Probably the only surf-rock song nearly everyone recognizes is "Wipe Out!" (if you really need a reminder, click here). And the version with which people are familiar is that done in 1963 by the Surfaris, a California quartet still making bank on the nostalgia circuit today. By all accounts, pretty much, the band's four original members wrote the song in the studio, creating its memorable pseudo-creepy introduction and awesome drum solo.
This is all to the chagrin of Merrell Fankhauser, a sort of folk-psych-rock cult figure who, in a more clean-cut incarnation in the early Sixties, fronted the band the Impacts. What did they play? Surf-rock. And what does he claim they originally wrote? Why, "Wipe Out!," of course.
Supposedly, the Surfaris stole the song and arrangement.... But who really knows; in the annals of pop-culture history, they clearly won the battle.
Still, the Impacts did release a full-length, instrumental album called, errr, Wipe Out!, on the Del-Fi label in 1963. One of the short, snappy tracks was called, surprisingly, "Ft. Lauderdale." South Florida has never exactly been known for its killer waves, but in the early Sixties, Ft. Lauderdale did enjoy a sort of beach-blanket-bingo-type rep, sparked off by the 1960 romp Where the Boys Are. So here it is, The Impacts' "Ft. Lauderdale": the "Wipe Out!" that never was ... or something.
-- Arielle Castillo