Let's Play Some Beach Music!

By Adrian Cavlan

Let’s pretend for minute, shall we? Let’s pretend… that it’s not mid-August with our kids all heading back to school but that instead, somehow, we were all granted ANOTHER TWO MONTHS OF SUMMER FUN! Huh? Great, right?

Well, that’s not gonna happen, but, at least here in Santa Cruz, we will get probably two-and-a-half months more of the BEST summer weather of the year without the summer crowds, so… not too shabby!

Let’s talk summer music - *beach* music!

Tropical House:

We’re at an interesting time in a sense because a few years ago, thanks to Kygo, Tropical House became a thing, and while it was of questionable value on the dance floor, it was absolutely dynamite as a modern choice for poolside (or beach-side) lounging music.

Some big ones:

“Where Are U Now” by Justin Bieber, Diplo & Skrillex

“Sorry” by Justin Bieber & Skrillex

“It Ain’t Me” by Selena Gomez

“I Got U” by Duke Dumont

“Waves” by Mr. Probz


Then there’s the old standby of reggae music. Of course, originally from Jamaica, invented by people like Joe Higgs and popularized worldwide by Bob Marley and legions of others. Artists in the genre emerged from all over the globe, and it seems that you’ll find a local interpretation of the genre anywhere you go, whether it’s Jawaiian, Cali Reggae, or some of the genre’s true giants who have emerged from sunny, warm England!!

A few examples for you:

One Love by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Jamming by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Pressure Drop by Toots & The Maytals

Steppin’ Out - Steel Pulse

Baby I Love Your Way - Big Mountain

See Her Again - J Boog

Surf Music:

Born on the beaches of Orange County and Los Angeles at the end of the 1950’s and exploding onto the scene in the early 1960’s, the unique instrumental sounds of a legion of young bands came blowing across the U.S., leading to the formation of the Beach Boys and a whole surfing craze! Partially thanks to the genre’s revival via the soundtrack to the Quentin Tarantino film “Pulp Fiction”, his genre of music still flourishes today and you can find perhaps one (and most often only one...) surf band in almost any area of the world you go!

Here are some of the most foundational tracks, with a couple of modern surf treats:

Let’s Go Trippin’ - Dick Dale

Miserlou - Dick Dale

Mr. Moto - The Bel-Airs

Pipeline - The Chantays

Wipeout - The Surfaris

Rosarito 3-Day - Slacktone

Grands Rapides - Les Agamemnonz

Oldies & Shag:

Ahhh - the good times of yesteryear. Nothing like some nostalgia from more innocent times to make us feel good! In fact, in the beach communities of the Carolinas, this tradition is closely held and passed down from generation to generation in the form of what they have called Shag music!

Here are some fun ones for the beach:

Under The Boardwalk - The Drifters

Wouldn’t It Be Nice - Beach Boys

Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy - The Tams

In The Summertime - Mungo Jerry

Barefootin’ - Robert Parker

Sunny - Bobby Hebb

Stay - Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs

Heck, there are tons more types of music and songs we could write about, but this was supposed to be a short blog post!

But here’s one for you: bring a cheap guitar to the beach around sunset, make a bonfire, and a bunch of you just sit around the fire playing songs, laughing, having some wine or a beer and making memories. Maybe THAT is the best beach music of all : )

Adrian Cavlan