Boomers own Beach Music. Those of us who lived in Virginia or the Carolinas, or those Boomers who may have vacationed in those spots in the late 50’s, the 60’s, and a little into the 70’s, remember Beach Music. We remember beach clubs and dance halls along the oceanfront at places like Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach in SC, or in Atlantic Beach or Carolina Beach in North Carolina and, of course, along the boardwalk at Virginia Beach. It was a time of sunburned faces, sand in your Weejuns and 25 cent beer during Happy Hour. Boomers remember doing the shag, a soft jitterbug or some related version of swing dances to some of the great music of our time.
Many popular beach music songs weren’t really top ten hits. They were just songs that made for easy dancing to a steady and haunting six-count, eight-step pattern danced in a slot. Beach music was designed such that a guy might be able to hold a beer in right hand and his partner’s hand in the left, do a few steps and spins and not spill a drop.
It was also a way to celebrate being at the beach, and Boomers loved nothing better. A summer without at least one trip to the beach for a Boomer was like a night with no moon or stars.
This was an era when folks danced with whoever showed up. There was lots of switching with dancing partners, even among those with dates. Beach music made it easy to socialize, to meet those of the opposite sex and enjoy dancing together, not apart.
Beach music was rhythm and blues at its best.
Some of the top songs of that era were “Gimmee Little Sign” by Brenton Wood, “Give Me Just a Little More Time” by The Chairmen of the Board, “Sixty Minute Man” by the Dominoes, “I’ve Been Hurt” by Bill Deal and the Rhondels, “Stay” by Maurice Williams, “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters and, of course, “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” by The Tams.
Some of the songs, we didn’t know nor care their names, we just loved the beat and the feeling that you were young, at the beach, drinking a cold beer and having a great time.