appearances with the pop group The Beach Boys on the track. A promo clip was also filmed for The Fat Boys version of the song. This cover version reached #12 in the US charts and #2 in the UK charts in 1987.

The Saints, an English band covered the song (produced by Joe Meek) in the mid-1960s

The 2006 Dancehall riddim Wipe Out is based on the Surfaris song. Several well known Jamaican musicians (Lady Saw, T.O.K., Elephant Man, Beenie Man and others) recorded vocals over this instrumental.

Gary Hoey covered this song on his Monster Surf album in 2005.

The Queers performed a cover of "Wipe Out" on the Acid Beaters split-cd with The Manges in 2003.

The Korean rhythm video game Pump It Up featured a track called "Mr. Larpus" that was based on this song.

The Ventures cover the song on their live album The Ventures on Stage in 1965.

The Toy Dolls too cover the song with an additional Video made in 1984.

Serbian doo wop band Vampiri recorded a cover version on their 1992 album Tacno u ponoc.

In November, 1998, Phish played a cover of the song and then from that point, jokingly, throughout the duration of the show, slipped back into the song in the middle or between other songs, and then encored with it. The show was released on Live Phish Vol. 6.


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