One generation’s rebel anthem of degeneracy, shall be toddler fodder for their grandchildren. Surfin’ Bird by the Trashmen is no different. Known affectionately in my house as “Bird-Bird Song” it’s requested every time we listen to music on itunes. When my kids are cranky on long car rides, acapella renditions can last for the better part of an hour. If your kids don’t already know this song, what are you waiting for?
Kind: Awake Baby
Reasons you should add it to your kids playlist: Surfin’ Bird contains nonsense words and silly noises, very simple lyrics and melody. The main (only?) subject is bird, and most importantly it’s a GREAT song. This ditty earns a solid 5 of 7 on the Tot Rock Scale).
History: Not only is this song a favorite at our house, it holds some nostalgia for the
older more experienced generations of the family. My Dad likes to tell this story:
Beginning in 1963 and going until late 1965, there was a teen dance center called the Peppermint Club located in Chisago City, MN. I was a card carrying member # 443 – I still have the card. The Club would bring in hot bands from the Twin Cities and the place would be packed. In the early years I’d be leaning against the wall watching the other dancers (mostly girls) wishing I had the nerve and the moves to be out there dancing. Barney and Tiny would be leaning right next to me wishing the same thing. We even hid out in Chet and Vera’s basement and practiced with no witnesses trying to copy some of the moves we saw.
In 1963 The Trashmen came to play the Peppermint Club. They were loud and they were good. The place was packed and it got sweaty. They played their own songs like My Woodie, King of the Surf in addition to Surfin’ Bird, all those songs went on their Surfin’ Bird album. A short time later in ’63 Surfin’ Bird made the National Top 100 charts and The Trashmen were too popular for a return to the Peppermint Club.
Recent notoriety: The song has experienced a bit of a resurgence as a result of being featured in an episode of Family Guy. Sadly, many of today’s youth (and adults who should know better) only know the song from Peter Griffin’s obsession with the tune.
Stuff about The Trashmen: And you thought surf music only belonged in California. This gem of a surf rock band hails from Minnesota. While it’s rare, The Trashmen have performed a handful of times in the past few years. This mom had the privilege of seeing them in St. Paul at the Turf Club in 2008.
Other tot rockers by The Trashmen: Bird Dance Beat
Similar songs to consider: Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham & the Pharohs, Barbara Ann by The Beach Boys, Blue Moon by The Marcels
Take a Listen:
Go ahead, it’s catchy, it’s fun. I guarantee you can’t sing along without feeling a little more spunky.
Do it for the kids. Poppa ooma mow mow.