Wipe Out (instrumental)

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"Wipe Out"
Surfaris Wipeout single.jpg
Single by The Surfaris
from the album Play
A-side"Surfer Joe"
ReleasedJanuary 1963
StudioPal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, California
LabelDFS, Princess, Dot
Songwriter(s)Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, Ron Wilson
The Surfaris singles chronology
"Wipe Out"
"Point Panic"
Audio sample

"Wipe Out" is a surf rock instrumental composed by Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson. Composed in the form of twelve-bar blues,[1] the tune was first performed and recorded by the Surfaris, who became famous with the single in 1963.

The single was first issued on the independent labels DFS (#11/12) in January 1963 and Princess (#50) in February and finally picked up for national distribution on Dot as 45-16479 in April. Dot reissued the single in April 1965 as 45-144.

The song—both the Surfaris' version as well as cover versions—has been featured in over 20 films and television series since 1964, appearing at least once a decade.[2][better source needed]

The title of the song is a colloquial surfing term of Southern California. Specifically, a "wipe out" is a fall from a surfboard, especially one that looks painful.


Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson wrote "Wipe Out" almost on the spot while at Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, California, in late 1962, when they realized they needed a suitable B-side for the intended "Surfer Joe" single. One of the band members suggested introducing the song with a cracking sound, imitating a breaking surfboard, followed by a manic voice babbling, "ha ha ha ha ha, wipe out". The voice was that of the band's manager, Dale Smallin.

Single reception[edit]

"Wipe Out" spent four months on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1963, reaching number 2, behind Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips". Meanwhile, the original A-side "Surfer Joe", sung by Ron Wilson, only attracted airplay in the wake of "Wipe Out"'s success, peaking at number 62 during its six-week run. "Wipe Out" returned to the Hot 100 in 1966, reaching number 16 on the Hot 100 (and number 63 for the year), peaking at number 9 on the Cash Box chart, selling approximately 700,000 copies in the U.S. The single spent a grand total of 30 weeks on the Hot 100. Wilson's energetic drum solo for "Wipe Out" (a sped-up version of his Charter Oak High School marching band's drum cadence) helped the song become one of the best-remembered instrumental songs of the period. Drummer Sandy Nelson issued different versions on multiple LPs. In 1970, "Wipe Out" peaked at number 110 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.



Chart (1963/1966) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles[3] 5
German Singles Chart[4] 46
UK Singles Chart[5] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 2
US Cashbox Top 100[7] 5
US Hot R&B Singles[6] 10

In popular culture[edit]

Following the 2001 death of television personality Morton Downey Jr., news reports, obituaries and Downey's official website incorrectly credited him as the composer of "Wipe Out".[8][9][10]

The Fat Boys feat. The Beach Boys version[edit]

Single by The Fat Boys & the Beach Boys
from the album Crushin' and Still Cruisin'
B-sideFat Boys - "Crushin"
ReleasedJuly 10, 1987
Songwriter(s)Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller and Ron Wilson
Producer(s)Brian Wilson, Albert Cabrera, Tony Moran & The Beach Boys
The Fat Boys & the Beach Boys singles chronology
"Jail House Rap"
"The Twist (Yo, Twist)"

In the summer of 1987, the Fat Boys collaborated with the Beach Boys on a version of "Wipe Out" that made it to number 12 in the U.S. and number 2 in the UK.

Music video[edit]

The music video begins with an announcement of a boxing match with the Fat Boys and Beach Boys in attendance, but the match is interrupted by a fight. In the following scene, the Fat Boys load up a car with swimsuits and then drive off. The Beach Boys are driving a dune buggy through the city. Both bands go around the city in the direction of a beach, while they perform the song and draw the city inhabitants to the beach, where one of the Fat Boys tries to lift a heavy weight and is laughed at by some women. The Beach Boys play DJ in the street.[11]

Track listings[edit]

7" single

  1. "Wipeout!" - 3:50
  2. "Fat Boys - Crushin'" - 3:40

12" maxi

  1. "Wipeout! (Wave I)" - 6:05
  2. "Wipeout! (Wave II)" - 5:43
  3. "Fat Boys - Crushin'" (12") - 5:38


Chart (1987) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 17
Germany (Official German Charts)[13] 30
Ireland (IRMA)[14] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 13
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[16] 2
UK Singles (OCC)[17] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 12

Other cover versions[edit]

  • The Ventures covered "Wipe Out" on their albums Let's Go (1963) and The Ventures on Stage (1965).
  • The Residents recorded a cover of the song for the album The Third Reich 'n Roll as a part of "Swastikas on Parade".
  • In 1993, Animal from the Muppets covered the song for the album Muppet Beach Party. Released as a single in 1994, it reached number 38 on the UK Singles Chart.[19] A music video was created to promote the single and the album.
  • A version of the song claiming to be by The Beach Boys from the 1960s has been released on various early compilations, though whether it is them or not is disputed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wolf Marshall (2008). Stuff! Good Guitar Players Should Know: An A-Z Guide to Getting Better. p. 131. ISBN 9781423430087. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "The Surfaris". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  3. ^ "Wipe out in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Wipe out in German Chart". Media control. Retrieved 5 June 2013.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Surfaris". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  6. ^ a b "The Surfaris awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Cashbox Top 100: July 27, 1963". cashboxmagazine.com. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
  8. ^ "Wiping Out a Myth". Orange County Register. 2002. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
  9. ^ "Morton Downey Jr. Dies, Combative Talk Show Host Was An Icon Of The 1980s". CBS News. 2001-03-13.
  10. ^ "Morton Downey Jr.'s Home Page". mortondowneyjr.com. Archived from the original on 14 December 2001. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  11. ^ "The Fat Boys, feat. The Beach Boys - "Wipe Out" - ORIGINAL VIDEO - stereo HQ". YouTube. 2010-03-09. Archived from the original on 2011-12-29. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  12. ^ "Fat Boys & The Beach Boys – Wipeout!" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  13. ^ "Fat Boys & The Beach Boys – Wipeout!" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Wipeout". Irish Singles Chart.
  15. ^ "Fat Boys & The Beach Boys – Wipeout!" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ "Fat Boys & The Beach Boys – Wipeout!". Top 40 Singles.
  17. ^ "Fat Boys & The Beach Boys: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "The Beach Boys Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "ANIMAL | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2016-09-27.