Instrumentals of the Sixties “The Lost Music” 1963 – 1969

By Gary:
This project has been unbelievably time consuming, the research has been very difficult.  So with that in mind I have split the 60’s into two segments and I hope that it will be sufficient.  The dates, groups (a lot of studio groups), personnel and release dates, seem to be very inconsistent.
The best surfing instrumental of all time (for me) would be released this year.  The song would reach #2 and would be a two sided hit, “Wipe Out” and “Surfer Joe”.  The Surfaris were a group from Glendora California and they would record their historic recording this way…

Wipe Out

Wilson’s energetic drum solo made “Wipe Out” one of the best-remembered instrumental songs of the period. “Wipe Out” is also remembered particularly for its introduction. Before the music starts, Berryhill’s dad broke a board (imitating a breaking surf board) near the mic, followed by a maniacal laugh and the words “Wipe Out” spoken by band manager Dale Smallin. “Wipe Out” was written in the studio by the four original members (Berryhill, Connolly, Fuller, & Wilson). It was initially issued on the tiny DFS label (#11/12) in January, 1963. It was reissued on the tiny Princess label (#50) in February, 1963. It was picked up by Dot (45-16479) in April, 1963, and later reissued as Dot 45-144 in April, 1965. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.


The Surfaris

The Surfaris Live (not really) Wipe Out /


This video for me is the best live version by The Ventures / Wipe Out /


1963 / Wipe Out and Surfer Joe / The Surfaris / #2 BB

The Rebels and Wild Weekend would reappear with Wild Weekend and peak at #8.


The Rebels

1963 / Wild Weekend / The Rebels / #8 BB


The California Groups kept coming, this one from Orange County known as the “Chantays”  They would have a #4 hit in 1963.


The Chantays

Live on the Lawrence Welk Show / Pipeline / The Chantays /


1963/ Pipeline / The Chantays / # 4 BB


We would meet a great guitarist from Indiana, who was the promoter of Gibson Flying V guitar, Lonnie Mack.  He would have two songs on the charts in 1963.


Lonnie Mack

1986 / Live with Stevie Ray Vaughn /


1963/ Memphis / Lonnie Mack / #4 BB


1963 / Wham / Lonnie Mack / #24 BB


Michael Z Gordon would be back with the studio men and record their biggest hit, using the name “The Marketts”, but it was not without controversy.

The Marketts’ line-up featured Michael Z. Gordon and various session musicians from the Los Angeles area, including drummer Hal Blaine. The group name was originally spelled “Mar-Kets”. The group’s direction was spearheaded by producer Joe Saraceno and Michael Z. Gordon, although Saraceno could not arrange or play on any of the group’s material. Gordon’s songs which were composed for the Marketts are best remembered for their surf rock sound, though not all of their material has this sound; Gordon took the group’s style in whatever direction he thought would catch the record-buying public’s ear. In the U.S., the group had three Top 40 hits and had two popular albums, many of the songs composed by Gordon.

The Marketts’ surfer sound started with “Surfer’s Stomp”, which was by written by and produced by Gordon and Saraceno. Gordon also wrote their biggest hit, “Out of Limits“, which was originally entitled “Outer Limits”, named after the television program of the same name. Rod Serling sued the Marketts for quoting the four-note motif from his television show, The Twilight Zone, without his approval, which resulted in the change of the title to “Out of Limits”. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1964. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The band name was used as late as 1977 for further releases, though their last hit came in 1966.


1963 / Out Of Limits / The Marketts / #3 BB


Boots Randolph, the Sax man from Nashville, would cross over in 63, with a # 35 hit, Yakety Sax, that would eventually become Benny Hills Theme Song.


Boots Randolph

Yakety Sax Live /


1963 / Yakety Sax / Boots Randolph / #35 BB



The Ventures would return with their original hit but redone, Walk, Don’t Run 64


Live in Japan /




1964 Walk Don’t Run 64 / The Ventures / #8 BB


St. Louis would produce Alvin Cash and the Crawlers (really the Registers) with a number 14 hit.  They were really dancers and the instrumental hit was really and accident.


Alvin Cash

Live (only dancing) /


1964/ Twine Time / Alvin Cash and the Crawlers / #14 BB



One of the Great songs would rear it’s head again this year, Cast Your Fate to the Wind.  It would reach # 10 by the Sounds Orchestral, but it is explained  much better in this blog post.

The Ramsey Lewis Trio would have two top 40 instrumentals this year, all jazz renditions of Pop Songs, The In Crowd and Hang on Sloopy.


The Ramsey Lewis Trio

1990 / Wade In The Water / live /

This is “Wade in the Water”, not “the in Crowd.” He throws a little Third Man theme, Carmen, etc.


1965/ The In Crowd / The Ramsey Lewis Trio / #5 BB


1965 / Hang on Sloopy / The Ramsey Lewis Trio / #11 BB


But this is my favourite Ramsey Lewis Song / Hi Heel Sneakers /


The last instrumental hit for the year would be the Alka-Seltzer Commercial, done by the T-Bones, called No Matter What Shape (your Stomach is in) and it would reach # 3.  Really the T-Bones were just the session guys called The Wrecking Crew.


1965/ No Matter What Shape / The T-Bones (Wrecking Crew) / #3 BB



The Instrumentals were finally running out of steam, the Glory days were behind them.  This year would have a resurgence of  Wipe Out which would reach # 16 again.  But a great instrumental would appear by Slim Harpo, one of the truly great Bluesmen.  Unfortunately we would loose him 4 years later.


Slim Harpo

1966 / Scratch my Back / Slim Harpo / #16 BB


The Markettes would record the theme from Batman and make it to #17.

1966/ Batman / The Markettes (studio group) / # 17


The Bar-Kays, the Stax records house band and Otis Redding’s back up group would have a hit this year with Soul Finger #17.  Unfortunately they would all perish later in the year with Otis Redding in a plane crash on final approach to Madison Wisconsin.  Only trumpeter “Ben Cauley would survive and Bassist James Alexander because there was not room for him on the plane.  Both Cauley and Alexander re-formed the group.



The Bar Kays

Live in 67 /


1967/ Soul Finger / The Bar Kays / #17 BB



There were a few songs in 68, not my favourites, but I must mention them, Classical Gas # 2, Grazing in the Grass # 1 and the Horse # 2, but all I remember was songs by Booker T & the MG’s.


Booker T & the MG’s

1970 / Live (my favourite) / Time is Tight /


1968/ 1969 / Time is Tight / Booker T & The M.G.’s / # 6 BB


I hope you have enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane regarding the lost instrumentals.  Always keep in mind I only used songs that “I” remember and enjoyed, there were a lot I did not even mention.




6 responses to “Instrumentals of the Sixties “The Lost Music” 1963 – 1969

  1. “Wild Weekend” by the Rockin’ Rebels (of Buffalo) became a big hit years after it was first released, by which time to group had broken up. So with no group at hand to record a follow-up, the label instead reached into its back-catalogue and repurposed an instrumental recorded (and released to some success by a group from Niagara Falls, Ontario, the Hot Toddys. That was “Rockin’ Crickets, which didn’t do nearly as well but did appear on the Rockin’ Rebels album. Coincidentally, I had a coffee yesterday with the leader of the Hot Toddys, Big John Little – who is still gigging and looks like a million bucks. Bill Munson

    Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2016 02:46:31 +0000 To:

  2. Watermelon Man?

    • Good suggestion, Terry. Mongo Santamaria took Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man to the top of the charts. I remember shaking Mongo’s hand one time at the Bermuda Onion where he was playing. It was like feeling the leather soul of a shoe. – Russ

  3. Leonard Stewart

    Long live instrumentals! Rap is crap!!!

    • (From Gary) Well Leonard, I agree, I loved instrumentals and I have never been able to understand or warm up to Rap, even with the help of my Grandchildren.

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